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Old 02.05.2011, 17:02
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Kids -To facebook or not to facebook?

Hi All,

Just wondering what others think about kids being on facebook. I'm personally not on facebook and wish to remain so for as long as possible but my 11 year old has been nagging me to allow him to get on facebook. My initial reaction was 'no way'! Even after he told me all his class is on facebook and it's the way they all talk to each other nowadays. He says no-one sends texts anymore as they're too busy chatting on facebook. He's basically feeling left out and not enjoying the daily pressure from his friends to sign up. I'm leaning towards letting him have an account with the most stringent rules applied after a colleague of mine basically said this is what young people today are growing up with. Even e-mail is almost archaic as far as they are concerned. I'm also sensitive to the fact that he has asked rather than just trying to set it up himself. Really would like to know what others (even if you are not a parent) think. Is it reasonable for an 11 year old to have a facebook account? We (ie. the family) don't need it to keep in touch with relatives. It's purely for socialising with his school friends who he more or less sees every school day. Constructive feedback and opinions are appreciated.
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Old 02.05.2011, 17:05
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Re: Kids -To facebook or not to facebook?

Interesting, we're having exactly the same issue with our 11-year old daughter. Both me and my wife have FB accounts, but I'm a little reticent to allow my daughter one. If we did, it would be, as you said, with the most stringent of controls.
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Old 02.05.2011, 17:10
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Re: Kids -To facebook or not to facebook?

I am not sure how constructive this will be, but if he asked himself, just see it as his wish, like for a bike to ride with others on...He may ride into areas you won't like and meet people you disagree with, but if you raised him well, then don't worry.

I am not on FB and consider it lame, actually, but kids do grow up in a different world now. If it is a way to communicate, then allow him. I would also demand his password, with saying, you won't ever use it, just in case something happened with him. I would sit him next to you and explain, to minute details, what can happen online (dangers, stalking, bullying, losing ID, bank details, other secrets, protection, etc.). 11yr old kids are smart, and way smarted with technology than we ever will be. So, I would spill it all to him to make him cautious. I would also get into endocrinology and tell him what happens to body of a teen if he spends too much time sitting on his butt and staring into a pc screen (or tv, for that matter).

I think I would control the time spent in front of TV/PC.
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Last edited by MusicChick; 02.05.2011 at 22:35.
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Old 02.05.2011, 17:10
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Re: Kids -To facebook or not to facebook?

Age to have a facebook account is 13.

so, not for your kids now....


and I find it's a great way to communicate with friends not in your town / country
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Old 02.05.2011, 17:17
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Re: Kids -To facebook or not to facebook?

Good to see I'm not the only one facing this issue. Thanks all for your feedback. Certainly gives me food for thought. I did have a read about setting up an account and also noticed they referenced teens i.e. starting from age 13. So not exactly sure how his classmates are on there unless they've all lied about their ages????
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Old 02.05.2011, 17:19
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Re: Kids -To facebook or not to facebook?

Interesting modern parenting dilemma. My parents were very strick about friends, peer pressure and fitting in and the rest. Their stance was: you just a kid, and everyone else are just kids, they're not real friends, you won't ever remember them in 10 years, so instead of playing with them, or going to the park or going to the movies, how about you stay in with your parents and practice your arithmetic-that will stay with you forever.

They were right about that, but it didn't make being a kid any easier. The odd time I did sneak in a PG movie or something, it didn't ruin me as the rule makers warned.
But the internet can be a dangerous place. Personally I think that it is something with 11 that is ok, to better connect with your social society, that being said, as a parent, you should have full control and access/monitoring of everything that is being done online. Can never be too safe.
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Old 02.05.2011, 17:20
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Re: Kids -To facebook or not to facebook?

Dont judge me but my 6 year old has a facebook account mostly for games. We went through our farmville phase together. I didnt have a life, she had preschool and piano lessons. But i was in a long distance relationship for years until we arrived here in swiss, i cant help but catch her curiosity about these things. And she can already read and spell so i let her do it alongside me. In the Philippines its quite common as we are (or were) considered "texting capital" in the world. Communication is everything. Being in school also they are pressured into facebooking. Though in her kindergarten here, its very unlikely.

Id just like to add that it took me more or less one year to process my papers and my daughter´s to get here, and some months intensive german language course to be prepared.
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Old 02.05.2011, 17:20
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Re: Kids -To facebook or not to facebook?

Must be the buzz in many homes I've stuck with the "no stinking way" mantra so far, but feel ready to cave in.

There are all kinds of inappropriate spam coming to her email account I have to delete before she reads it.

I'm not sure most 11 year olds have good enough judgement. I'm not as concerned with what my child posts as what her friends do.
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Old 02.05.2011, 17:21
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Re: Kids -To facebook or not to facebook?

..and, interestingly, our 13 -year old has no inclination whatsoever to get on FB, despite my wife's suggestion she do so.
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Old 02.05.2011, 17:27
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Re: Kids -To facebook or not to facebook?

I, like the OP, am not, nor will be on FB - I personally don't have the need or desire (at present). I also have an 11 yr old (daughter), who till now has never mentioned this relating to her or any one she knows (to me, anyway). So not an issue here at the moment, but I wouldn't encourage it if it came up, for at least a year or so - I genuinely don't see the need - face to face contact with people she knows is better - and hopefully safer - imo.

In my time, there was good old bullying (mobbing) in the playground - you knew where you were and who you were up against; then came text/SMS attacks, which can be really spiteful and damaging; and now cyber attacks and bullying.

There was a case recently (sorry vague on details and recollection), where a head teacher (in UK) who had cause to exclude a pupil, and during the Easter holidays, a really nasty smear campaign was mounted on FB against him and some of the staff. Eventually FB had to shut it down ... eventually.

Maybe not an eggs-with-eggs comparison, relevant to this discussion, but worth noting - and probably one of many similar instances.

[notwithstanding the many users who quietly benefit from FB on a daily basis]
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Old 02.05.2011, 18:21
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Re: Kids -To facebook or not to facebook?

Two of my children have Facebook pages. They were allowed to open them around age 13 only with the understanding that having the account is a privilege, not a right, and I have the option of deactivating the account for any reason (e.g. things like grades and behavior; not just what might be taking place on the FB page). I helped them with the setup of the account, thus I knew their passwords. Both kids are also my FB friends, which allows me to look at their page and photos (I do actually know of some kids of 13 or 14 who have a page and are not friends with their own parents). Overall, it has been a positive for my kids.

Perhaps you could instigate a "trial period" during which you set up his account together then you can monitor what is going on so you can decide whether having the account is a good thing for him?

I would add that it is critical for you to be in charge of understanding and managing the privacy controls related to the account. That element is sometimes confusing even to adults (much less adolescents), and Facebook seems to be in the habit of changing what is going on with their privacy controls quite often.
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Old 02.05.2011, 18:55
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Re: Kids -To facebook or not to facebook?

FB is out the question in my books until the teenager (won't even consider a kid) can handle it.
I'm very old fashioned and a mother hen in this regards.
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Old 02.05.2011, 18:58
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Re: Kids -To facebook or not to facebook?

Our kids do have a Facebook account. They are 11 and 12 but we have the passwords and full access to everything they are doing. I regularly go on and check what is going on. It is more of a communication tool for them, enabling them to stay in contact with old school friends and see what is going on with their friends. They can also post photographs that other family members can see. Their accounts are locked down tight and they also always check before accepting a friends request. So really what I am saying is that with parental control there is no problem. Like as has already been said, its a privilege and can be taken away if abused or if their behavior is not as we expect.
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Old 02.05.2011, 19:02
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Re: Kids -To facebook or not to facebook?

I like the idea of setting up his account with him and having a trial period as I am also worried about other aspects of his life suffering (apart from the hassle of having to 'police' his use). I do agree though being aware of how is using it and having proper supervision is part and parcel of it.
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Old 02.05.2011, 19:11
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Re: Kids -To facebook or not to facebook?

Must admit though I could do with not having this conversation for a few years...ah well.
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Old 02.05.2011, 19:16
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Re: Kids -To facebook or not to facebook?

I caved in recently and now my (soon to be) twelve year old has a FB account. One of the conditions is that he must personally know each and every one of his friends on there. I'm also his friend so can see everything that he gets up to.

Like somebody else said, I trust him but it's his friends and others that I worry about.
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Old 02.05.2011, 19:21
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Re: Kids -To facebook or not to facebook?

If you know his friends and trust them (and him). If you have time to check on it every now and then and can educate him well enough of the dangers, agree on rules, then why not? It should not be a big deal but if it results to him getting teased or stressed(left) out on a daily basis in school, is it worth it that your son might possibly hate you over it?
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Old 02.05.2011, 19:47
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Re: Kids -To facebook or not to facebook?

We went through this same issue a year ago.

I've been to a couple of lectures regarding children and use of internet, chat rooms, facebook, etc.

Basically, forbidding facebook won't get you anywhere. The real danger will come, when your child then opens an account at someone else's home (or ipod touch) - and, believe me, they will. The worse thing that can then happen, if the account is taken over, when there is an argument of sorts.

The advice I took from the lectures was to go onto facebook myself and see what it's like. Set up the strictest privacy options. Talk to your children about privacy, mobbing, what to post and what not to post, etc. Set up limits, sure, but keep open.

A year on, facebook is now only being used by our son for the occasional chat and games. It's lost a lot of the novelty that it had to start with and I don't regret allowing it in the end. We've had lots of interesting conversations.

The advantage of guiding your 11 year old through this, is that this is an age where they still listen to you. A couple of years on, when they're 13? Probably no chance!

Facebook says from 13 years - yes. All of my son's friends are between 14 and 24 (from the same school year, mind - also a lot of them have pseudonyms and even change them regularly. Facebook does not care.

If you can speak or understand German, then this is a good site: www.zischtig.ch
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Old 02.05.2011, 19:48
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Re: Kids -To facebook or not to facebook?

I believe a parent is the best judge of what is appropriate or not for his/her kid or teen.

My creature started asking around 12 yrs old. I came to allow her with the following rules:
  • that she would friend mom and dad immediately, without playing games
  • that her name and picture would be totally obscure (fantasy name and pic of a favorite character)
  • that mom has her password, and it doesn't get changed
She accepted those rules, and learnt in the process to keep her account safe. Of course, I was moderating in a discreet way; I always explained her why I would delete or modify something, and she has never complained.

She is 15 now, has an amazing control on the security features, I still control and supervise for safety...

I don't think we have to demonize a tool. My biggest worry was that she would bypass my opinion and create her account unsupervised - and how would I know that? nor secure it? and while she is not malicious and would not normally do such a thing, some school mates are not as controlled.
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Old 02.05.2011, 20:26
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Re: Kids -To facebook or not to facebook?

Yup to all of the above messages.
I'm not saying I'm right to be so old-fashioned, I'm just a worry-wart.
But as Claire-Jane says and Lilith says with the proper parental control and a level-headed kid (mine is level-headed too) it should be ok.

I wouldn't worry though if you don't feel you're ready to give him/her FB Demi, kids may be a bit frustrated if they have to wait a year or two, but if it's for their own good, safety and parental decision, do over-rule.
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