From a recent article on Dawn.com
“WASHINGTON: Some 7.5 million of the 20 million minors who used Facebook in the past year were younger than 13, and a million of them were bullied, harassed or threatened on the site, says a study released Tuesday.
Even more troubling, more than five million Facebook users were 10 years old or younger, and they were allowed to use Facebook largely without parental supervision leaving them vulnerable to threats ranging from malware to sexual predators, the State of the Net survey by Consumer Reports found.”
Read the rest here.
Facebook’s privacy settings are extensive and complex, most adults don’t understand all of them and it is also unlikely that the average teen or pre-teen would have the ability or patience to go through the maze of settings to be able to make their facebook account private.
When you first create an account in Facebook you have to put your date of birth. If you are under 13 years of age, and your freinds have Facebook accounts they tell you in order to sign up you have to lie about your age. From my personal experience it’s common knowledge amongst tweens. But what are they getting themselves into? If facebook find out through reporting that a Facebook account is being used by an under 13yr old they will remove it. But clearly according to the above figures, an enormous amount of these accounts are going unreported. And facebook are clearly not bothered so much about young kids being on Facebook, as its so easy to get around the 13 yrs and older sign up.
What concerns me, and many other parents who know, are the risks both small or large to young under 13year old kids. Everything from stranger danger risks to smallish ones. If your child makes some embarrasing or stupid posts on Facebook and doesn’t have privacy settings up, the data can be copied recorded and posted else where, and everyone connected in some way to their account will see it. Even an innocent post can end up with mean comments on it (you can’t turn comment off) and then go viral.
Parents have a responsiblity to make sure they know what their kids are doing on the internet. What games they are playing, what videos they are watching…yep just like the ole days, when I wasn’t allowed to watch “Laugh-In” untill I was old enough..The TV was in the lounge room, easy for parents to monitor, and thats where computers should be also. If not the Lounge room, a room that is a high traffic area. And yes we did learn how to switch channels when we were kids…but honestly, its not that hard to supervise, unless you have a discipline issue and thats a whole other story.
If you know your child wants to be on facebook and they are under 13 ask yourself seriously if you have the ability to supervise it, do you know how to tick off all the privacy settings, do you want to keep up to date on all the changes, are you prepared to have a facebook account yourself and “freind” your own child? Do you understand how to avert bullying online, and how best to respond.
If not, then do not risk it! because it is a big responsibility, and not everyone has the time to put into monitoring it, and if you don’t monitor, you will be very sorry. Very sorry. For older teens, the same as above needs to apply, but teaching them will be an easier job…If you can’t teach them find someone who will.
What is your experience? do you have kids under 13 on Facebook? how do you manage it?
Update: Facebook Pages Now used for bullying sigh….This one is very hard to prevent, but reporting it is the first step. Anyone creating a Facebook Page to bully minors should be punishable by full extent of the Law! Read Todays Story below!
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