Last week on NBC’s Today Show Michelle Obama declared that not only were her two daughters (9 and 12) not on Facebook, but even if they weren’t living in the White House she probably wouldn’t want them in “the transparent greenhouse that is Facebook.”
Now, personally, my own daughters, aged 5 and 3, are never online at all, so I feel quite distanced from the conversation about children in social media, but we put the question to our Facebook fans.
How old is old enough for Facebook?
As it turns out, Facebook has a policy that members need to be 13-years-old so the question is mostly moot, but most of our fans agreed, their children won’t be on Facebook until they are teens and even then, they will be highly monitored!
One topic sparked by the question was why children would even need Facebook other than to keep in touch with distant family members. The general consensus seems to be that before High School kids should be socializing on the playground or having in person play-dates.
Instead of texting and Facebook messaging, my girls draw pictures for their friends and family. They hand write Thank You notes and they sign notecards with thumbprints. My own love for receiving real letters in the mail feeds my bias, but I’m hoping they’ll understand that there’s a time and place for each sort of communication long before they join the online world.
Have you found a way to help your children learn to socialize off-line?