Children and Facebook?

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?

Birthday Safari Notecards by Tiny Prints

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3 Responses

  1. ANGELA D says:

    my 15 yr old is begging for one and I said NO she plays games on mine that is enough

  2. Sandi Maki says:

    This is an interesting question posed about children and Facebook. My opinion is that children can and should be encouraged to use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends, and their family and friends should keep up with, monitor, educate, and communicate about what is right to be doing, and what to avoid. Used properly it can be very beneficial. I do believe we’ll see upcoming generations leverage it to a degree that we can’t currently imagine, and we are just looking at the beginning of the potential of social media.

  3. Cheryl Thomas says:

    Perhaps the concern comes from the inability to control what other people post, and the exposure to material you don’t want your children to see. Recently, a very special 20 something I know loaned her computer to a “friend” for a few moments. Already logged into Facebook, the “friend” posted a terribly derogatory remark using her ID. Since potential employers are looking at social networking sites, the comment could have consequences. My point is, no matter how careful you are with your children’s use of Facebook, the reality is you can’t control others, including your own family. Kudos to Jessica for having her children use personal communication.

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