So your 10 year old is driving you crazy constantly asking for a Facebook account. Arguments like …
But Jimmy next door has it and he’s only 9!
Donna’s Mum said it was perfectly safe for kids our age
I’ll be really careful with it, honest!
are being fired at you all day, every day and you’re on the verge of saying yes – just to keep the peace. But here’s the thing; Donna’s Mum won’t have to deal with any of your kid’s Facebook fallout. And neither will Jimmy’s Dad. So how do you stand your ground when it comes to Facebook access and why would you anyway?
The Legal Reason
The first reason is a simple one. Facebook has a legal lower age limit of 13, not because 13 is the ideal age to begin interacting through Facebook, but because Child Data Protection laws forbid the collection of personal information from children under the age of 13 without parental consent. Facebook doesn’t have a facility for collecting parental consent so allowing any child under 13 to join their network is illegal.
The Stranger Danger Reason
I don’t like this reason but it’s a real one. Facebook allows any user to share posts, images, videos and now live footage but also provides security options to minimise who can see your content. The security options go a long way towards keeping strangers from your child but it’s not a one-click set-up. There are several categories that need to be changed including who your child shares their content with, who can contact them, and Tag settings among others. If you don’t know every setting in every category, your child may be left open to potential contact from an undesirable adult posing as a child. If you decide to allow your 10 year old (or younger) onto Facebook, make sure you know exactly how to set their security levels to keep them as safe as possible.
The Emotional Reason
But even with their security completely locked down, the most important factor is your child’s emotional maturity. Bullying happens on Facebook and it happens often. And it doesn’t have to be big and obvious bullying. A short, unkind comment from another child about something as seemingly small as your child’s outfit can be devastating. If you feel that your child would struggle with negative, hurtful comments from their peers, they’re not ready for Facebook.
Ultimately the decision rests with you but Facebook isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Someday your kids will be old enough both age wise and emotionally to have their own account. Until then, you have the right to protect them in any way you choose no matter what Jimmy next door is doing!
KidsSafetyNet gives you the option to block or unblock all social media sites so it’s up to you as the child’s parent. KidsSafetyNet is here to help, not to dictate how you should do your job.