As an Adult, I love Facebook for keeping in touch with my friends and family and for business purposes, but when it comes to young children using social networking, it is a totally different issue. Facebook is NOT for children!
I recently had my 11 year old niece’s friend add me as a friend on facebook, using an assumed name!! I had only met this young girl once at a school event, she didn’t know me at all, besides the fact that I was her friend’s aunt! It has prompted me to write a series of articles on child safety with social networking. I have been taking
many notes regarding Children using Facebook and this will be the first instalment in the series of articles to help educate parents who are unsure how to protect their child online and are sometimes oblivious to the fact that their
child is even using the internet.
Parents need to be accountable for what is happening in their own homes. I was shocked to hear recently from a Mum of a primary school aged child, that she had no idea how her child was using the internet on her iPod and wondered why her child’s friends loved coming to their home with their gadgets?? Clearly this home had a wireless internet connection that didn’t have a password and was left turned on at all times. As a parent we need to be aware that children can access and use the internet for free in many places, including McDonalds and other cafes and businesses who supply free Wi-Fi for their customers. A computer is no longer needed for a child to access the internet. Hand-held games offer internet access as well as iPods and phones. Many mobile phones come with free social networking for users; therefore no credit is required to access the internet through their phone.
- If your child is under 13 and is using Facebook, they have lied to gain the account.
- Page security for Facebook can be rather complicated and teens may believe their page is private, when
really it is not. (More on this in future articles)
- Your teen needs to be aware that most schools are now monitoring social networking sites and checking on
students with open pages after many complaints from parents regarding online bullying and harassment.
Schools have had to take a stand against this behaviour and Children can be reprimanded at school for
inappropriate behaviour online and made accountable for their actions.
- Many young students (under 13) are using assumed names for their Facebook accounts, making it difficult for
parents to search Facebook for their child. (Searching using their email address or mobile number is an option
to find their account though).
- If your teen is on Facebook, they shouldn’t have a problem with their parent or guardian being “on their friends
list” if they have nothing to hide.
- Teens using Facebook or Twitter should only be friends with people they actually know and are friends with in
person, not people they know of, friends of friends or complete strangers – no matter how cute their profile
picture may be!!
Children using Facebook Under the age of 13 is against Facebook Regulations. However children lying to gain accounts cannot be monitored, this is up to the parents or the guardians of the child.
Facebook was not created with children in mind. It is meant for adults and late-teens, not young children who are naive to the extreme dangers that sharing their personal life online can lead to, let alone the complex problems of on-line bullying.
Encourage your child to wait until they are 13 to have a Facebook Account. If you are one of the parents who keeps hearing “but Sarah’s Mum lets her have an account, why can’t I?”, be confident in your response, that you care about your child’s security and wellbeing, while clearly some parents are oblivious to the dangers of young children using social networking.
This is the first instalment in my series of articles to inform and educate Parents of the dangers of social networking for children.
If you have any queries or questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Blue Bird Internet Marketing & Social Media
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Judi Gray is the Owner Operator of Blue Bird Internet Marketing and has been assisting small Businesses with their online profiles since 2011.