Parenting

When is a Child old enough to join Facebook?

Neetu Ralhan
11 to 16 years

Created by Neetu Ralhan
Updated on Nov 14, 2012

When is a Child old enough to join Facebook

Child: Mum, I want to join facebook. 

Mum: Why?
Child: Because all my friends are there!

This was the first time Facebook invaded my otherwise ‘peaceful’ relationship with my 11 year old. What followed was a volley of arguments and cross arguments about the virtues and vices of children spending time on social networking sites.

Was raising a pre-teen ever this interesting? Well, for fellow parents who are faced with the ‘Facebook Dilemma’, here’s some information that might help you tread through this important decision.

What Parents Say: The Case For Facebook

Most of us see children from family and friends on Facebook – our own kids, nephews, nieces or friends’ children posting cute little details of their life - where they went on a weekend or a picture of their pet licking them all over. Also, their academic and extracurricular achievements now get to be appreciated on an all new platform. A big boost to the child’s self-confidence, or is it?

Here are some statements from parents, which reflect why some parents believe having their child on Facebook is no big deal.

  1. Most children have access to the internet today and I would rather have my tween spend time on Facebook than scouting the internet and being exposed to unsolicited information.
  2. Teens use Facebook to connect and share with friends, to announce achievements, wish each other on birthdays and plan social and school events. It’s simply a new means to connect.
  3. My child gets to connect with grandparents, relatives, cousins and friends they don’t get to see often.
  4. I am a proactive parent and I am aware of my child’s activities and connections on Facebook. I make it a point to closely monitor his Facebook time.
  5. It’s about trust and the child’s need for independence. Also, my child knows that I am concerned about his safety and he can reach out to me if he faces any harassment online.
  6. Facebook Help Center offers information to help parents deal with common issues. So, all’s good!

 

What you may want to consider while taking a decision

  1. The minimum age to join Facebook is 13. However, a 2011 Consumer survey revealed that 7.5 million facebook users are younger than 13. Shockingly, the survey also found that, more than 5 million users were 10 and younger.
  2. At the time of signing up, many parents lie about the child’s age, setting an example in a way, though they may not want the child to follow that in similar situations.
  3. Cyber bullying - the use of technology to harass, threaten or embarrass another person. The Global Youth Online Behavior Survey by Microsoft found that over 5 in every 10 Indian children (aged 8-17) said that they had been bullied online.
  4. Children may be exposed to commercial posts, advertisements and content not suitable for them
  5. There have been several clinical studies linking internet overuse to feelings of isolation and sadness in teens and adults alike. A 2011 publication by the American Academy Of Pediatrics coined a term called ‘Facebook Depression’, claiming that excessive use of social media and the internet may trigger low self- esteem and depression in preteens and teens. The study was met with criticism, and many experts chose not to agree.
  6. Indeed, the term Social approval has taken a new avatar. We all know that Facebook has and does become an addiction for many. Checking how many ‘likes’ your status update received or how many people commented on your new vacation pictures is an obsession many adults find hard to resist. And while as adults, we may learn to restrain our self, but a child may find it difficult to deal with this need for constant social approval and appreciation.
  7. There is no proof that spending time on Facebook adds any social or educational value for the child.

To sum up, every parent knows what’s best for their child. What’s important is to not to let your decision be driven by pressure or haplessness. Having an honest, logical conversation with the child is what works in most cases.


So, is my child on facebook?
Well, not yet. The issue did last a couple of months. And while I was explaining to him the difference between Democracy and Monarchy for a school assignment, I was quickly labeled a Monarch. But the tirade ended peacefully and the two thoughts that appealed to my child were,
One, I would not want to lie about his age. Two, I would rather have him spending time reading a book, enjoying a sport or simply calling the people he wants to connect with. Plus, if he is really curious about what goes on up there, he can access through my account once in a while.

So, for now, there’s peace :-)


Do share your thoughts in comments to help us and fellow parents on parentune to find more ways to deal with this issue.

 

Parentune.com: Also Read http://parentune.com/http://www.parentune.com/parent-blog/children-and-internet/175

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| Apr 21, 2017

nice blog which has given satisfactory answer to my questions

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| Jun 23, 2015

There are so many pedeophiles everywhere. I really feel skeptical of the fact that kids should go onto facebook before the legal age. Somehow I am able to convince my 12 year old but it requires lot of perseverance to explain them with right reasoning. Well, sometimes it does work.

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| Jun 23, 2015

There are so many pedeophiles everywhere. I really feel skeptical of the fact that kids should go onto facebook before the legal age. Somehow I am able to convince my 12 year old but it requires lot of perseverance to explain them with right reasoning. Well, sometimes it does work.

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| Jun 19, 2015

Nice article... when my younger daughter joined Facebook she was eleven and the same reason was to me for joining fb was the same that all her friends are there. I allowed her to join rather I was with her when she made d account. I explained her the pros and cons of facebooking. I still do. And most importantly I have told her not to hide any negative thing from me which is stressing her on Facebook.

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| Jun 12, 2015

Great blog. Well written, answered many of my questions.

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| Aug 13, 2013

Nice blog Neetu. This is one problem we all are racing today. You have suggested very reasonable and practical solutions.

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| Apr 29, 2013

thank you Vikram and Vidisha

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| Apr 29, 2013

Liked it very much... its difficult to keep them away till they reach 13 but your solution sounds perfect... to let them access through our account... Thanks.

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| Feb 09, 2013

Really liked the tone of the article! Analysis and break-down of the problem is so professional! Great one.

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| Jan 29, 2013

Many of my daughter's friend were on Facebook even though they are much younger than 13. As given in this article, I had told that I don't want my child to be a lie about the age. Though the lie may be innocuous, it is just a start of the series of lies that we "teach" our children. It is almost telling them that lying is ok if you are not getting caught.

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| Nov 20, 2012

nice article neetu my views are same like urs.

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| Nov 16, 2012

yes Anurima... for me this one is like a sleeping giant that wakes up once in a while and so far, goes back to sleep. the best part was when I said to him that I feel he only wants me to say yes just because he wants to hear a yes to this, else he is not really interested in facebook. and he agreed!!! Let's see how long this lasts :) Thanks Bhavna, glad that you liked it :)

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| Nov 15, 2012

great article ... and a great outcome i must say ...thanks for sharing

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| Nov 14, 2012

Nice blog Neetu. I would like to believe that I am far from reaching the crossroads between Facebook and my children; but who knows how soon will they want to have a Facebook account, considering the speed at which the social network & technology are spreading today. But, I think you handled your situation pretty well here :)

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