Increasingly, more parents are allowing their children to have a Facebook page even though they do not meet the minimum age requirements. Is giving a child a Facebook account exposing them to a world that should only be seen by those that are of age? Most of the time, it probably does no harm, but there are elements of Facebook that concern me as a parent and I am looking for an answer as to why some parents don’t see it as a problem at all.
It all starts out with a little white lie. If your child isn’t old enough to start their own Facebook account, then in order to open then account, the birth year must be altered to manipulate the system into allowing the account to process and open. So for example, my oldest daughter was born in 1997, but to meet the Facebook age requirements, I would have to list her birth year as 1992. Just a simple stroke of the keyboard and she is off and running with her own Facebook account. This matter can be compounded in families that are divorced where one parent allows the account and the other parent disagrees. This can be a huge battle and more often than not, the child only adds to the fire because they would like the freedom that comes with having a Facebook account.
My first concern is that my daughter has no idea of what information should and what shouldn’t be divulged online. Facebook allows them to put out their interests, phone numbers, address, e-mail address, and school along with lots more information. Even the best parent with the purest of intentions can’t protect a child from a predator with this amount of information. Now I know that there are ways to limit access to the account and the information people see, but sometimes it is not just internet predators, but the people that they would accept as friends that would abuse that information. Especially with all the drama involved in a teenage girls life, a determined teenage nemesis could be just as dangerous as any adult internet predator. For example, even other parents have abused information and accounts on Facebook and sites like Myspace which have resulted in humiliation of children and even leading to suicide like the recent Myspace suicide case. buy facebook account
I have seen Facebook bullying first hand against one of my friend’s daughters. She is a senior in high school and recently got into an argument at school with another girl over a certain boy that they both liked. My friend’s daughter started to receive written abasement including insults and other things she did not deserve. She was subjected to this not only at school but from several different people on her Facebook account. To a child’s mind, it cannot differentiate between something that should be taken seriously and something that should be overlooked as childish. Everything is taken seriously, and I know that if my daughter, at 13 years old, was subjected to that kind of abuse, it would devastate her. Her grades would drop in school, along with her self-esteem, and she should not have to feel that way just because of some online bullying.
These types of accounts are easily identifiable and could be eliminated by Facebook if they had the desire to crack down on parents setting up these accounts for their kids. I would recommend sitting down with your child prior to starting one of these accounts to go over the responsibilities and what to expect. Also to let them know what is not appropriate, and things they should tell you about immediately. If at any time, it becomes apparent that having a Facebook account is harmful or hurting your child, the immediate remedy would be to find the cancel account button.