What you are about to read is my own personal opinion on this recent topic in the news:
Lately there has been a lot of talk about allowing children 12 and younger to have Facebook access with parental controls. I understand the need to stay on top of technology at a young age but when parents let their kids say that they are 21 when they are 9 to get a Facebook account is too much. Our society must put too much emphasis on social media or talking about social media because now children want to join.
First of all, what business do children need on social media? Shouldn’t they be learning to first socialize in school and during play dates? Kids see their parents or their family so much on Facebook or talking about Facebook that they want to be a part of it as well. It makes no sense at how much kids want to spend their time online or playing video games. No wonder obesity rate is sky-rocketing!
Second, Facebook was originally meant for college-students (A.K.A ADULTS) to reach out to old friends and to stay connected with new people they meet as they grow and prosper as a professional. Young children still are making friends and still learning social skills so an online social presence shouldn’t be in this equation during their early stages. Why would you want your child connecting with a bunch of adult strangers?
Third, children will be children. A lot of my friends and colleagues on social media use it to spread information about an industry, product, what’s in the news, and start conversations about those topics. They will also use it to share personal photos that they deem are appropriate for online viewing. A lot of kids on social media sites are more interested in sharing pictures from their cell phones of them in the bathroom (mirror shots I call it). I’ve witness 100’s of mirror shots from just one child! It starts to make them look conceited. I’ve also witnessed so much inappropriate pictures that I do not want to go into detail. Let’s just say an employer will not hire those kids that eventually grow up and start applying to college or jobs. Once something is online, it’s up there forever. The Library of Congress keeps record of everything you post online FYI.
I will share my last point with you in a short story. One of my little sisters almost had a bad experience with Facebook. Apparently she doesn’t logs out her account sometimes so my mother would go snooping through her friends list. Not sure why but my mom also did a search of sex offenders in our area just out of curiosity. When I tell you when she clicked on a random name and yelled for my sister to come look, I was thinking to myself “what in the world is she going to ask her about?” My mother has a good memory because she recognized one of the registered sex offenders as someone she saw on my sister’s friend list! My mother made her delete that friend so quickly and my sister just shrugged it off like it she didn’t care, it’s nothing.
This is a huge problem for me! If I was my mother, I would have made her delete her Facebook and she would have to start her friends list all over again, if I allowed her back up there. Children will befriend anyone on Facebook just to have friends/followers. They don’t know who it is or what they do or what they have done in the past but they will befriend someone. These monsters aren’t stupid and there are so many bad news stories about people hurting people lately, especially kids. These people could be luring your children into private chats trying to meet up with them. And guess what, your children don’t care because they are totally strangers who happen to be nice to them. They actually think it’s cool to be talking to an adult who thinks you are 18 when you are 11. If you child actually reveal their real age then those monsters could promise kids shoes, candy, clothes, money, anything to make your child meet up with them, and possibly never seeing their parents again.
I personally think social media shouldn’t be an option until the teenage years but hey, I don’t make the rules. If you know your young child is participating on social media sites, check out this Washington Post article by Janice D’Arcy on How to Protect your kids on Facebook. I also did a basic Google search for “social media sites for kids” and found a great website talking about different options for kid-friendly social networks. I really would like to hear your own comments/opinions about children and social media. What are your views?