22 Comments

  • I’m with you. There’s a long list of reasons – even more than you touched on – that kids shouldn’t be on Facebook.

    My number one reason? There’s something creepy about middle-aged men that you don’t know in real life friending your 10-year-old daughter. There’s no reason for it. And as a guy of that age myself… I won’t friend children.

  • As someone who uses FB mostly for business, I agree that I don’t want to friend children. And anyway, I think kids learn and explore and grow better when they are playing outside and not in front of the computer and TV for many hours a day.
    I do have friends for whom FB is primarily a way to keep up with their kids and grandkids – and if they want to have pint-sized friends, I understand it and don’t judge it. But for me, it’s not the purpose or interest.

  • Brook says:

    As a parent of a 10yo with a FaceBook, I disagree in some points. Do I want creepy 40yo I don’t know friending her…of course not. But I do want her to learn how to safe online and protect herself in a virtual space, while she’s still young enough to listen to me.

  • Cindy says:

    I agree 100% – Especially with points 3 & 6. I love kids as well, but there are some things I post that I really don’t want an 8 year old, or even a 15 year old to read. There are limits, as there should be. I would not take my friend’s 8… year old child out to dinner for a “girls night” and talk to her about certain events of my day. Why would I do that on the internet? I hope parents of these kids understand. It’s nothing against the children OR the parents. It’s just part of following the rules and protecting the children from who knows what. Also, I was pondering about a status update this morning that involved my children and Santa….which would probably not be a very good thing for an 8 year old who still believes to read. Very good blog!

  • Bob says:

    I agree with your points entirely. The first point, the fact that Facebook requires users to be 13 years old prompts children to lie about their age in order to register, which doesn’t strike me as the best way to start social media, or anything else in life for that matter. Of course, as the Psychology Today article you linked to points out, most kids are asking their parents for early access.

    • maryellen says:

      Yes they indeed are but something about the age of eight that just seems rather tender to me. What’s wrong with letting kids be innocent for just a few more years? They will grow up fast enough. And even if parents *think* they are supervising an 8 year old at the computer on a social network…are they really? Thanks for writing Bob.

  • Man am I glad I’m the father of an adult. Of course she didn’t start that way, but she is not an 8 year old in this world.

    And … what you talk about Mel is not just a problem with FB or limted to 8 year olds. I’ve got several requests pending on LinkedIn right now. I can’t figure out who the hell these people are and why they think they should be “linked” to me. So, of course I will blow the request away.

    Of course, an 8 year old cannot properly make that call for themselves. It makes me wonder if 13 years is too low a threshhold. Regardless, thanks for your post.

    • maryellen says:

      Jeff, I am talking about just the kind of cognitive thinking that you mentioned. Decision making and thought about whether someone is a good fit or not to be your “friend” or LI connection. You and I can make those decisions based on years of people reading.

  • Jessica Trivette says:

    I am so glad you wrote this post. I agree with every point you have made and have several more that I could add on. The internet is a much more scary place than people realize. I even feel that the age limit should be older than 13 after seeing what certain teenagers post on there. Great post Mary Ellen!

  • Thank you for having the courage to write this post. Honestly, it never even occured to me that some parents let small children have Facebook accounts. I agree with everything you said. My 6 year old is a very tech savvy little girl but I wouldn’t trust her with her own Facebook account. It’s hard enough educating teens on this stuff; elementary school kids just need to stick with playing outside and being kids.

    • maryellen says:

      Tiffany I appreciate your encouragement. Just wait a year or two and you’ll get a first-hand look at what I’m talking about with some of your child’s friends!

  • I’m so glad you wrote this, Mary Ellen! As a psychologist who works with kids and teens in addition to the adults I serve, I’m really concerned about what I hear even from smart, savvy teens in terms of their behavior on FB and other social media. Giving out their phone numbers to people them meet on line (“Oh I know it is a 13 year old boy and not a creepy old man–he sent me his photo,”) hiding their usage from parents, posting provocative photos, writing about their sexual preferences, etc. Parents: please start snooping into your child’s social media account. You won’t like what you find. They do it even when they have given you their password and know you will be checking.

  • Great post, Mary Ellen. I completely agree that children should not be on Facebook, and I especially agree that random adults (non-family) should not have access to those children. It is very scary to think about what could happen, and the problem will only get worse. Thanks for starting this very important conversation.

  • Renee says:

    I had no idea that 8 year olds were on Facebook. I have heard some bad stories from other parents and am shocked at what goes on. Thanks MaryEllen for educating me even more!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *