With the list of popular social networking sites expanding every day it is no wonder people of all ages are being drawn to them. For parents, this may mean making a decision of when to let their children join in and create their very own account. The top sites like MySpace and Facebook set their age restriction at 13, but they have no real way of verifying a person's age.
A recent article from CNN reports that 38 percent of respondents in a study between the ages of 12 and 14 said they have an online profile on a social networking site. Parents often worry their young children could be subjected to viewing inappropriate photographs, comments, or worst of all coming in contact with an online predator.
A professor of psychology from California State University, Kaveri Subrahmanyam, is not too worried about placing age limitations on these websites. She says, "For the most part, although there's so much press about all the bad things they're doing, much of what they're doing is stuff they would be doing anyway."
There are sites, unlike MySpace and Facebook, that cater specifically to young children and place limitations on what the children can do while online. On one site, loosely based onFacebook, called KidSwirl there are children as young as 5 that have active accounts. Both Webkinz and Whyville are also social networking sites for kids that feature a more supervised level of networking like KidSwirl. Toby Clark, creator of KidSwirl, points out that kids spend an average of 5 minutes signed on to his site compared to the 20 minute average FaceBook receives. Some parents view these sites as a way to get their kids ready for the more adult versions of these sites.
What do you think of allowing young children to take part in social networking sites?
Do you think joining a site specifically targeted to young kids is a good way to prepare them for more adult sites in the future?
I have to say I too agree with many of those who commented against this kind of social networking sites for such young children. It is bad enough when teenagers and 20+ kids use it and "get into trouble" with the wrong person or crowd, we must protect our children. It is truly unnecessary! I think that more emphasis should be placed on health, getting exercise and playing outdoors or with friends NOT only computer games, Wii, Nintendo DS, etc. What happened to good old fashion fun like hoola hooping, playing barbies, legos, drawing, doing art projects, sports, etc. The world has gotten way too much into cyber world. I do think that computers is a handy tool WHEN used properly, but we must monitor what our children are doing. I am NOT old, but I have to agree with my parents generation, etc. that we don't need to have all these things and feel like we need to be one up on technology...our parents survived, we survived, etc.
I dont think young childeren should be able to have these accounts. Their is alot of bad things on the web that they could get into. I think that 14 years old is a good age for them to start a myspace or facebook because they are going into high schoolat this time. A parent should still monitor it tho.
Why do they need this? Teenagers are already addicted to social networking. Don't lower the age of the addiction.
I believe that any and all six year olds should not be allowed on any social networking sites. Children should be outside playing with other children. There are too many bad people on these social networking sites. Children who are six years old should be spending their time watching tv, learning new things, playing outside, and anything else for little children to do.
i do not understand why a six year old needs this. children should spend less time in front of the t.v. or computer at this age and more time playing outside or even inside with their toys using their imaginations.
No way, I would never allow my child on a networking site not even if it was only for children. I have a 9 year old and a 5 year old, kids need to be playing on the playground running and playing with kids there own age thats all the sociallizing they need.
i wouldnt agree with this either its bad especially when there is online preditors that probably talk to you 6 year olds and acting like there 6 or 7 when really there in there late 30's to 40's our world isent a safe place any more .. an i really dont think our young youth should have a social networking sight until they are old enough to relize that there are creepers oout there ..
I agree with smiling1 also. I have stepsons who do nothing- literally- but sit with their laptops in the den while watching tv at the same time. My 5 year old daughter will absolutely not be raised that way. What's more, the commercials on the so-called kids channels also encourage computer use and time-wasting activities. I feel like moving to the top of a mountain!
No way! I think it's ridiculous that companies are targeting our children so young. It's not as though they don't already encounter advertising everywhere. The "mouse company" even has their own site with a fee. Kids are only kids once. They don't need to worry about "virtual" friends when they can make real ones.
I totally agree with 'smiling1' - we need to protect our children. Like the Billy Dean song says.....Let them be little cuz their only that way for a while!
I think children that young should be doing creative play and other activities instead of creating a networking site. Computer time will catch up eventually but it is important to learn how to develop social networking face to face before added another dimension with the online networking. Kids need to learn how to interact and build relationships in person first. Not to mention there are a lot of people I would not want my children interacting with online. As parents we need to help guide and protect our children. Having some time on the computer okay but it should be monitored by the parent and limited. Kids grow up too fast as it is and we all want the best for each one of our little ones.
I don't think that a child who is 5 or 6 years old needs to be on a networking site. They aren't going to understand what is being said. Once they reack 11 or so they should be allowed but only while being superivsed.
Children come in all flavors; many with disabilities find acceptance in online communities that is not easily attained in daily life. Some (on the autism spectrum especially) gravitate to online communities (even at the tender age of two) because they are increasingly able to gain achievements and boost self esteem that dwarf any experiences they've had to date in the "great outdoors" ... unsupervised social networking can be dangerous, but many childrens' sites offer only canned chat responses - quite harmless. It may not be for everyone, but it is definitely a godsend for some.
Another thought to add... We have our computers in an open office area where everyone can see what is going on. I will not ever allow my children at ANY age to have one alone in their room. If it is something I can not see, it is not allowed.
I am a mom of two, ages 7 & 8. I have allowed them since Kindergarten age to play on-line games that interact with others .. BUT it is only for sites that block out or filter chat for children. There is not much they can do except play the game & no one is allowed to chat with them. So I guess it is not fully interactive. If it is a an age appropriate site with filters, etc. that you control they are fine by me. Webkins, TY, Freerealms.. You just have to make sure you are educated on the site and even play with them. :) I think it does prepare them for the future. Computers are the future and they learn so much from them. Most of the games require them to figure out and solve problems so mainly the game part is good for them, not so much the interaction. Unless they have a friend at school that wants them to play with them or something, it is not really necessary. They get enough interaction in school and in the world.