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Social Networking For Six-Year-Olds

Social Networking For Six-Year-Olds

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?

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  • jellybeanr By jellybeanr
    11.05.09  

    My 12 year old son tried to open an account on facebook because he saw his friends and cousins on the site. I didn't realize there was an age restriction. He is not allowed to have an account until 13 yrs. I was very surprised that my nephew has an account and He is 10 and many of my son's classmates age 12 have accounts.

  • adragail By adragail
    11.05.09  

    I do not think that Children need a social networking site, such as Kidswirl, but I am not opposed to my kids being on Webkinz. They have an allotted time that they are allowed on the computer. The computer is in the family room and is always monitored. They have their own logins which allow them only on specific kid friendly sites. This is part of a kid being a kid. They are learning computer skills and having fun!

  • marylynnf By marylynnf
    11.05.09  

    Just what kids need more reason to sit, type and get no exercise. What are people thinking. Social site - hooey - these kids don't learn social skills being on a computer they need to be involved in activities with other children in person not behind a computer screen.

  • smilin_sara By smilin_sara
    11.06.09  

    I don't think that a 5 or 6 year old need to even be on the computer. They need to be outside getting all of the fresh air and exercise that they can get. When I was 6, I didn't even know what a computer was, now a days, 6 year olds know more about them then a lot of adults do. It is sad....parents need to be outside with their children, not letting them sit in front of a computer screen.

  • loli1707 By loli1707
    11.06.09  

    No way ! They need to go outside & play !

  • Lusadi By Lusadi
    11.06.09  

    There is absolutely no reason why any child under high school age (and I'm iffy on high school students) needs access to the internet. Children and teenagers alike do not have sufficiently developed social boundaries to allow them to interact with people over the internet.

  • Beatrice By Beatrice
    11.07.09  

    Children six and under should definitely be on Facebook. Though its secure one does not how it can be invaded and the information used could be a detrement to the child/

  • Beatrice By Beatrice
    11.07.09  

    please fix to say should NOT be on Facebook

  • loveCabo09 By loveCabo09
    11.07.09  

    Absolutely not! I am also a firm believer that children should be outside playing, not sitting idle in front of a computer screen. I agree that there is way too much pressure on young kids to grow up too quickly and not enough emphasis on being a kid. Then we wonder why our kids are over weight!

  • kelly123 By kelly123
    11.08.09  

    I think it is so upsetting to think about my young children joining one of these sites. I have been to these networks and am a member of a few and also know how dangerous they can be if your not careful.

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