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?
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.
No! This is insane! Kids need to get out, enjoy the sunshine and see REAL friends and play face to face!
Young children need to be living their lives, in real life. Not through the internet. I think a big issue is that parents need to become more aware of the fact that there are other ways for them to access the internet and these social networking sites than just by a computer. There are phones, certain hand-held gaming devices, friends homes, etc. that are used to access the internet, so if kids want to have a profile, they're going to find a way to get one and access it often. The networking for younger children is just a complete joke. It's completely and utterly absurd. What are we teaching future generations? That it's okay to live behind a screen and possible lies? They won't gain anything from these.Companies really need to spend money creating positive programs instead of wasting it on crap like this.
KIDS NEED TO BE OUTSIDE PLAYING, BEING KIDS, MY CHILDREN ARE NOT ALLOWED. I THINK ITS WRONG, I HAVE HEARD OF PARENTS IN MY BOYS SCHOOL THAT WILL CREATE A MY SPACE ACCOUNT FOR THEIR 5 YEAR OLD AND I THINK ITS NOT RIGHT. LET THEM BE KIDS..
I THINK A 6 OR 5 YEAR OLD SHOULD NOT HAVE A MYSPACE OR FACEBOOK! WAHT COULD THEY BE DOING ON THERE ANYWAYS! I THINK ITS OK FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL CHILDREN AND UP THOUGH
Kids (and all people) need face-to-face relationships, not virtual ones. I feel the same way about teenagers...they think they get to know someone well because of a relationship they develop online, but it's not a "real" relationship. This can happen to someone of any age, but I think teens are more susceptible because they're not as experienced. And it would be even worse for pre-teens.
I agree it's totally unnecessary!!
I have mixed emotions about this. There can be a benefit to allowing your child to explore the internet community. However, I am very concern about 6 years old being the starting age. I believe that a more appropriate age would be 11 or 12 years of age. That way the child would be better able to communicate with their parent about inappropriate behavior that they may come into contact with. A child that is six years of age is too vulnerable and they don't have a complete understanding of avoiding people who may try to exploit their innocence.
This is totally unnecessary.
I would not allow my young child to join a site like that... Kids don't need junk like that..
Absolutely not! I am a firm believer that a 6 year old should be outside playing, not sitting idle in front of a computer screen. There is way too much pressure on young kids these days to grow up too quickly and not enough emphasis on being a kid. There is plenty of time for children to acclimate to the adult world; 6 years old is just way too young. I am all for a child browsing the internet for educational things; my grandson checks the hockey scores in the morning, uses google to search answers to questions that he has that no one has the correct answer for, and even uses it as a geography tool. These are fine, but to sit and "chat" online with others does not seem right. Long gone are the days of personal communication. Texting has taken place of voice to voice calls, IM and email has taken place of letters. I think more emphasis should be placed on verbal and written communication skills along with reading comprehension!!!
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