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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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  • Momto3AmazingKids By Momto3AmazingKids

    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.

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