>Facebook Junkies… Growing problem among 6 year olds?

>Today I was alarmed at something I saw on Facebook. My kids’ former tutor is one of my friends on Facebook. She is absolutely lovely and that isn’t what alarmed me, teehee. Today she had some pictures of her class at school. I went to see if I recognized any of the kids… I did. Also not what alarmed me. What alarmed me is this… several of her FIRST graders have Facebook pages. Yes, that’s right 6 year olds with Facebook pages. I knew that some of ButterBean’s class mates (8 year olds) have them and was horrified, but YIKES! 6 YEAR OLDS!

I have to admit that when I see this, I wonder what are these parents thinking? Facebook is, by no stretch of the imagination, a safe place for kids to be spending time. Not only are there pictures openly accessible of inappropriate behavior… there are also predators. February of last year, they made the news with registered sex offenders having profiles. And six year olds are spending time here? In fact, of the profiles I saw for the 6 year olds, only 1 had their pictures hidden from strangers. The other 5, I could see all of their cute pictures of birthday parties and such. Each nicely tagged with the child’s name. It seemed to be a a sort of a sign post to find the child easily. And this is leaving aside the fact that Facebook’s user terms clearly state that you must be 13 to have an account.
Now, I am often viewed as overprotective of my children. I worry about abduction, I am concerned about abuse, I still keep my kids in car seats… But, I guess, seeing this I’d rather the overprotective than naive. We have banned the kids from exposure to Facebook. There is too little control and too much potential for running across inappropriate content. So, I still wonder, what are those parents thinking?
Happy Junkies!

11 thoughts on “>Facebook Junkies… Growing problem among 6 year olds?

  1. >If 20 something boy or girl can post stupid pictures of themselves that should be kept private, I think 13 is too young to have facebook account. The problem is that the digital age generation is not aware much of the privacy issue. Pictures on the internet don't disappear. One picture is enough to ruin someone's future. My university created new office/department just to educate students of the risk of posting such pictures. Believe it or not when facebook started female students used to post topless pictures of themselves on facebook. Luckily, the university took the initiative rather than their parents to show them the risk of such behavior. Knowing the status of how things are done in Jordan I hope someone can step up and do something about those kids having facebook account. I know some parents here in the US insist to be facebook friends with their children. Thanks for the post it is really a serious issue. I can understand why a mother needs to be overprotective of her children, there is nothing wrong with that.

  2. >Thanks Jaraad. I agree that those who have always been part of the digital age don't necessarily appreciate its down side. I'm hoping schools here in Jordan will begin to set policies about usage of things like Facebook. And while I think 13 is young too, at least it's better than 6!

  3. >Actually, it's a better idea if you set up a FB account for your child, put ALL privacy settings to the max, and have all messages sent to YOUR email box, I don't see the harm. My sister-in-law wont let her 15 year old daughter set up one but I told her there is the risk of someone being nasty and setting up one for her daughter, with pictures she doesn't necessarily want (if you know what I mean!) This girl has been the target for the other kids so this is a real risk. My oldest has a FB account but again, with high settings. He does have a photo but it's not clear how old her is in it. I screen any messages. He's 11 so we had to lie when he signed up. Mainly, he uses it to communicate with friends and family in the U.S.

  4. >Nikki, I won't speak to someone's parenting skills ;). Seriously though that set up, to me, is better than your child having an account that they go and look at. She's a wee one and isn't seeing inappropriate things. However, depending on settings and information included I would be a bit careful.Sharon, that does sound like an idea. However, what worries me honestly is predators using Facebook to actually FIND them in person. So many of these parents don't really grasp the intricacies of Facebook so they adopt Facebook's standard privacy settings. I found 4 of my 6 yo's classmates who had their full names and all of their pictures viewable…I do think that there is a limit to how long you should try and control this. By 15, I see no real issue although I would hope the parents keep a very close eye on it. But, 8 year olds with accounts who go out and view the web unsupervised worry me…Well, and for me, it goes to being a native of an unpopular country and wanting myself and my kids to be as anonymous as possible…

  5. >"Eight out of 10 children under the age of two have their pictures online via sites like Facebook, raising privacy and even paedophilia concerns, an Internet security company said on Friday.A study by Melbourne-based AVG found an average of 81 percent of toddlers in 10 western countries have a digital presence; 92 percent in America, followed by 91 percent in New Zealand and 84 percent in Australia and Canada."http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.c81a656973793fe072f583c520733516.841&show_article=1

  6. >I know this is an older post, but I found your blog while searching for something else and saw you live in Amman, as does my sister (american) and her 3 kids.Both of my kids have FB accounts. They don't know they have them but when they are older, I will let them know so they can do the updates. The privacy settings are so they cannot be found by googling their name; only my friends and family are allowed to see their profile and wall. Like Nikki, the accounts were set up so I can put their pictures on their page instead of them all on mine (which I'll put a few b/c they are MY kids afterall ;)…)On the other hand, I've seen FB set up for unborn babies. To me, that is a little creepy so I guess I have a double standard.

  7. >Yoyo, Thanks for commenting. I suspect we all have areas of double standard ;). At least it sounds like you are cognizant of privacy issues and, hopefully, are constantly checking them when Facebook does updates (since they are awful about resetting to open… yuck).For me, I'm thinking when they are 30, it should be a good time ;).

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