Facebook has become one of the biggest sites ever, if not the biggest. People of all ages create Facebook accounts and are able to keep up with friends and acquaintances from all over the world. Although the site requires that a user is thirteen years old or older, it is not unusual to find eight and nine yearÂ olds with their own accounts.
Most of us monitor our kidsâ€™ Facebook accounts to some extent, but if you are anything like me you just donâ€™t have time to keep up with it on a consistent basis.
And, it is possible that your child has created an account that you know nothing about.
Many parents might be surprised to find out that Facebook is not necessarily child friendly. Some of the ads that show up on the side bars can be pretty risquÃ© â€“ and have you really looked at some of the profile pictures that people have?
Images that are obviously adult content can be flagged for removal but if your child has already seen it then the damage is done. And, one of the things that I really am uncomfortable with is the fact that your children can communicate with people that they donâ€™t even know. In this day and age, that in itself is pretty risky.
There are online predators that get friendly with children, allowing them to believe that they are the same age, and then collecting information from them. Not only is there a potential for physical risk â€“ messaging and other conversations can become very inappropriate.
Instances of cyber-bullying are becoming more frequent, and can mean kids become the target of bullying at school as well.
Even if you have your childâ€™s account set to private so no one can find him, he is still being exposed to a plethora of advertisements, images, and statuses on his friendsâ€™ accounts.
Facebook has considered the idea of allowing pre-teens to have accounts because it would increase their revenues. Pre-teens are one of the main age groups that advertisers want to reach, and they tend to play more online games than adults â€“ two things that make money for the site.
For a long time I would add my childrenâ€™s friends to my account if they sent me a friend request. They knew me in person and I enjoyed keeping up with what they were doing. One day I realized that some of the things people posted on my wall were not necessarily child appropriate, even when they were quite mild by adult standards.
I also realized that I often promoted my articles on my status â€“ and some of them were about marriage, relationships, and sex â€“ again not something I thought my kidsâ€™ friends needed to read. Like many adults, I just had not considered who was reading what I was posting.
Does your pre-teen have a Facebook account? How do you keep tabs on it?
photo credit: mia3mom