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Children and facebook
When would you consider is the right age for child to join facebook? To be honest I’m not sure of the answer myself yet. What I do know though is that it won’t be just yet. One evening my daughter came up to me and asked if she could join facebook? The answer was no. She told me that most of her friends were on facebook and while I appreciated this I still felt that it just wasn’t appropriate for her just yet. She’s ten and there are still a lot of things she needs to learn and understand. I’m not stopping her from going onto facebook because I’m an evil parent. I have my reasons that I feel are reasonable and when I feel comfortable enough to let her go onto facebook I will. But right now I really feel she’s too young. Below I list my reasons.
Wolves dressed as sheep
Facebook is the new stalking centre. It is where predators now find prey. It may sound OTT but this is a reality. Children are vulnerable and can be very gullible and trusting. They will befriend almost anyone without question, it’s what children do. It’s the innocence of being a child. A part of children that I like and this is why it is my responsibility to be the voice of reason and guidance. There was a very disturbing documentary on TV once and this was about adults. A woman befriended a man disguised as someone else. They had relations over the internet and this man believed she was an eighteen year old. When it all came out it was discovered that this woman had used pictures of her eighteen year old daughter pretending to be her. She was in fact a married woman in her forties. Its things like these that make me think. If a grown man can believe this without even questioning it, how much more a child?
Perhaps her friends are on facebook, what is stopping some adult disguising themselves as the child and starts talking to my child. Unfortunately this is the kind of world we live in. We can no longer just say to children, ‘Don’t talk to strangers’ because now strangers can easily disguise themselves. As she gets older and I’ve educated her and helped her as much as I can and I feel comfortable within myself I will let her go onto facebook. But she will be a lot older then. Right now she really can’t tell the sheep from the wolves.
Bullying never stops
Before facebook and all these social media sites when you left school the bullying stopped. You knew you could take a break from it. But with sites like Facebook the bullying never stops. It can continue even after you’ve left school. Thankfully my daughter is not being bullied but someone I know relayed a story to me that broke my heart. A child was constantly bullied at school and the bullying never stopped. It continued on the site. Yes it may well be that the child could delete their profile but the fact remained that this child was being picked on. It got so bad for this child that it really was cause for concern. The point I’m trying to make is that even though facebook is a great social site, it is also a place where children get to torment other children.
Entering you home private life
Children are innocent in that sometimes they don’t understand what and what not to say. Until a child is mature enough to get that I will keep her off the site for a few more years. A child could innocently say something that wasn’t supposed to be mentioned in public that could make your household vulnerable. We as adults are constantly being reminded to be careful about what we mention on our facebook status, i.e. ‘I’m on holiday!’ only to come home and find your house burgled. It happens, I’ve heard it happen and if adults are doing this, what’s stopping a child from doing it. They mean no harm nor do they understand the consequences it may bring.
These are just a few things I’ve considered and feel that she isn’t ready for Facebook. She can take a look at mine and see family on it but having her own account at the moment isn’t going to happen. I have nothing against parents who choose to allow their kids on facebook, each parent knows their child. All I know and feel is that right now my ten year old is still a little too young to be on facebook. She has understood that and I’m glad she has. When I feel she’s ready, which I don’t know when that is, I will allow it. But right now it’s not the time. That’s just my two cents on the matter.