When I was in Idaho visiting family last week, my 10 year old nephew asked to be my Facebook friend.
Let me back up. For those here who are my friend on Facebook, you’ll know I never use it. Like ever. The other night I posted baseball pictures because someone else had tagged me to see a baseball video (and I was actually in it, twice!) But before that I hadn’t been there since…August maybe? I’ve just never found the value in Facebook that others have.
I’ve professed my conversion to Twitter and that’s primarily where you can find me wasting time throughout the day. I’ve just never gotten into Facebook.
I was more than a little shocked to hear my nephew uses it. Admittedly, I haven’t been to his page yet, but what would someone that young possibly post on there? I thought you had to be 13 to get on the site (and this is no knock against my sister. He has an older brother who does everything and has a cell phone. Once the first kid does something, fegettaboutit.)
It does lead me to wonder what the site can offer a young person. Wouldn’t it be the perfect spot for creepy people to try to get at kids? Is Facebook more protected than other sites like My Space? I know you have to ‘friend’ someone on Facebook to see their information but it just seems scary to me that a child would be on the site.
Even someone like me can accidentally type in the wrong address in the web bar and bring up a whole lotta things they never planned to see. (Just FYI, Dick’s Sporting Goods…not the address you’d think.) I guess I wonder how closely we should monitor our children’s internet use. Obviously we need to approve of what sites they can go to. Thor is only allowed to go to the Chess Foundation website that was provided by his school. Even then, I type the address and never allow him to do it himself.
I don’t know what to do when he wants a Facebook account. He doesn’t know what it is currently but I’m sure that will be changing in the next few years. He certainly knows what Twitter is, not that I’d let him anywhere near it.
What age do you think is appropriate to let kids start wandering the internet? What sites do your kids use and do you monitor what they do there? Sound off in the comments.
*Some comments have gone missing. I don’t know why but I’m working to fix it!