By Kelsey Stewart, Contributor
Facebook has more than 800 million users. More than seven million are under 13 years old, according to Consumer Reports. Seven million users are breaking Facebook’s rule that no one under 13 can have a page.
Rumor has it Facebook may be doing away with the age rule in the near future. Ideas have surfaced that for children under 13, their pages might be linked to those of their parents. Parents would be able to see what their children are posting, control their privacy and even step in if they see something dangerous.
It isn’t difficult to lie about age to set up an account and clearly many have already done so. Instead of teaching children that it’s OK to lie about their age, why don’t we teach them the right way to use social media?
According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, a majority of teens and their parents are discussing what’s appropriate to post online.
Most teens reported receiving advice about online safety and behavior from an average of five sources.
Teens may be receiving guidance on what to post, but upon closer inspection of my newsfeed, I’m not seeing it put into practice. In fact, I sometimes find that adults aren’t exactly practicing what they preach to their teens.
Advisers can guide this younger crop of social media users even more than the older teens. If preteen pages are in fact linked to those of their parents, online etiquette can truly be enforced.
We’re all well aware of the dangers on social media sites-predators, scams, cyber bullying and more. But social media can be beneficial. It gives children a new kind of socialization. It gives them more online opportunities.
So let’s do this the right way. Give preteens access to Facebook. Don’t teach them that it’s okay to bend the rules. Closely monitor their accounts. Educate them on the use of social media.
What you post will be out there somewhere forever, so set an example for the social media tweens and educate yourself on online etiquette.