Even though Facebook has a minimum age of 13 to sign up for an account, that has not stopped younger children from either signing up themselves or having their parents do it for them. SodaHead.com, the web's largest opinion-based community, polled its users to find out the age that they thought kids should be able to join Facebook.
How young is too young?
- Just right -- Thirty-four percent of respondents believe that Facebook is right on target with their rules and that 13 is an appropriate age.
- Too young -- Forty-eight percent believe that Facebook users should be older than 13 years of age with 29 percent of voters saying 14-17 years old is an appropriate age for Facebook.
- Adults only -- Some users think the minimum age should be even higher, with 19 percent indicating that Facebook users should be 18 or older.
- Teen choice -- As expected, teen voters were much more likely to suggest that they should be allowed to sign up. Seventy-five percent of respondents aged 13-17 said that they should be allowed to have a page by age 13, while the majority of all age groups with respondents over 18 feel that kids should be older than 13 before joining Facebook.
- Parent's perspective -- Additional results showed that a third of parents think that kids should be 18 before signing up, while only 13 percent of those without children thought users should have to wait until 18.
You can check out all the poll results at SodaHead.com.
Social networking safety
If you decide to let your tweens or teens on social media sites, be sure to take steps to keep their information safe and private. Many parents only allow their children on Facebook if the kids friend the parent, or even provide their parent with their account passwords.
On Facebook and other sites, you can change the privacy settings to restrict who can see your child's information and photos. Change the settings so that minors aren't included in public search listings and that the only people who can see their updates are friends. Remind your child to keep their password private and to choose social media friends very carefully. They should not accept invitations to connect from anyone that they do not know in real life.