I love Facebook and all forms of social media.
Building my author platform has never been easier thanks to this advancement in technology. I write something, click and share. People can then click on the link and read my musings. Easy shameless self-promotion at its best.
Social media has made so many things like news, photos from events and a view into each other’s lives easy and instantly accessible. Snap a photo, upload and BAM! – instant gratification.
This instant gratification also includes sick people waiting to prey on the innocent minds and even bodies of young children and tweens.
Recently, while going through my Facebook news feed, I noticed a child’s photo in the “People You May Know” section. I know this child, who is only 7 years old, as he is the son of someone I know. Why would anyone want to expose their innocent child to the barrage of insanity on Facebook?
When I was under the age of 13, I still liked Barbie dolls and stayed outside until dark playing. I wrote in my notebooks and read a lot of books. I ate big bowls of cereal while watching my favorite Saturday morning cartoons. Those days of innocence are long gone in these times, as most kids have iPods or even iPhones by the time they are 10 years old. Everything’s gone digital, including friendships it seems.
As adults, we (mostly) know how to weed out the garbage from the good online – but a child?
Would you allow your child or tween to drive a car? I honestly think that might be safer than allowing them to navigate Facebook and social media.
Kids do not belong on Facebook. It’s not cute.
If they want to connect and keep in touch with family out-of-town (which is one of the reasons I’ve heard), then why not try the way of our own childhoods and have them write letters and send photos in the mail? This way they can practice their penmanship and learn how to compose real correspondence instead of learning OMG, LOL, ROFL, TMI and so on.
Besides, what would a kid that age post about?
“Today we played kickball at recess and I didn’t get picked last. #iloverecess”
“I broke my straw putting it into my juice box at lunch today. FML.”
I also know a few people who have encouraged their children to write and create art, and have in turn created Facebook pages for their children – but the parent runs the page, not the child. This is a better idea than turning over control to the child, who could friend anyone and possibly become a predators prey.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a complete prude. I think that 13 and in some cases 12 is a proper age to allow a child to have a Facebook account, as long as the parent(s) can watch it, complete with password access – and as long as the child is mature enough to handle all that comes with social media. Keep in mind that Facebook also has a minimum age of 13 for users.
Knowing how to sift the good from the bad, to ignore bullies online and to not post too much information is a must for everyone, adults included.
Isn’t it bad enough kids are constantly being forced by consumerism and culture to grow up fast and take on things they aren’t ready for without having one more thing to worry about, like Facebook?
There is more than enough for kids to deal with in their own busy little lives without the noise of Facebook and social media.
Let’s allow kids to be kids and have them network on the playground during recess, on the bus or in class, just like the good old days.