How Young is Too Young for Facebook?

Sunday, February 20, 2011
Our oldest daughter will be 9 in May, and although she hasn't yet asked, I fear the big question is looming in our near future. "Mom and Dad, when can I join Facebook?" She has already inquired about a cell phone. Is it really necessary for her to make calls to friends while not at home? She's always with me, and when she's not, she's either with the hubs or in school. She doesn't need a cell phone in either of those incidents.

Why are these kids so quick to rush childhood and grow up?

I think 9 is too young for Facebook, and so is 11, 13, and 15. Even 16 might be pushing it. One of my own Facebook friends has a daughter on Facebook. She's 7. Yes, 7. Her birth year is listed as 1988. If we can't and aren't going to be ourselves, why bother? She can't possibly have a large population of friends on Facebook. So why is she there? And more importantly, why did her parents allow her to create a profile (under an incredibly false pretense, nevertheless)?

I can't quite put my finger on why it bothers me to see such young children on Facebook. Even with strict privacy settings, there is still too much exposure for children. They should be putting puzzles together, playing sports, playing kitchen, riding bikes, and being kids. Not surfing Facebook. And from what I hear, there's a lot of drama amongst the teenage Facebookers. Those adolescent years are filled with enough drama. Adding Facebook to the mix doesn't help.

Have you had to handle this difficult situation yet? If so, how did you? Were you caught off-guard or were you anticipating it and prepared for a discussion? Please weigh in.

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