Wednesday, March 03, 2010

How old is "old enough" for a kid to have a social networking site account?


On Tuesday, March 2 NBC Washington (Channel 4) did a brief segment by Maureen Kyle on the appropriateness and safety of younger children using social networking sites.

The report presented a boy who had a Myspace account at age 7 and a Facebook account at age 11. But the parents did not allow him to use any real names or even any real facts about the family. However, a child safety consultant said that she did not believe any minors under 18 should be allowed to use social networking sites because their use by minors was like leaving a door to your home unlocked – for predators.

What caught my ear about the report was the attitude toward “fame”. Okay, maybe minors with no legitimate public accomplishments in the “real world” should be on the world stage. But “amateurs” getting started in something (like music) can find the gradually accumulation of self-made “fame” an important tool for competing in the modern world. Otherwise the “establishment” still can keep a lock on who can be heard from.

Update Mar. 4

"Ask Amy" has a letter (p C5) about cyberbullying on Facebook, having repercussions in a small town school, link here. Sge also recommends this site, Cyberbullying Research Center site.

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