Leave pre-teens alone, Facebook

Leave pre-teens alone, Facebook

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Great.

Facebook is now considering opening up its site to children under 13.

Is this supposed to protect our kids from the evils of social networking?

The children’s online privacy act was established for very good reasons. Why would anyone want to subject them to more potential danger?

Facebook is a great online communication tool for people who want to stay connected with friends and family. But it’s a huge sandbox where complete strangers can jump in and invade your space.

“You have eight friend requests.” Really? You don’t know these people, and in most cases don’t want to know them.

We hope most teens are savvy enough to know how to protect themselves online by not posting their photographs or personal information. But children under 13 don’t understand the consequences of their actions and can fall victim to child predators and inappropriate content such as pornography.

You can set your profile to “private,” but don’t be fooled by that because people can find ways around it. Remember, anything posted online stays in cyberspace forever and can be accessed by someone who’s looking.

Facebook should not be permitted to let pre-teens use their site. Period. Surprisingly, though, many parents allow their 11-year-olds to share information on Facebook and other sites without much supervision.

Online predators often pose as teens to befriend their victims, who end up sharing a lot more than they should.

Relationships with real friends can quickly sour into cyber-bullying, and all that personal information the victim previously shared is in the hands of the vindictive friend. You would be amazed at how images can be photoshopped to embarrass or hurt people. This can lead to devastating results such as depression and suicide.

For many children (and adults), Facebook is an addiction that dulls their ability to effectively communicate face-to-face. Kids don’t want to go outside and be active anymore because they are brainwashed by the electronic age. This can also have a negative impact on school and learning.

If Facebook truly cares about children’s safety and well-being, it should abandon this hair-brained scheme immediately.

Parents should also take a serious look at whether they want their children exposed to these hazards, and whether they are prepared for the consequences.

Pre-teens don’t need to be on Facebook, so why subject them to potential risk? Sleepovers and play-dates are great ways for them to interact and communicate with their peers. And as a parent, at least you can see whom your child is relating to.

 

Lyonel Doherty

Editor

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