There’s a very cool video on the Wall Street Journal‘s site right now. Alas, many do not have the accounts to view it so let me synthesize. Essentially, there’s been a huge influx in the number of underage Facebook users. Not that it’s very hard to lie about your age, but in this case research is finding more and more that parents are actually helping their children break the simple age limit.
You always want what you can’t have. If kids are under the drinking age, they’ll ask older friends to purchase alcohol for them. If kids are under the Facebook age, apparently now they’re having their parents “purchase” Facebook for them. This regulation was put in place for a reason. The internet age released possibilities but it also released predators. What age group pioneered overly sexualized Myspace photos? Tweens. What age group is learning about curiosity and puberty? Tweens.
The age restriction is not stringent in the slightest and I kind of equate it to a European drinking situation as opposed to an American one. Put kids around something, and they most likely won’t abuse it. (Most likely, disclaimer, most likely.) That’s why some of the parents who disagree with the age limit are forcing their children to become Facebook friends with them so that Mom and Dad can monitor their activity.
The best point that the video makes? ”Your digital trail will last forever.” If you think your child’s mature enough that their trail will smell like roses, power to ‘em. For the rest of ya, waiting a few years won’t kill you.