It won’t take you long to look up some Facebook horror stories. There are numerous stories about twelve year olds on Facebook who are victims of cyberbullying. There are plenty of twelve-year-old Facebook users even though Facebook rules do not allow anyone under thirteen from having an account.
Unfortunately, Facebook cannot stop parents from creating accounts with a falsified age for their children.
One of the biggest risks to children using social networking sites come from their own behaviour and from other children. Cyberbullying and online harassment by peers continues to be a huge and pressing issue on social networking sites. According to a Consumer Reports study, over one million children experienced cyberbullying on Facebook in the past year. It can cause stress, depression, anxiety and, in some extreme cases, even lead to suicide.
The stats in the above paragraph should put some caution into the steps of any parent with a child wanting a Facebook account.
I’m not here to say every child is stalked or bullied by their classmates while they hang out on Facebook. Maybe the worst thing their Facebook experience will provide is a lack of interpersonal skills. However, use caution when allowing your son or daughter to enter the world of social media. At the very least, monitor what they do on Facebook.
Also, parents need to think long and hard before allowing ten, eleven or twelve year-olds on Facebook. Maybe there’s a reason why Facebook rules do not allow that. Maybe it’s for your safety as a child.