Today, it seems like everyone is involved with social networking. From sites like Facebook and Twitter to blogs, YouTube and more, social networking has invaded nearly every aspect of our lives – and it’s no different for your kids. But how do you know when your kids are old enough to participate in social networking?
A lot of social sites require that kids be at least 13 before they can join. But they’re really just counting on the honesty of the user creating the account – they have no way to verify that the age a user enters is correct. Parents and many experts worry that exposing children to social networks, or any other heavy computer use at a young age, will set the child up for an Internet addiction later in life. However, no science has proven such a link exists.
The best approach is to consider the maturity and honesty of your child. Some children may be old enough for limited social network use by age 10 or so, others may not be ready even at 13. If you decide to let your child use social networking sites, set some solid ground rules and stick to them. Teach your child about the types of information that are OK to share, and the types that aren’t. Be sure to get the password to your child’s account, and let him or her know you’ll be checking the site regularly.
Social networking can be fun, but like anything else, your child will need rules and guidance from you to be successful.