Hey, Mom and Dad: When Should You Let Your Kids Sign Up For Facebook?

Parents, Patch wants to hear from you on the questions that get families talking.

Welcome to "Hey, Mom and Dad"—a weekly feature in which we ask our Facebook fans to share their views on parenting. Every week, we get the conversation started by taking a look back at a question we asked parents the week before on Patch Facebook pages from around the area.

Facebook currently requires that users be 13 years or older to have an account. While some parents think even 13 is too young, the company has considered reducing age restrictions. But even under the existing set-up, it's easy for children to circumvent the current restrictions by being less-than-honest about their age.

That brings us to this week's question.

When should a child be allowed to start their own Facebook account?

Take a look at what people had to say and join the conversation in the comments section.

Ashlyn R. 10 but the parents should set it up with appropriate privacy settings and monitor it. It is a great way for family and friends to stay in touch. As they get older they can have more freedom. via Shorewood Patch

Lisa P. Both my kids got theirs as soon as they could (8th or 9th grade). I have total access to both accounts and they have to keep their walls free of bad language, inappropriate images and any talk of family business. Neither one is on a great deal (they're far too busy in "real" life), and so far have handled it beautifully. The girl is using her page as a portfolio site for her college apps, which I think is very cool. via Oswego Patch

Kevin S. I don't think the 13 and up rule works. My son is 12 and has an fb account. I wasn't really in favor of it, but only my wife and I know the password so he cannot log in on his own and gets very limited time on it. The computer is also in our kitchen so we know what he is doing at all times. via Plainfield Patch

Kelly Stare Guzniczak: My kiddo just turned 13 (today.) We are letting her get an account today. —via Geneva Patch

So what's your take? Tell us in the comments. 

Steve Jameson November 06, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Never! There at a age where person to person social interaction is KEY for proper social development! If your in school that is your social network no reason for a child/ teen 5 to 16 to have a FB account!
oswegoannie November 06, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Once your kid has a FB account it is virtually impossible to shut it down. I am one of those parents who has (had) their kids' passwords, monitored their activity, made sure there was no inappropriate contacts, language, etc., Then my sweet compliant child turned 15, started acting out, made FB friends with vulgar older kids, blocked me from accessing their account, changed their password etc. Numerous contacts with FB, including my threat to bring a lawsuit, has failed to get my kid's account closed down permanently. According to FB, they will not close the account as he is 14 and older. He is still underage, under my roof and being supported by me so I (should) have the final say regarding his participation in any activity including social networking. Teens just don't realize what goes out on FB stays there forever and can give the world a very different (or very true for the moment) view of who they are as people. We now have no home internet but the kid can still get on that account at friends' houses and on their smart phones, on the rare occasions when he is allowed out.
Jane Enviere November 07, 2012 at 01:36 AM
I tend to agree with the sentiment here, but then we are a 100% FB-free household, neither of the adults in the home are on FB. I don't get the attraction, have no desire to post pics of my kids online, don't want to know the latest thought from every person I know, and if I want to talk to someone, I know how to reach them (and vice versa). That said, I know that FB (or whatever comes next) is here to stay and it is definitely a part of life for kids today. Much as we might like to ignore it, we won't be able to forever. Our children are far too young to have an account, but we are already talking about online safety, in age appropriate ways. I also agree with oswegoannie -- it's virtually impossible, even for the most diligent parent, to totally police FB use. You can try, and we will when the day comes. But I still think it's a little bit like herding cats.


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