Why I Let My Tween Get a Facebook

Yesterday, I saw several of my friends on The Twitter and Facebook link this story. I’ve actually been thinking about writing this post for a while, as it always seems to be a popular topic of discussion. I do not expect to be popular for my opinion. I expect negative comments. I’m cool with that.

About two years ago, when my girls were 10 and 7, they really starting bugging me to let them get Facebook accounts. Of course I said no. At first. Until they started constantly playing Farmville, Cafe World, etc, etc, on MY account. So I created them a fake account. Where they fake farmed and cafed their little hearts out.

Fast forward a year later. Miss M starts asking if she can get her “own” account. I said no. Again, at first. Until she started showing me how many of her friends had accounts. So I gave in and let her. She was 11 and about to start Jr. High.

In our house we normally go by THIS rule: You don’t necessarily have to be the FIRST one to do something, but you won’t be the last. Yes, yes, I know there are lessons to be learned in making kids wait for things. On certain things though, why would you have them feel left out?

And NO, if my kids come home and tell me everyone is drinking, doing drugs, getting tattoos, having sex, etc, etc, I’m NOT going to give my okay for that. But at the same time, I hope that we have enough open communication that if they end up at a party where those things are happening, they feel like they can call me. Instead of getting in a car with someone who’s impaired. Or having unprotected sex. Or jumping off a bridge.

Back to The Facebook though. I started a discussion on my personal and blog FB accounts this morning asking people if they let their children start an account and what ages they were. I got LOTS of responses. With a lot of good points for and against.

My favorite point in the against column is this. Facebook requires you to be 13 to start an account. When you are starting an account for a child under 13, you are telling them it’s okay to lie. I really never thought about this. I told M she couldn’t put her real age on there until she was at least 16, just to be safe. So that never really came up around here. But I do see this point. And honestly, kind of agree with it.

Now for my favorite in the ‘for’ column. If your kids want to do it, they are going to do it anyway. At the library, at a friends house, in your house for that matter. And I will tell you, if we are not friends on FB and you didn’t happen to be part of the discussion, at least one friend admitted to finding out their kid set up an account the didn’t know about. And they caught them. And now they have the passwords. It’s GOING to happen.