This article from CNN tries to tackle the question of how young is too young for kids to be on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. Well, you can read the psychobabble from CNN are you can read the straight truth I’m about to give you.
Most of the bigger sites set the minimum age of use at 13. However, they have no way of verifying a user’s age so it’s up to you, the parent, to make sure they’re not on it if they’re underage. I think 13 is old enough to be on a social site, however, it’s not old enough for them to be on social sites unmonitored. You may have the most well-behaved children in the world. You may trust them completely. It’s not your kids that you have to worry about. It’s the other people out there that you have no control over that you have to worry about. You may have the most intelligent and sensible child in the world but that doesn’t matter to a hill of beans when it comes to predators.
A lot of sexual predators out there are the most devious and manipulative group of cretins to ever slink across the face of the planet. Your kid is not immune to their Svengali-like machinations. You must monitor your kids’ activities not just in Facebook and Myspace but everywhere on the internet.
My biggest safety tips to you are to not let them keep the computer in their own room and definitely not to let them have a webcam. You are really the only line of defense between your kids and predators.
And how old should they be until you stop monitoring their activity? I tend to lead towards when they’re 18 when they’re legally responsible for themselves. Hopefully, by then you’ve instilled enough sense in them.