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When Teens Can Use Social Networking Sites

The Right Age to Let Your Teen Start Social Networking

Social media. Just the sound of it is enough to send parents searching for protective barriers around their kids. But sooner or later, your kids will want to join their friends online. While adults tweet, post, and like away, there are several kid-friendly sites designed just for the junior set. These work for a few years, but soon enough your teen will outgrow them, claiming she's old enough for Facebook and the like. Should you give in or have her wait a few more years? Here, a breakdown and age suggestions for today's most popular social media platforms.

Facebook

What It Is: Founded in 2004, Facebook was created as a way for college-bound students to meet and interact with their peers before starting school. Today it is a way for anyone, including moms, to meet people, share photos, exchange messages, and more.
Site's Age Requirement: 13 years old or older.
Our Age Recommendation: 18 years old or older. Given the amount of teenage cyberbullying that occurs on Facebook, middle and high school students may not be mature enough to handle the site.

Twitter

What It Is: Twitter allows users to send and receive 140-character messages, ranging from breaking news to a breakdown of their breakfast.
Site's Age Requirement: 13 years old or older.
Our Age Recommendation: 13 years old or older. Though Twitter is intended for companies and adults, the site does provide great opportunities for teens, such as interacting with celebrities or winning swag from stores. As long as they stay clear of mean tweets, teens should be allowed to use the site.

See when your child should join Instagram, Snapchat, and more!

Instagram

What It Is: A fun, photo-sharing app that allows you to alter photos with filters and other add-ons.
Site's Age Requirement: 13 years old or older.
Our Age Recommendation: 15 years old or older and only a private profile. Teens want to capture major life moments, like homecoming games and prom. With a private profile, they are able to share these photos with friends without receiving crude comments from strangers.

Vine

What It Is: A mobile app that allows users to share videos on a six-second loop.
Site's Age Requirement: 17 years old or older.
Our Age Recommendation: 17 years old or older. At this age, children should know what is and isn't appropriate to post in a video.

Keek

What It Is: An app that lets users share 36-second videos with the world and send video messages to family and friends.
Site's Age Requirement: 13 years old or older.
Our Age Recommendation: 15 years old and only with a private profile. Before they sign up, make sure to sit your children down and talk to them about appropriate video posts.

Snapchat

What It Is: A photo-messaging service that lets you send pictures to a specific user, which will disappear within 10 seconds.
Site's Age Requirement: 13 years old or older.
Our Age Recommendation: 18 years old or older. While it seems quick, 10 seconds is enough time for someone to take a screenshot and send a photo out to millions. Wait until your child is old enough to emotionally handle potential repercussions. If your child is insistent, have them sign up for Snapkidz. Available for kids 13 years old or younger, this app allows kids to take and edit photos without sending them.

Tumblr

What It Is: A simpler form of blogging, Tumblr lets people post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos.
Site's Age Requirement: 13 years old or older.
Our Age Recommendation: 15 years old or older. Creative children can benefit from this easy-to-use blogging platform.

Wanelo

What It Is: Short for want, need, and love, Wanelo is a social commerce site that shares photos of clothes, accessories, and makeup products. When a user clicks on the item, Wanelo takes her to the site where she can purchase the item.
Site's Age Requirement: 13 years old or older.
Our Age Recommendation: 18 years old or older. Until your child has access to and can pay off her own credit card, she shouldn't be allowed to shop online. If she sees something she wants, she can always ask you to buy it and pay you back.

Google+

What It Is: Owned and operated by Google, this site allows users to build a brand and interact with similar users.
Site's Age Requirement: 13 years old or older.
Our Age Recommendation: 17 years old or older. If your child is an artist, writer or composer, then Google+ could be a great way for him to display his work, which is great when it comes time for college applications.

Source: Shutterstock
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