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Should There Be an Age Limit For Social Networks?

Should There Be an Age Minimum For Social Networks?

Social networking sites have long been popular with teens, and now researchers are saying they're becoming increasingly popular with younger kids, too. I don't think anyone's surprised by the findings; though both Facebook and MySpace require users to be at least 13 years old when signing up for accounts.

A researcher quoted in the CNN article says:

"Of course they are [using social networking sites]. They're using them because that's where their social world is. Because there's no effective way to age-verify . . . children very quickly realize, 'I just say I'm 14 years old, and they'll let me use this.' "

Researchers are split on the long-term effects of allowing younger children onto the sites. Some say that early exposure to the sites can lead to Internet addiction in adults; others say that most younger children use the sites in moderation, and in positive ways. The article also quotes parents who have allowed their kids to lie about their age to create profiles, though they also require their kids to surrender their passwords, and monitor the kids' activities and friends. What do you think about age restrictions on these sites?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Chewing123 Chewing123 4 years
I also agree with Glynislily apart from the fact that exposing children to a younger type of social networking site will have many drawbacks: • Exposing and encouraging children to a younger social networking sites will have issues in the future where they will be addicted to using the internet 24/7. • Focusing children in one area will lure in Paedophiles who will try to disguise themselves as children and make arrangements in which parents could assume that because the site is initially meant for children that it could not be harmful in anyway being.
mek123 mek123 7 years
I completely agree with the previous comments on making separate social networks sites for children. It is scary what kids can see on myspace and facebook and who can see them.
ManiMartinixo ManiMartinixo 7 years
There definitely needs to be a minimum age. My little cousins (11 and 9) are becoming more and more tech savvy and the last thing I want is for them to join facebook because all their friends are doing it. I think the easiest way to implement a "kids only facebook" would for facebook to make it similar to how facebook used to be. Go back to inviting friends to facebook. By now, anyone who wants a facebook has one or has a friend that has one. Adults, college students, and high schoolers should be able to see each other and communicate. Similarly only elementary and middle school students can see each other and communicate. They can switch over when they join a high school social network.
danizzle danizzle 7 years
my neice is only 11 years old, and her facebook profile says she was born the same year as me... 1986! this irks me, and i constantly monitor her page. what upsets me more, is that her parents do nothing about it. we know she is a smart girl, but it still scares me to know that she is posting she is 23, instead of 11!
clairestrose clairestrose 7 years
I don't think that there should be a minimum enforced by facebook and myspace any more than there is now, but I do think that parents should step up in talking to their kids about social networking sites and have them join the younger ones, instead of throwing 10year-olds in with all the adults. It was weird for me to see 14 year-olds on the site for the first time, let alone if some 8 year-old got on there....
kiwigeek kiwigeek 7 years
I agree with the concept of a social networking site for children, but how to implement it? Children will still be drawn to what's 'cool' with older children as well, there's no way to restrain them from using mainstream sites like fb, myspace etc. I remember back in the day where neopets was the place to be... ahhh...
KatieMullady KatieMullady 7 years
Yes, yes and YES! There definitely needs to be an age minimum for social networks, especially those talked about above like Facebook and MySpace. For one, as an avid Facebook user and someone who is familiar with other social network sites, I believe that almost all the content available on people's profiles are not kid-friendly. Not only do the majority of people post links and pictures not suitable for children, there is also the always-scary thought that predators are just a "click" away. Just recently, my cousin who isn't even in middle school yet, friended me on Facebook. I was disturbed that she could not only view my profile, being the college student that I am, but also that she is now a part of one of the largest networks in the world. Also, I completely agree with the previous comments on making separate social networks sites for children. Not only would it allow a safer online community for children, but it could allow for a segmented market in which advertisers and ad agencies could easily target their audience. What easier way for a specific product to be targeted to an audience when the social network sites are segmented by demographics and psychographics. Otherwise, an ad's message will be lost in the clutter of competing messages in such social network sites, such as Facebook and Myspace.
Akasha Akasha 7 years
I agree. A friend of mine is a teacher and she is constantly having to say no to her students trying to be one of her facebook friends. I would really like to see someone come up with a social network for kids where it is monitored by an outside source as a lot of parents don't watch their kids usage enough or don't know the computers well enough. It should be a safe place for kids to go, where there is a bit more security to keep pedophiles out, and cyber bullying to a minimum.
glynislily glynislily 7 years
I think that there needs to be like a Facebook jr. Where they have the same apps and set up but a separation from the adults on the other site and with some sort of parental controls.
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