Underage Facebook feedback
Oct 23, 2013 / 5:00 am
When Facebook announced it was changing its policy last week to give teens the ability to post public updates that could be accessible to anyone in the world, the company’s manager of privacy and safety also admitted they had been looking into opening up the site to preteens.
This news came as a surprise to many Castanet readers, some of whom voiced their opinions on the subject. But one person who is not concerned is Christopher Schneider, an assistant professor of sociology at UBCO.
“Kids are growing up immersed in a culture of communication information devices and I think to be able to allow children into these spaces, and cautiously so, is the appropriate thing to do,” he says, while noting that many of these children already use electronic devices like tablets and iPhones.
He argues that the majority of todays' parents were raised outside or just on the cusp of the digital age and have fallen into it through the expansion and proliferation of technology, particularly Facebook.
“I think this is a really good opportunity to be able to socialize our children and youth into how to interact on Facebook and also to be concerned with things like privacy and disclosing information and pictures. This is a good teaching moment,” he says.
“We’re not going to be able to stop kids and youth from going on Facebook and other social media, so I think rather than try to prohibit things we don’t understand, it’s trying to embrace it and move forward with them.”
Schneider goes on to make the point that kids today are growing up in two different worlds. One of those worlds consists of face-to-face interaction at school with friends; the other is an online world that can be faceless and full of anonymity. In each case, parents should be careful of the kinds of friends that kids associate with.
“As much as parents are involved with how children are socialized in the face-to-face world, I think they should be equally involved in how children are being socialized in the digital world, rather than try to restrict it,” explains Schneider, adding there is no proper age for children to use these types of social media sites and it should be up to the discretion of parents.
The uproar surrounding this possible change is nothing new for the social media giant, an official with the company was quoted in 2011 saying that about 20,000 underage accounts were being deleted every day.
Facebook also announced Tuesday that it would be removing a temporary ban on violent images or video postings showing decapitation, saying users should be free to watch and condemn such videos. However, they will consider adding warnings.
This is what some of our reader’s had to say about the subject:
John Schlapbach –
“If the law states that you have to be 13 in order to sign up for Facebook then that should be abided by. Why do we always want to make exception to these laws? There is a reason why it is in place. As it is older children and young adults already don't seem to realize the impact of placing certain things on Facebook in regards to their lives and possible careers ,etc. Bullying is already a huge issue and Facebook has been used as a means to promote this. Placing the social media in young peoples hands who may not understand it's ramifications is a mistake. As it is even adults have abused the social media themselves. Where do we draw the lines? I know it is a complicated issue in today's cyber world! Most young kids already use computers and mobile devices so why can't they wait until they are 13 to use Facebook?”
Denise Armstrong –
Thought I would give you my feedback, no way am I allowing my children (9 and 12 in December) to get Facebook, there is too much adult content (i.e news, sexual jokes, that sort of stuff). And I want my kids to be kids, social media is allowing our children to grow up too quickly.
My son heard this on the radio this morning and looked at me and said, I know I am not allowed to get Facebook until I am 13.”
“No no no no. Read the studies. Follow the money. This is nothing more than a front for catching them young. The market is saturated at the 13-18 level, so it's time to get (them) earlier.”
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