It seems like, in today's world, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media outlets are a natural part of life. Sooner or later (if they haven't already), your children will want accounts of their own.
So, we asked our Newark moms:
- At what age do you think it's appropriate for your children to start having a Facebook account?
- What kind of rules would you develop and enforce when it comes to the Internet and social media and your children?
- What kind of concerns do you have about social media and your children, and how will you monitor that?
Here's how they weighed in:
Angela Slate, mom of two
I think they can start having social media accounts at around 14 if they have a track record of proven responsibility. The conditions are that I must have their user name and password. Simply friending me or allowing me to follow them is not good enough as they can create settings to hide content from me. I want to be able to sign in to their account at any time to check their activity. If I find that they have been doing anything inappropriate or created a secret account, I would hope that we could discuss it and turn it into a learning opportunity. However, if they knowingly act inappropriately, they simply lose all computer privileges for the appropriate amount of time.
Of course, this is all based on today's social media. Who knows what's going to be available in 10 years when my kids are actually ready!
Brandi Wecks, mom of one
I think that the child's maturity should strongly determine their access to social media. My daughter is young, and I can't even imagine what kind of networking will be available when she is a teenager. Facebook requires members be at least 13, so I think that's a start. It would have to be highly monitored, though, to make sure they aren't being victimized, or causing trouble for anyone else. It has been very widely publicized how kids are using these social media platforms to bully each other, or to post inappropriate content that can haunt them later in their lives. Kids don't see the long-term repercussions of sharing photos or videos of themselves, but I think that these platforms are, and will continue to be, used for college and job vetting. I don't feel like most kids are ready for unsupervised access until they are much older than the minimum requirements.
Tammy Warren-Alcorta, mom of five
My oldest is 10 and already asking but we said no. Right now we have no Internet in the house and the only Internet we do have is on our phones. As of right now we are really not that concerned about our children having a social media accounts. But if and when the time does come, we will have parental blocks and full access to their accounts until the age of 18.
Tell us - what do you think? Vote in our anonymous poll below, and feel free to add comments as well.