Facebook has an age limit of 13 to sign up for an account, but when my daughter came to me pleading and begging to get a Facebook so she could keep in touch with her old friends from her old school when we moved, I stopped and thought,’Why do all her 9 and 10 year old friends have a Facebook?’ At first I frowned upon it, constantly telling her no. She has her own phone but it is just a regular flip phone and she has family and a few friends she can call. So I figured that was all she needed. But then it was “I want an Iphone.”, “I want an Ipad.”, “I want and Ipod.”, “I want a Kindle.” and “I want a laptop.” It got me wondering if it was true that kids her age had all these devices and of course a Facebook. I asked the fans on my page A Small Village their opinions and I got some great responses. 

One mother said that her 8 year old son has had a Facebook for 3 years, mostly for playing games like Farmville, etc. But she also said that he wan’ts a phone and her response was, “Who are you going to call? Me?” Which I thought was hilarious because I said the same thing to my daughter when she was 8 years old too. Yet I looked into it on my phone plan and I was able to get a free phone if I added another line, which I just got her a flip phone. She loved it then, but now it is not “cool” like her friends phones. I usually respond with “At least you have a phone!” whenever she complains about wanting a new one.

Charlotte Munoz says that her daughter has a Facebook, and her daughter happened to be one of the girls my daughter wanted to keep in touch with from her old school. She says that it is strictly monitored and she only has a few friends on her profile like school friends and friends from dance class. Her son also has an Ipod that he can Facetime and text on and that he is happy with that. Quoting Charlotte she says “No matter what… The choice is yours alone! No matter what you decide people are going to judge you. I get told crap all the time over my kid having a phone, Facebook, Instagram whatever.”

Maria Nunez tells us that her kids have Ipads. The can text family and friends on it but they have to ask permission before doing so. Which I think is great because my daughter has a bad habit of getting her phone and calling whoever she wants. I have told her to ask permission yet she gives me the “I forgot!” line. Maria also says “I wouldn’t let her (daughter) have a Facebook even monitoring who her friends are. It gives her access I don’t think she’s old enough to have. Or that I think she doesn’t need. They already spend too much time on their electronics.” I do have to agree that kids do spend a lot of time on electronics. We had a nook at one time but it was destroyed by my then 1 year old. But the whole time we had it, my 4 year old son was constantly on it. He knew how to go to youtube and watch cartoons. I had all my settings protected with passwords so he couldn’t buy anything, well he figured out how to completely reset the Nook, which I don’t even know how to do. When he did that it removed all the passwords and settings and he figured out how to buy and download $350 in games from Barnes and Noble, luckily they understood and refunded me. Sometimes I let him play on my Kindle Fire and he is much better then I am at Angry Birds and Temple Run.

Another fan says that Facebook is hard to monitor because when people are tagged or pictures are shared it leaves your child open to inappropriate postings that certain age groups shouldn’t be exposed to. I also have to agree with this. I see content from people I don’t know in my news feed because a mutual friend is tagged or commented or even just liked the picture. I know some of my own posts are not kid friendly!

A friend of mine that I met through a Mommy Play-date Group on Cafe mom, Tiffani Slingerland Cisneros, says that her daughter has a Facebook but it’s super private with her 3 cousins, grandma and great-grandma and that’s it. She says “I’m not even her friend because I don’t want her reading my posts.” That made me laugh out loud because that is exactly how I feel about my daughter reading mine!

A mother to a 9 year old autistic daughter says that she is not interested in a Facebook page and that they limit her use of electronics. Quoting her she says, “She’s a reader and I’m so grateful for that. She is currently reading the Little House on the Prairie book set.”

One replied saying that they should be in late middle school at least, because of the fact that there are things they just don’t need to see or read on Facebook.

Another Mom from our play-date group, Sharley Todd Newcomer says, “My 10 yr old has been asking for a Facebook, saying all her friends have one but I don’t care she’s not getting one for a long time!” Kay Bellah-Massey replied to Sharley saying, “I am an old crone and I agree with you. “If your friends wanted to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, I guess you would too!” Spoken by MY mama 50 years ago! Nope, not being one of the cattle wandering around stupid!” 

Well I caved and I ended up setting up an account for my daughter a few days before she turned 10 years old. I have it very private and all notifications go to my email so I can approve and deny anything I want before she even sees it. I usually have her do chores for computer time but try not to let her stay on too long and she maybe gets on 3 times a week. She does chat with her old friends from her old school, new friends from her new school and with family who she doesn’t get to see often or that live out of state. 

So how do you feel about children under the age of 13 having a Facebook. It is easy to lie on the set up process about the year you were born. And I have found that it is true that most of the kids her age do have a Facebook and all these electronic devices she wants. We will just have to wait and see what Santa brings her next month!!