18 answers

At What Age Do You Allow Your Kids to Have myspace/Facebook Accounts?

Hello Moms...at what age do you think it's ok for kids to have myspace and Facebook accounts? I have allowed my 12 year old niece to have both and told her that I would delete the profiles if she abuses them. Well, I thought that would be enough to keep her doing the right thing, but I was very wrong. She swears, posts pictures that I feel are inappropriate, lies about her age, talks to boys, etc. etc. When I talk to her friend's parents they all pretty much say the same thing - that that's how the kids are today and I should just relax about it....that all the kids that age have accounts. Am I wrong for being concerned about this? With all of the crazy stories that you hear about kids being abducted from internet predators I think I'm right in being concerned...but at the same time I don't want to push her away by being too strict.

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If you told her you would delete the profiles if she abused them... how come you haven't done this?
If her behavior is not acceptable to you, even if other kids act this way, why are you allowing it?
Pull the plug and hold her accountable for her behavior.
-S.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.,
As long as you can sign in as her & see all her messages. I would keep an eye on it, but still tell her when you see something that is inapropiate.

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If you told her you would delete the profiles if she abused them... how come you haven't done this?
If her behavior is not acceptable to you, even if other kids act this way, why are you allowing it?
Pull the plug and hold her accountable for her behavior.
-S.

1 mom found this helpful

I absolutly agree with you and if the privladge is abused then you should take it away from her she is only 12 and you are the adult. I think that so many parents these days let there teenagers just walk all over them. Parenting is just not the same anymore. Don't listen to those other parents and go with your insticts she will appreciate it later.

I think every child and every situation is different. So, I am not sure there is an easy answer to your question. There are many adults that, while old enough, probably should not have accounts. I think the important thing is that she violated the rules. And, no matter what the actual activity, there should be a consequence. Whatever you decide, you really need to tell her that you love her and that you are also concerned for her safety. On a personal note, I also had my niece living with me and doing the facebook/myspace thing. There were several discussions/possibly a grounding over it. I was one of her friends so that I could monitor what she was doing. When things became inappropriate I would threaten to write or post embarrassing things. It often lightened up a difficult situation. In the end, it is just plain hard to parent a child that has been through a lot and still has another set of "parents" out there. This year she started college, but her last year with us was really difficult. In hindsight, I wish that I had put down tougher laws in the beginning with her. Of course, it is easier said than done. Good luck.

My 11 year old niece has a facebook page. My sister only allowed it if she friended both mom and dad, she also has two aunts, an uncle and grandmother as friends. My sister insists that anyone she friends has to also accept friendship from her. This way my sister can watch not only what her daughter is doing/saying but what her friends are also doing/saying. She wanted a facebook page so she could play farmville and the other games and communicate with some of her out of town friends. So far it is all going well. I like the fact that I can click on her page and see what she has been up too. Since I live far away it is nice to be so connected to her. I think the site is great if used correctly and as long as we are all watching her and her friends it should be fine. I think that as long as you set ground rules and enforce them you can make it work.

As for your niece I think that you should set up some rules and the punishments for breaking them. Posting an inappropriate picture, no computer for a week. Swearing no computer for a day, etc. Also sit down with her and explain to her the dangers of the internet and make sure that she doesn't put an address or phone numbers on her account. She will probably not want to hear it and may just say what you want to hear not what she will do but as the adult and her guardian you have enforce the rules. I agree also that the computer should be in a open place in the house. Ours is in the living room and can be viewed from anywhere in the living room and the kitchen.

I do think that you need to make sure that you can access her pages and make sure you know her passwords. Good Luck.

Hi C.!
As far as I know, Myspace only allows for age 14 and up, so if you're allowing her now then she HAS to lie about her age. My honest opinion is that no child under at least 15 should have an account on any social networking site. My niece is 10 and my sister set up a myspace page for her. She in turn gave her login info to a friend so that friend could "pimp out" her page. Well this friend and my niece had some kind of argument and this 'friend', who is also 3 years older, put some very nasty things about my niece on that page.
I also have a niece on my husbands side who is now 14 and has had a myspace since she was 11. She's a great kid and student, very into sports and her schoolwork. She has a boyfriend, and so far hasn't put anything nasty on her page, although she does swear on there.
Ultimately, its whatever you feel comfortable with. My oldest is almost 8, and I don't even allow her to use the computer yet unless myself or my husband is literally right over her shoulder. My mom was very strict and when we first had a computer I wasn't allowed to go online. Although I hated her for it then, now that I have kids of my own I understand where she was coming from.
Its not such a bad thing to be protective and not want things to happen to our children. These days, you just never know.
Good luck sweetheart, and stay strong because those teenage years are coming fast!!!

If she is being inappropriate on it then she needs it pulled. She is not ready fro it! Does she have friends on it that are older men?? You should not be able to talk with people unless you add them as a friend! Pictures??? Definetely pull it until she can behave on it! Oh well if she gets mad, it is your job to protect her, not be her friend! Maybe show her proof(examples of other kids) so she understands why you are doing it!

M. - SAHm and WAHM of three!

You're absolutly right about lying and whatnot online. She has abused your rules about appropriateness. I'm shocked that other mothers told you it's normal and to let it go!( if all the kids were having sex and doing drugs, should you just relax about it because it's what all the kids that age are doing?? no.) Who are these parents!???
In my opinion, she's not old enough to be online if she feels the need to lie about her age. Just who is she talking to that wouldn't know her or her real age?? That is a red flag to me. Computers are a privalige not a right or necessity at her age. Protect her.

You are absolutely right to be concerned. I teach 6th grade and kids this age have no idea what is safe and what is not. We just had a huge internet safety presentation at school by the sheriff's department and the kids were shocked -- but then went home and continued to do the same things. The presentation told us about kids who had been murdered, who had committed suicide from being teased on myspace, etc. One kid who was an excellent student had a college scholarship revoked because they looked up her myspace account and didn't like the image she portrayed on there. It was eyeopening.

She is definitely too young in my opinion. If you allow it though the computer should be in the same room you are in and should only be used when you are present -- password protect it. Monitor email as well as the account. Do not allow swearing and do not allow pictures. Make sure you are on her friend list and that you know the people on hers -- kids think nothing of befriending strangers online. giving out phone numbers, addresses, meeting up are big no-nos. Even bigger than the fear of meeting strangers in my opinion is what "friends" are saying to each other. We have had to get police involved at my school when things on these sites take on a life of their own and kids are essentially being harrassed and bullied. Kids feel safe saying things online they would never dream of saying in person.

Good luck. You are obviously very caring and concerned so trust your gut. Kids grow up too soon and it is our job to protect them as long as possible. Never doubt your instincts! They are telling you something is wrong here or you wouldn't have asked the question. trust that instead of other parents -- way too many are too lenient.

E.

Hi C.,
As long as you can sign in as her & see all her messages. I would keep an eye on it, but still tell her when you see something that is inapropiate.

I agree with all the mamas here. Definately revoke the priviledge like you said you would if she broke the rules. If/when you do let her back on, definately know all the passwords. One thing to think about though, is she can create multiple accounts by using different names (but still identifiable to her friends, middle names and such) that it's possible you will have no idea about. My advice is to have one acct that you have control over, and always be close by to "check" while she is online. 12 is way too young to be unsupervised on the computer anyway. Do you have a myspace and/or facebook? You could try searching name/info combinations to make sure she has only one profile. I admit, she probably doesn't know she can do this, but we all know scorned preteens will find every loophole!! Good Luck girl, follow your gut! Your doing a great job!

That all depends on what she is doing on there. If she is doing something you don't like then stop it and don't let her. Always keep an eye on her. Move the computer where you can just walk by and see what is going on. Make sure you know all the passwords so you can check it here and there. Its not invating its just making sure she stays safe. My mom did this with me and I thank you so much for it. She will hate it but you will be very happy you do that. No it is not wrong for being concerned about her saftey. Don't ever feel like you are doing the wrong thing when it comes to safty. But if she is doing all that I would stop it now. Put a password on the computer or change her passwords so she can not get on without you knowing and let her know you will be checking it. It is very dangerious for her to being lying about her age and the pictures is a big no no. Keep an eye on that.

C., your story is very similar to mine. 2 years ago i had my 15 year old niece living with me. FB wasn't around, but she had a myspace. actually i later found that she had multiple under different names. anyway, one night a boy called the house. i handed the phone to her. happy that she made friends at school since she had changed towns and everything else. after she hung up, i come to find out she met him on myspace and gave him my phone number to call her. it was a scary eye opener for me! at 27 i had to sit and talk with my niece about how dangerous the internet was and how my number was connected to my address and everything else. at 15 she didn't see the potential danger.

going to from toddler mode to 15 year old mode was not easy. i did the best i could. but i treated her how i would treat my children. you are responsible for her actions and life. however she came to be with you, you are responsible. you can't worry about being strict, it's about safety and really teaching her how other people percieve her. being not far from her age, at first i tried to be more her friend so her transition would be easy living with us, but in alot of ways it backfired. treat her as you would your child. your friend is right, lots of kids have them now...but if she is not using it right, then she hasn't earned the priveledge. she is also setting an example for other children in the house. my two year old imitated my niece saying hell. i really got thrown into full fledged parenting way before i was ready. i give you credit for taking care of her...it's not easy. good luck in whatever you decide.

Hi! All this available technology is creating the need for a whole new set of rules, isn't it? My thoughts are that it has less to do with age and more to do with responsibility and trust. There are 18 year olds who shouldn't have FB or MS pages. That said, I think your niece is not displaying responsibility and trust necessary to have her own Facebook or My Space Page. The behavior you describe makes her very vulnerable online and that is very dangerous.
And no, "all the kids" aren't acting that way these days; only the ones who will end up getting hurt.
You are not pushing her away by keeping her safe. I would shut down the FB/MS pages for a certain amount of time as punishment and only let it resume if she can demonstrate responsibility with them. And you should monitor what goes on. Good luck!

I have not let my 14 year old son have one. He is bugging me, but I have stood my ground.

Hi C., here is my thought....you told her she could have these pages IF she followed the rules. She DIDN'T now you need to follow through with the consecensis (sp). If you don't she will never follow the rules. Would you rather she be mad at you but alive and well or your friend and have something bad happen to her???

Hi C.,

I have a 12 year old daughter and have run into the same thing. I WILL NOT allow her to have an account. First of all, users must be at least 13, so right there they have to lie about their age. I think a better lesson would be a talk about the dangers of the internet first. Let her have a monitored email account (if she doesn't already) that you have access to. My daughter opened 3 Facebook accounts behind my back, and while none of them had any inappropriate content from her, I found some from kids in her school that posted some bad things on her wall. So it isn't only your niece that you have to watch out for, it's other kids that may not even have adult supervision. All of my daughter's friends have their age as 18 on Facebook and they are all 12.

And trust me, I know this is how kids are these days but that doesn't mean you have to relax about it. It's our job as parents to make sure the texting and email don't get out of hand either. The texting is the worst. I have parental limits on my daughter's phone and if any of her friends want to get in touch with her after 6pm at night, they must call the house where an adult's presence is felt. It's not being strict, it's just being a good parent and understanding what is going on in the life of a tween! They will find more and more ways to connect with their friends that you have no idea about so it's up to you to be on top of that. Good luck!

I have a 12 year old daughter who likes I am the meanest mom in the world because I won't allow her to have a myspace or facebook account. I monitor ALL her computer usage at home. She has an email account that I check on a regular basis. In my opinion, you can't be to strict. Every daughter hates their mom when they've hit the tween/teen years. You can't worry about it. Eventually, she will thank you.

No way do you let your kids have facebook or myspace accounts at any age! They are recipe for a big disaster!
My mom let my (much younger) sister have myspace at 14 (after I told her it was really a bad idea) and I found some of the horrid things she was saying and looking at but by then it was too late. And yes there are predators that can easily prey on young kids.
MY kids will not be allowed on those sites until they are ADULTS! Period. BTW I don't like that my husband has myspace (he is a honest and trustworthy guy) but too many temptations online like that.
As for those parents saying thats the way kids are...... well look at what the world is coming too. I'm sorry but I want my kids to be better then that! I am a strict parent by my kids friends standards and I am OK with that... infact I am proud of that because I have good kids and we have a great relationship!
Also you have to follow through with whatever you say you will do. If you say you will delete them... do it and block her access to the website so she can't establish a new profile. My husband learned the hard way to never say a "what if" punishment that you don't intend on keeping. My son was having friends over friday after school to spend the weekend and my husband said if he failed his test that we would make his friends go home... hoping he would study harder. Oops. Well after my husband did not make the friends go home it took a long time before my son realized that dad does mean what he says. Never again will my hubby do that!

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