Facebook & Children: Are Parents Supervising Enough?

Social networking is part and parcel of our everyday lives, with sites like Facebook growing more prominent, even companies are turning to the sites in order to enhance and promote their businesses. But while a large majority of the population use Facebook to keep in touch and communicate with friends and family, there are growing concerns about the increase of children signing up.

A report by SF Gate commented that 7.5 million Facebook users were breaking the company’s rules by falsely creating accounts whilst under the age of 13. Further more these children were mostly unsupervised by their parents, although Consumer Reports editor Jeff Fox claimed that this problem was just the tip of the iceberg.

As Mr Fox states, “I don’t see how parents anymore in this age can go on being ignorant about this stuff,”he added, “It’s almost irresponsible, as much as ignoring diet or exercise. Parents might be more concerned about them falling off a seesaw or a swing than they are about them getting in trouble on Facebook.”

While there may be some cases of parents setting up the accounts for their children, other occasions see parents left completely in the dark about their child’s activities whilst online. Of course although there have been new technologies introduced to help parents monitor their children, it is still strongly believed that these steps cant replace the adult taking more of an active role, and in some cases learning how social networking works for themselves.

According to a report by Financial Express, with around 5 million of the 7.5 million being under the age of 11, the adverse effects of unsupervised interaction on Facebook has led to virus infections and identity thefts. The added concern comes from the increase of around 1 million younger users suffering online bullying.

Obviously it is difficult for parents to ban the use of Facebook, and as a parent myself trying to explain to your 11 year old that they are not old enough to have a Facebook account when the majority of their class has one is even more awkward. With Facebook reportedly wiping accounts of up to 20,000 underage users daily, officials have highlighted how hard it is to verify the age of the log in user.

So where do you stand on the whole child Facebook situation, do you think that there should be stricter measures to the signing up procedure, or do you think that if supervised correctly your child can use Facebook safely?