Sunday, May 09th

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Underage Social Networking on FB is on the Rise. Find a Better Alternative for Your Child


Should children under the age of 13 be allowed to use Facebook? Facebook’s privacy policy clearly says no. But despite the rules, underage social networking on Facebook is on the rise.

The Daily Telegraph reported that Facebook removes the profiles of 20,000 underage users per day. While this number may seem significant, it is miniscule fraction in comparison to the 3.6 million underage users in the United States who access the popular network monthly without parental consent. Experts fear that permitting children access to vast social networks such as Facebook may put them at a higher risk of being exposed to cyber-bullying, predators, and salacious content.

Although most industry observers are of the camp that children under the age of 13 should not be allowed to use sites like Facebook with or without supervision, some parents believe that allowing their kids to use the network (under their supervision, of course) helps to minimize the possibility of their children signing up without them knowing. Some experts also suggest that more children are carrying mobile devices with unlimited Internet access, which facilities their ability to use social networks like Facebook with or without the consent of their parents.

Whether or not there are policies in place that dictate the way in which internet communities can engage children under the age of 13, the fact is social networking is a popular activity for children. In 2009, 46% of 12 year-olds in the United States were actively using social networks, according to Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. While underage social networking on sites like Facebook may immediately present risks, it’s undeniable that social networking, in general, as an actvity for children could have its academic and social benefits. So, if your tween has been begging for the opportunity to join a social network or if you know of any children who seem particularly curious about social networking, here are a few communities specifically designed for the 13-and-under demographic.




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