Where’s The Dislike Button? Why I Don’t Support Children Using Facebook

November 15, 2012  |  

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Earlier this week, my 11-year-old nephew called me and asked if I would sign him up for a Facebook account. I didn’t know what to say.

When I was 11, I wanted a Babysitter’s Club doll and a new sleeping bag for my sleepovers. Kids today want iPads, Androids and Facebook accounts.

Immediately, I told him he was too young and that Facebook only allows kids who are 13 and older to sign up. He countered, as I knew he would, that all the other kids in his sixth-grade class have Facebook profiles. I knew this wasn’t too big of an exaggeration considering a recent Consumer Reports survey found that as many as 7.5 million Facebook users are under 13, and two-thirds of those kids are under 10.

Stalling, I asked him what his mom said about it. Apparently, she told him she would sign him up, but she hasn’t gotten around to it yet. He was at my mom’s house when he called me, so I told him to ask her to do it. “She doesn’t know how.” He whined. I asked him to put his grandmother on the phone. My mom said she’s the one who told him to call me because she knows I can do it for him. “I can,” I told her, “but I won’t.” Evidently, my sister and my mom don’t see any problem with a preteen clicking around on Facebook and neither can understand why I don’t want him to be on the social media site.

In that instance, I felt like my dad. When I was in college, my dad would constantly call to check on me and remind me to be careful. In response, I told him to turn off Fox News Channel. This was The Natalie Holloway era and watching the news all the time led him to believe that college girls were getting kidnapped every single day.

He seemed so paranoid to me back then, but it makes me wonder if I’m being paranoid now. My refusal to sign my nephew up for Facebook comes from the countless stories that I’ve read about children being the target of sexual predators and cyber bullying online. A quick glance at the stories curated on CreepSquash.com is a sobering reminder of the sick people in this world. The internet can be a dangerous place for children. Allowing a child to roam the web is like allowing him to roam an unpoliced world unattended free to talk to whomever he comes across.

Children – and even some adults – don’t know a thing about privacy and will post everything on these social media sites. Photos, personal details, phone numbers, school, church, and hangouts all without using any privacy settings. This means that anyone trolling the net to find them can quickly and easily learn everything about them. My nephew could think he’s talking to a 12-year-old girl who lives around the corner when he’s actually talking to a 26-year-old pedophile.  In addition, photos of scantily clad Facebook “models” are all over the site. What if one of those Superhead lookalikes ends up on his “suggested friends” list because they’re friends with one of his older male cousins?  If he were to accept that friend request, who knows what he would see from there.

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  • KayBee

    While predators are an important enough reason for a child to not use Facebook, for me the main reason they shouldn’t use it is that they post the STUPIDEST ish! My daughters FB friends have friended me and they post stuff like, “im board” (which is supposed to mean ‘I’m bored.’) Or “I’m soooooo board. where is everybody? im watching a movie with my sister. why do we have homework?” Sigh…because you can’t spell “bored”, Boo. Foolishness.

  • Trisha_B

    I don’t get the point of facebook for anyone under 18. Facebook is a way to stay connected w/ friends/family. If your still in elementary middle, high school you see your friends 5 days a week for about 6 hours a day.You still at home w/ your family. & you know on weekends your hanging out w/ friends at the park, mall, etc. What more do you need to connect about? I have seen people in the same room talk to each other on facebook -____- then you got them kids who like to start problems on facebook. I’ve seen my little cousins tagged pictures where some kids do side by side pics of them w/ another person comparing looks, saying “who looks better?” I was like wtf?! lol I didn’t get a facebook until i left for college b/c i wanted to stay in contact w/ all my friends from high school & re-connected w/ friends from elementary school. & now the kids getting on instagram smh

  • SheBe

    They should’ve left it as a tool for college kids to connect. I was okay with it then.

  • ChannonA.

    I’m 17 and have never used facebook. not that I’m not allowed to but because my friends around my age use it for stupidity and a lot of people on fb are stupid(no offense). I just hate social networking for to many reasons to name

  • kierah

    The combination of lack of internet security savvy and the targeted ads on Facebook, I am definitely against Facebook for minors.