Here is another reason why I STRONGLY oppose lying to let a child onto Facebook. The NY Times reports that a child’s lie to get on Facebook can have serious repercussions. From the article:
“In other words, children who deceive [Facebook] can endanger the privacy of those who don’t…
For children ages 13 to 18, only their Facebook friends can see their posts, including photos… A child could be found, for instance, if she was 10 years old and said she was 13 to sign up for Facebook. Five years later, that same child would show up as 18 years old – an adult, in the eyes of Facebook — when in fact she was only 15. At that point, a stranger could also see a list of her friends.”
And as we all know, it’s not just the kids who are lying. I’ve never been able to understand how parents and guardians can willfully enable their children to lie. What kind of an example are they teaching/being when they say “Yes, it’s Ok to lie.”?
I have two adolescent daughters. My older one did not join Facebook until she was well into her 14th year of age. Not because I didn’t want her to. Rather because we both decided that at 13, she wasn’t ready. To have healthy online relationships one must have a healthy offline sense of self. Most people don’t have this as adults never mind as teens or pre-teens. Adolescence is when your sense of self is being developed and that’s hard enough to do without adding an online component to it.
What has happened to waiting until a child is ready? To setting limits? Why do we need Facebook or the government to tell us when our children are ready; to tell us “This is how you should raise your child.” Instead, younger and younger children are thrust into worlds that they have no idea how to navigate or fully understand the implications of their actions. And really, what are our kids missing by not being on Facebook? Farmville? Pokes? Being tagged in sneaker spam?
So if your conscience has no problem with lying, just consider what danger you may be exposing your child and your child’s friends to. There is no way you can make being online 100% safe. Is your child ready for that?