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Marija Kovačević

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How young is too young for social networking?

Kids nowdays have facebook accounts as soon as they start reading. I had to make a special group of my fb friends who are under age (mostly family friends' kids), so I can block certain content from them.
But today, a 10 year old girl posted some photos of her friends. The girls wore little clothes, one only a shirt, and the picture was titled: Be stupid!, as the famous jeans company campaign. I found the pictures disturbing... and got me thinking how easy it is for the creeps on the internet!
So, I'm asking you:
Should there be/is there a way to control the kids online, now when there are so many "security" features on facebook? It's easy to hide a picture/a post only from certain people (like your parents)
Is it really important for a 10 yo to have a facebook/myspace/google+ account?

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  • Aug 8 2011: Depends massively on context. Are we talking about an account that a parent has access to, and some level of control over? Something to allow the easy modern equivalent of penpals and to provide accessibility to some age-appropriate games? Or are we talking about a full-blown facebook account set on their own, without a parent having access to their password, or following what's going on on it? Because these are very different questions. I think there is a lot of value in using social networking for something like international pen pals and exposure to different cultures and ideas. I also think using it as a convenient gaming platform is useful. But getting a fully independent social network account at a young age is probably a terrible idea. Even adults are guilty of being narcissistic and engaging in attention seeking behavior by its use. I think in children it would be very commonplace, and dramatically more problematic if it becomes prevalent because it can result in social exclusion in real life if networks are largely school peers and classmates. Very tough questions here, interested to see what people think.

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