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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 12 2011: When I was little, (which was before the age of social networking) kids got into things that were "too mature" for them. Someone would bring a stolen porn magazine and the whole group would look at it. Or someone would steal cigarettes and some would smoke them. Or someone would convince someone to show them their bits and pieces.

    And so on. The big difference is that once its on the internet, the childish game of "look at this" is there forever for them to be judged by, and of course that adults with bad intentions can also have access to the pictures while there were rarely adults in the bushes with the kids playing "doctor."

    I dont think that there is any real way to control kids being kids on the internet, or in the world, aside from your physical presence with them while they are on the internet and in the physical world. I think the bottom line is, that if you really want your children to be safe from harm you have to physically watch them while they are doing what they do. Its difficult when parents have to work, or want to do "their own thing" rather than physically engage with the child in the virtual or physical world, but honestly, thats your best bet for keeping them safe.

    You can let your child have a facebook page, but not let them have unlimited access to it. (ie, make it something you supervise them doing for a half hour or one hour a day, and which you make inoperable for them when you are not around, perhaps by taking the router or lap top with you when you are away.)

    You cant really parent well in absentia, is the bottom line. Its just an inconvenient truth.
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      Aug 13 2011: Oh, yes, I remember one older girl drawing suggestive caricatures and showing them to younger kids. We would giggle and try to redraw some of the stuff, but the thing is, it stayed on that paper, and never went to digital world to be kept forever.

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