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  • Writer's pictureJunior Oliveira

SOCIAL MEDIA What is the right age to allow access???

Updated: Apr 26, 2019

There is nothing like a controversial topic to get the blood flowing through your veins, mainly when this topic includes Children Internet Safety, for this reason, I have decided to investigate it.

Parents can sometimes feel the pressure of pester power to allow their children on social media, even If they don't feel comfortable doing so. While these services are a fun way to stay connected with others, there can be downsides like cyberbullying, risks to privacy and contact from strangers. Technically, we shouldn’t even be having this discussion. According to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, it’s illegal for commercial websites and apps to allow children under age 13 to open an online account without verifiable parental consent. “The law was created to keep companies from collecting data about kids and marketing to them,” says Stephen Balkam, the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Family Online Safety Institute. Still, most children are savvy enough to get around this rule by using a parent’s e-mail and a fake birth date, often with permission.

Besides the legal issues, however, there are the concerns about maturity. “At ages 7 to 11, children are still thinking very concretely, and they haven’t yet developed the ability to consider hypothetical situations,” explains Lisa Strohman, Ph.D., founder and director of the Technology Wellness Center and coauthor of Unplug: Raising Kids in a Technology Addicted World. “So an 8-year-old girl posting a video about how to do her hair is just thinking, ‘My friends will see this and it will be great!’ She can’t take that next step and think about who else might watch that video and write mean comments or even repost it and use it to sell hair products.”

Still, it’s hard to generalize about the best age to start. “Some kids may be ready to handle social media under the legal age of 13, but most probably can’t,” adds Parents advisor Michael Rich, M.D., director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital. “You are the best judge of your child. Ask: Can she use it in ways that are healthy and respectful of others?”

The Office of the eSafety Commissioner leads online safety education for the Australian Government suggested suggests, if you allow your child to sign up to a social media service, consider these handy tips:


Get In the know - research the terms of use and age requirements on social media services and explain them to your child.

Keep it private - show your child how to use the privacy setting and control what others can see.

Join in - create an account yourself and find out what your child is likely to encounter.

Play nice - encourage your child to respect others online and to always think before posting.

Report - show your child how to report inappropriate content, especially cyberbullying.

Beware of bad eggs - teach your child that not everyone they meet online can be trusted,

even if they seem nice or friendly.

Talk Learn more - maintain open keep up to date with communication with child so they feel safe talking to you about any concerns

Keep up to date to popular social media.


All credits to the original source of this article:

Should Your Child Have a Social Media Account? By Marisa Cohen

Online poster: Should my child be on social media? (The Office of the eSafety Commissioner leads online safety education for the Australian Government)

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