Let's face it-- social media networking sites play a huge role in how we communicate today. Our kids are so tech-savvy that it only makes sense that they want in on the internet action too. In fact, 60% of kids aged 13 to 17 have at least one profile on-line and spend about two hours a day on social media, while 59% of kids are social networking by age 10.
The minimum age required by many sites is 13 but there are no procedures in place to verify age and there's growing concern that more and more children, some as young as 5, are creating accounts-- and while there are specific sites designed for younger children the concern is that young kids are getting on sites meant for adults. Why worry? Well because as much as social media can foster your children's self-expression through sharing photos, art, and opinions and keep them connected to friends-- there are also many dangers involved with communicating on-line. Cyber bullying is a major concern-- but your kids can also make themselves vulnerable to adult predators, spend too much time away from physical activity and shy away from developing in-person, personal relationships.
So what's the bottom line? Rules! You know your children so you should determine the age they are allowed to join a social media network-- and just like you teach your children not to talk to or open the door for strangers and give them curfews and watch who their friends are-- you should also monitor their on-line interactions and limit computer time.
For helpful tips on teaching your kids safe, on-line etiquette check out these sites: