Social Networking sites for middle schoolers - FamilyEducation
Social Networking sites for middle schoolers
09/15/2007 at 08:47 AM

We have a 12 yr old in a private school 7th grade.

He has now started learning about MySpace, Facebook and other social networking sites from class mates who are already active members on such sites.

He has accepted our reasoning that he is still legally below the age requirement eligibililty of such sites and there is no way we would allow it.

But he does feel the pressure of not being 'like the rest' by not being able to 'do' MySpace' etc.

I just wanted to know opinions of other parents on this issue, how they would handle it, how they have handled it etc..

Hey concerned,

 

Welcome to the boards.  I handled it just like you have, I didn't allow my daughter to have a myspace or facebook account until she was of the age that was allowed.  Even then I made sure that she made her profile private and I check both her sites regularly.

 

I don't think you can be too careful when dealing with your kids and the internet.  Kids just don't think about the dangers so we as parents have to be extra aware.

 

What does everyone else think?

 

Marti

 

http://www.familyeducation.com/home/

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Marti,

Thank you for the reassuring agreement with the way I am dealing with this. It does become very hard to deal with arguments when the 'big man' comes home having told about all the 'cool' things his friends get up to on MySpace and Facebook.

Interesting thing is that teens/preteens tend to gravitate more to MySpace than Facebook. I have created and logged onto both social networking sites (just so I am educated to the things that go on) and I get the impression that both are the 'good guy' and 'bad guy'  of the social networking sites. MySpace=BadGuy, FaceBook=GoodGuy.

Would be good to read how other parents have dealt with this phase of their teen/preteens.

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I bet you are already doing this, but I thought I'd just say, keep him busy with other interesting things, so that the things you won't let him do are not the most important things. 

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I'd say it would be fine for a kid to have a MySpace or Facebook if they knew how to take care of themselves should it ever get hairy. Think about enrolling your kids in martial arts so they can defend themselves if the need arises. Laws like COPPA do too much to restrict kids from viewing material that is perfectly acceptable (fantasy sports, toy sites, message boards for kids' shows), while protection from online predators could easily be obtained by giving them the ability to defend themselves. Instead of an age restriction, I'd be more apt to say no MySpace until they get their blue belt.

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After reading a lot of your comments on this message board Mr Blond, I was just wondering if you had children and how old they were?

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Good question Junie, I was also thinking that myself.

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No, I don't have kids yet. I am a young(er) adult, who is often flabbergasted that activities generally seen as fun and innocuous when I was growing up are now off-limits through the efforts of both government (upon discovering you two are Scottish, I now realize you may not know what COPPA is) and parental activist groups who are concerned that every little thing may harm kids in some way.

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