My 11 year old has been begging me for a Facebook account since the school year began. “Email is so old school. All of my friends are on Facebook” she says. She’s probably right. A new survey, by Consumer Reports, finds more than seven million kids under 13 have Facebook accounts, despite the website’s rules prohibiting children that young from joining. The survey also found that those kids’ Facebook accounts were largely unsupervised by their parents, exposing the children to serious threats like predators or bullies..
Thanks to technology parents have a whole new set of opportunities and challenges. The cell phones and computers that allow us to keep track of our kids also allow our kids greater access to information that they may not be ready for. It’s important to set limits on when and how long they can be “plugged in.” Also, you may want to consider a phone without internet access if they’re young. Try out a limited texting plan that will teach them to budget. Also, don’t allow your child to keep the cell phone or laptop in their room overnight. That will cut down on late night texting and surfing. Instead, set up a place to dock them in a central location in the house. And if you’re feeling the pressure to give in to their pleas for a Facebook account, do what I did, blame it on the company! “You wouldn’t want mommy to get in trouble for breaking the rules would you?”
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