We live in a new age. Times have changed and as a result so have the threats facing our children. The vast majority of US citizens now have a Facebook account, and that includes kids. With so many younger people on social networking sites a great deal of peer pressure is placed not on kids, but parents when their kids come home wanting an account because all the other kids have one. It can be a hard decision to make when it comes to your child’s safety or becoming ostracized. The question then becomes how young is too young for a Facebook account, and how do you keep your child safe once they are connected?

How young is too young?

Facebook and Myspace the two largest social networking sites at this time both require users to be 13 years-old; though if you have an account on either you can see this age requirement is not enforced and, worse, couldn’t be enforced effectively. As a parent you can agree and call under 13 too young, but you’ll likely find your child wants a Facebook before that because the other kids do. It really comes down to your own personal feelings and the maturity level of your child. You are the best judge of “too young” in regards to your own kid. Sometimes being a parent requires you be the bad guy, your kids can always use the fact that there parents are a pain in the butt to relate to their peers rather than a social networking account.

Facebook safety for kids:

If you do come to the conclusion your child is old enough and should have a Facebook account there are some steps you can take to make things safer.

-Set privacy settings to friends only, and check every now and then to ensure they are still that way. This is especially important for wall posts, as recent changes to Facebook allow you to make certain posts public even if your settings are friends only.

-Monitor friend requests. Keep in mind that if you just hit “not now” on a request that person can still see what’s being posted. Always delete unknown friend requests and keep a close eye on those added to your child’s list. He or she should know the person personally.

-Keep an eye on tags. Anyone on your child’s list can tag them in photo, and if that person marks the photo public, everyone can see it and it will link back to your child’s profile. You can remove tags if you are logged into your child’s account.

-Nev er let your child enter personal information such as addresses. Even if your child’s account is friends only, nothing on the internet is completely secure. Never put personal information you wouldn’t want public on any social networking site.

-Consider monitoring messages and chat. While you may want to cease such action once your child becomes a teen for the sake of privacy and trust, in younger kids you may opt to read chat and message history. You can message people that you are not friends with on Facebook.

Finally, make sure your child understands the dangers of online predators as well as online crime such as identify theft. In reality you can’t protect your child 100% anywhere, let alone on the internet, teaching them to stay safe on their own is the best plan of action.

In conclusion, your children’s safety and well being is entirely in their hands but do keep regular tabs on them without interfering too much in their activities so that they don’t rely too much on not only facebook but also instagram as it is has surpassed the popularity of facebook in a short time. There are many things to learn for instagram followers from us today.