My oldest son is almost 10.5 years old. He hasn’t yet asked about social media although he has asked when he can have a cell phone. I tell him that can happen in junior high. As far as my children having their own social media account? I want to wait on that. Facebook wants your kid to be thirteen but I know some parents make accounts for their kids at a younger age.
The big question is when should you let your child, pre-teen or teenager create a social media account on Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram?
When I think about my child on social media, I think about what they would use it for. For friends, to connect with us and other family members, to be apart of that world. I am not sure I am ready for that kind of connectivity at the ages my kids are. My kids know about the Internet. They use it at home and at school. They know how to look up information about their favorite video games.
They are not really aware of social media even though they do know that there is a place to share photos with Grandma.
I know for myself I would like to use the guidelines Facebook puts out. No Facebook account until you are 13 years old. But with that will come a lot of moderation and rules. I don’t want them just talking to random people. I would want their friends list to be very small and I would need to have access to it. I wouldn’t want to be a spy but I also want to make sure that my children know I can read it at anytime.
I have some friends with teenagers and it seems to be that Instagram is the place to be these days. Facebook is for “old people.” I am not sure what will be popular when my oldest turns 13 but something about a photo-sharing site being where the kids are seems a little scary to me. It isn’t that I would worry about what they were sharing with their friends, I would worry about the outside world following and tracking them.
As a military family they will always have to be concerned about talking about their father’s job, where is he, if he is home or at training or if he is deployed. They would have to be old enough to know what they are allowed to share and what they are not. At 10 years old, I don’t think my son is ready for that yet. It is possible that some 10 year olds are but I would still caution parents on giving a child that age their own social media account.
When I was 16 my Dad got us the Internet for the first time and I found myself talking to strangers on there. The internet was very new and I don’t think my parents realized the danger in that. I think it is important that when you do allow your child their own social media accounts that they come with the understanding that they will follow a set of rules. Without that they could be put in danger. Even more so if they have a family member in the military.
So when should your child have their own social media account? When you as the parent feel they are ready, when your child truly understands what social media is and when they can agree to your rules about using it. I say 13 or junior high is a good age to start.