How parental control software can help? My recent post was on Internet and Facebook addiction, as specifically relates to teens, tweens, and pre-teens. In the article, I cited a recent study showing that there are actually millions of users under the age of 13, which is the cutoff to join the site. Well, in a move that can either be looked at as “if we can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” or an effort to help create a safer environment for those 13 and under, Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg has decided to allow kids 10-13 to have profiles on the site. These youth profiles will come with more restrictions and precautions, the Facebook brass promises. Zuckerberg and co. rationalize the move as wanting pre-teens to be able to use the site as a “study tool”. Color me dubious.
Ultimately, kids who are on the site either have their parent’s consent already, or are savvy enough to do it under the radar. And really, all’s it takes is a fake birthday, and voilà , Facebook profile. So, while some are viewing this as a good thing by Facebook, I don’t know that it will have much of an impact on the online safety of the kids. They’ll still find a way to work around the restrictions, which is more of a reason for parents to continue to stay on top of their kids’ online activity.
I also want to look at the aspect of social networking in general for kids, and the plusses and minuses. Well, I’m not really sure there are any plusses. I suppose one could argue that it could be used as a study tool by allowing student’s to easily chat with each other, create groups to share information, and just communicate in general with their fellow students. There is certainly some validity to that, however, I personally don’t believe that Facebook, or any other social networking site for that matter, are the right tools for that. They come with too many other pitfalls, distractions and all around bad stuff. And as an adult who uses these sites, I know what a time waster than can be!
There’s also the danger of “Facebook Depression,” recently commented on in this terrific article, Five Ways Parents Can Fight Facebook Depression. One thing the author recommends is banning social media altogether, which can certainly be difficult, but not a bad idea. This is one place where littleye parental control software can be a great benefit, because you can create your own safe filter as well as block specific sites. With younger kids, this is probably an easier thing to accomplish, but with older pre-teens, you may get some conflict. That’s another reason I enjoyed the article noted above, the author emphasized communication above everything, and after all, that’s what it’s all about. Try our parental control software and let us know what you think!