An estimated 7.5 million children under the age of 13 are already using social networks. They are lying about their age and sometimes doing so with their parents’ encouragement. Often, children who have parents serving overseas in the military or grandparents in faraway states see social media as a chance to share photographs and life experiences.
Kids’ first interactions with the Internet and social media should not include deception. Facebook already provides increased privacy protections for children between the ages of 13 and 17, but in their haste to use the service, many teens lie about their age, missing out on existing safeguards. We don’t want to teach children to lie to their parents or to the services that they are using, but we also don’t want them to lose out on the chance to connect with others and to learn.
Instead, we should empower parents and children to engage together, to keep them safe and to help them successfully navigate the online world.