Offbeat Families runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter.

Should I let my 11-year-old have a Facebook page?

By on Apr 25th

Photo by GOIABA, used under Creative Commons license.

Facebook restricts the age of users to avoid federal regulations that apply to sites that allow kids age 13 and younger, but we all know that kids much younger than the required age are using the social networking website. I'm a rule follower, and have always told my daughter that she needs to wait until she's 13 to use Facebook. In the interim, she has used "Togetherville" (a social networking platform that was designed for kids and families) but Togetherville has closed down and she lost the connections that she had with her friends in other states who were also using that platform.

I've thought of letting her get a page but not allowing her to post pictures of herself and using the privacy setting that requires the user's approval of photo tags before it can appear on their profile (I use that feature myself and have been really glad I did). That she would give us her password and "friend" me and her dad goes without saying. But I'm not sure that even with plenty of privacy, communication and restrictions I would feel comfortable with it.

Have you let your "underage" child get a Facebook page? If so — how have you helped them to control their privacy? If you decided not to let them cheat…what helped you make that decision and stick to your guns despite your kid's pleading and/or the pressure their peers applied to them? Are there different platforms I should be looking into? — Sarah



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