Friday, October 17, 2008

Age Restrictions for Social Media

By Sandy Blanquera

Social media is growing at such an incredible pace that it’s hard to keep up with the many sites that exist. With a little information, you can make informed decisions about which sites are worthwhile. If you have children, you may be interested to know that many sites are governed by age restrictions. Friendster requires participants to be 16 years of age, while Myspace requires members to be 14 years old. Members should be 13 years and in high school for Facebook. There are many sites that are available to children 13 years and older such as xanga, Hi5, There, Second Life, Chamber of Chat, Tickle, Bebo, and many more. Some sites have no age limit like Active worlds, Boom Bang, Club Penguin, Webkinz and Neo Pets.

Although having an age limit doesn’t imply the safety or risks of the site. As a parent, it is important to check each site out thoroughly before you allow your child to participate.

Email Sandy@ sandyblanquera@hotmail.com or visit her blog My Fabulous Home.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Dan Harris said...

Great point. Our kids are on Club Penguin and enjoy connecting with their friends. As parents of these social media savvy kids we have talked to them about safety, connect with only those you know, and both my wife and I have been watching over their shoulder as they surf, connect and communicate with friends. We have a desktop located in the center of the home in between the kitchen and the family room and we will not allow the kids to use the computer anywhere else in the house. We are constantly asking, "who is that?" "How do you know that person?" Once we know, we usually end up meeting this person at a school event, or after school activity.

With the prevalence of social media tools I wouldn't be surprised if schools started offering classes or at least lessons in safety and responsible use.

Another thing we've decided to do is use a family e-mail for all e-mail exchanges. I think it is all about transparency for kids younger than 16. As the child matures and exhibits responsibility they earn the right to have an e-mail account.

I do not have children that are 16 yet, but when I do I will more than likely let them know, that we will be monitoring communications for their safety. I've downloaded and tested Spector Pro from SpectorSoft (www.spectorsoft.com), and, when the time comes I'll be using this as a way to keep tabs and keep my children safe.

Thanks for starting the conversation.

October 18, 2008 at 12:44 PM  

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