30 December 2011

Asa is not happy that he has no Facebook page.

Though he still looks mad here,
he has accepted my explanation.
 Asa is 12. Facebook's policy is that kids have to be 13 before they can have an account.

Some parents (most that I know) allow their under-13 children to be on Facebook, even going so far as to lie about the child's age so they can get on the site. The explanation I hear most often is that kids need to be on Facebook to participate fully in their peer group's social life.

Uh-huh. Asa participates quite a bit in his peer group's social life. He seems not at all socially restricted by his lack of a Facebook page. Even he admits it: he knows the score.

No, the reason Asa isn't on Facebook is that the policy says 13 and up. Yeah, I know, I've heard about how that's arbitrary or whatever. Doesn't matter. It's Facebook's right to make that decision and enforce it. You can bet they studied it and consulted on it before determining it. Facebook's age requirement didn't just pop into some geek's head arbitrarily.

The biggest deal for me is that in order to get Asa on Facebook before the age of 13, I have to lie about his age. Think:  I'd be promoting lying about your age to bypass restrictions on Internet sites.  Seem good?

The potential fallout is most clearly illustrated by imagining you have, say, a 14-year-old daughter and someone tips you off that she is on a dating site. You can't believe it. But you look, and there she is—with her real name and town, her real picture. She's done up in sexy clothing and make-up so that you barely recognize her. (But with gut-wrenching chagrin, you do.) Her ad says she's 22 and "looking for fun."

Did you expect her not to do this? When you modeled it? Go ahead—try explaining the difference to her now.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent point. Not enough parents would think of this. I certainly wouldn't.