How Old is Old Enough for Facebook?

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Mark Zuckerberg (Getty)

Should 11-year-olds be allowed on Facebook? Right now, Facebook bans anyone under 13 from joining, but that might soon change. The company is looking at ways to let preteens join the social network while giving parents oversight of their kid’s accounts.

Larry Magid is a technology analyst for CBS news. He’s also the co-director of and the founder of Both websites deal with issues surrounding children’s privacy online. In an article that appeared on both the Huffington Post and Forbes, Magid pointed out that many children are already on Facebook — they just lie about their age. He says Facebook is right to examine safe way for them to openly use the service.


Larry Magid

Produced by:

John Light

Comments [5]

Michelle from AL

It's not hard at all to keep an eye on what your kid is doing if you take the time to do it. We use parental protection software (Funamo) to control exactly what apps and websites my kid can use, what time she can use it, what language she can't use in a search, etc. I, too, created my kid's social networking account MYSELF and linked it to MY email, so she can't even change the password. I can log on anytime I like and see what she's doing and who she's talking to. I can also deactivate and reactivate the account anytime I like as needed for restrictive purposes...all I have to do is give it a secret password and deactivate ;) If she were to try to make her own account without my knowledge, it wouldn't be hard to figure out.

Apr. 04 2014 03:16 PM
Amanda from Australia

Facebook states they have a ban on children under 13 having an account and yet parents like jennifer from Boc raton openly admit (on this very discussion board) their child has an account. So either FB administration is lying about the age or parents are lying / teavhing their children to lie in order to have an account.

It appears FB is so great for our children that lies must be told in order to simply have an account - so much for parental oversight.

May. 19 2013 05:46 PM

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Jun. 06 2012 08:39 AM
Richard from Miami

Listening to your discussion on Facebook and access by young children today made my stomach turn. Public radio should be a beacon of truth and facts that extend beyond the surface. Not today. The discussion about having pre-teens on Facebook completely missed the mark on every point.

-First and foremost, to call Facebook a 'social networking' site tells me that your team is drinking the same cool-aid as the general public. Facebook is a social networking website like a mouse-trap is a cheese buffet. Facebook purpose is NOT the social networking front-end we all see. That’s just the cheese. It’s a data collection and data mining company whose intrinsic value is in selling your information. To assume that they have any other motive or interest regarding function, security, social implications, or otherwise is misguided.

-Second: Your 'expert' disclosed at the outset that he is funded by Facebook. He should not have been selected as an objective commentator on the subject.

-Third: Assuming effective parental oversight regarding Facebook or ANY website is categorically ridiculous. Parents are working more than ever, don't understand the websites operation and on the whole are never going to provide real oversight. For every well-versed parent watching over the shoulders of their child there are 1000 kids on the site without supervision. Did anyone at NPR look at kids Facebook accounts before doing this piece? Facebook is the poster-child for no parental oversight.

-Fourth: There are PC's at school, at the library, at EVERY one of their friends’ houses... and most kids carry smart-phones and are online around the clock. Parental oversight is a myth in today’s ubiquitous connected world.

-Fifth: The Facebook platform is simply an anonymous place to be something you aren’t in real life. Facebook popularity is a huge dream for young kids... to be 'liked' online more than the next guy. Do parents really want their children to be hooked on a need for being 'liked' on Facebook to the extent that they will lie and exaggerate to gain more 'like' votes?
Facebook for young kids has clearly NO upside.

-Sixth: One parent said they wouldn't want their child to 'miss out' on using Facebook and the skills it teaches. How exactly does posting photos or telling everyone you are a rock-star and dating the head cheerleader help to prepare children for later in life? Of course being tech savvy and familiar with the web is an important, but I’m confused about how trying to be popular on Facebook contributes.

A savvy Facebook user could certainly emerge as a very well trained narcissist with skills in the art of exaggeration and virtual competition within a social world that doesn’t actually exist. If that is the goal.

Please NPR, stop drinking the cool-aid and bring perspective to conversations that open doors of thought and transparency to the false narratives coming from corporations and profiteers.

Jun. 05 2012 10:46 AM
Jennifer from Boca raton

While I am not thrilled that my 12 year old has a Facebook account, I felt it was better to allow it and closely monitor it than to forbid it. my feeling is that if an under 13 Facebook is created, it would be a draw for predators. Plus I'm not sure that kids would use it because it would be considered uncool to use the "baby" site.

Jun. 05 2012 09:56 AM

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