Social Media Age Limit : Yeah or Nay?

Social media is booming and can be a innovative and helpful way to connect with people, either in  a personal or professional manner. It can be entertaining and fun, however we must also look at other aspects that might be concerning.One of these aspects is the ages of people using social media. How young is appropriate to be online?

As of today, the minimum age for social media ranges depending on the media platform but for the most part, 13 seems to be the set age. This doesn’t stop alot of people ages 10-12 from creating profiles anyways. There seems to be easy ways to fake your information in order to sign up. In fact, in 2014 a survey completed in the UK showed that more then half of children used social media by the age of 10 and 52% ages 8-16 ignored minimum age restrictions in place.

social-media-age-restrictions

There are risks in everything around us, however with the internet and social media it can be far worse off. This is especially true with those under the age of 13 who may not realize the risks they are taking by posting online. With everything from cyber bullying which includes generalized harassment, threats, exposure to sexually explicit material (unwanted pictures received)  pressure into sexual behavior (sending pictures to others of body parts) to potential stalking , the risks for youths are that much higher then with the vast majority of social media users.

Cyberbullying has become a new statistic in the world today. It seems like alot of people figure that if its not face to face, they can say whatever they want and there is no consequences. They dont realize the harm they might be doing to the person on the other end of the comments. In 2016, 42% of youth reported being harassed online and the number of suicides of youth linked to cyberbullying is on the rise.

People also dont seem to realize that what they share online  can be potentially dangerous. Information such as phone numbers, emails , sometimes even addresses  can fall into the wrong hands and therefore create a dangerous situation. Sometimes you may not even realize that you have shared online.  For example:When you take a picture the location where you took that picture is embedded due to your phone’s geotracking function. If you post  the photo online ,someone with no so good intentions could find you quite easily.

Even with all the risks, it has been reported that in 2011, Mark Zuckerberg wanted the age limit for Facebook to be done away with completely. He claimed that it was for “educational” purposes and that they would do whatever it took to keep kids safe.As of today,  the age limit still stands at 13, so I guess his plans didn’t work out.

I personally think that even 13 can be young as some 13 year olds are not as matured as others and might not be able to handle social media and the possible scenarios that comes with it.

What do you think? Is there a point to having a age limit with social media if kids can just sign up anyways?

Links

3 Reasons Why Social Media Age Restrictions Matter

5 Dangers of Social Media to Discuss With Your Kids

Social Networking and Children

Global social media research summary 2016

Daily Mail: Youths and Social Media

Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook minimum age limit should be removed

 

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13 thoughts on “Social Media Age Limit : Yeah or Nay?

  1. Great Post. I am one to say there should be no age limit. Due to the fact that under age kids can sign up regardless. Enforcing limits normally creates curiosity and that is a weakness in youth. I feel it should lie in the hands of the parents to educate them on proper use of social media and shows them the effects of certain material or messaging and the impact it could could have on them.

    • I agree with you on the fact that children are curious and having limits enforced will entice them to do it even more. However, the risks I have mentioned in the blog post are more concerning, especially with bullying which can cause havoc on a child’s developing mind. Therefore, I am all for the limits. Even with the age restrictions, parents should be taking precautions when it comes to the internet.

  2. Great Blog! I agree with this as a mother it’s hard to always watch your kids what their up to, i have a 13 year old that wanted Facebook already and i told him that he’s to young for it. But i let him explore the net and i always remind him what’s not safe and what not to open.

  3. I am all for the age limits. Although youth can still find ways to sign up, I think it helps back parents up. I think it kind of gives them an extra out to say “you have to be 13 – the site doesn’t allow younger kids to sign up”. Of course some could go behind their backs and still create a profile but I think having the extra deterrent does more good than harm.

    There are so many risks with posting online and even those with parents who taught them everything about being safe, will most likely still end up being persuaded to or unintentionally post something that could put them at risk. Could be a picture of friends at the child’s school or outside the house playing where the background clearly shows the address.

    There are risks with everything, but at least at 13, kids are starting to be more aware of their actions and potential consequences. There will never be a perfect system in place but if we can set guidelines to hopefully allow kids to be kids a little longer, then I think that’s a good thing!

    • Totally with you, especially in this day and age with peer pressure. Kids are going to want to “fit in” and therefore may do things that seem harmless at the time but could be potentially dangerous, such as you said about the pictures..

  4. Even if you’ve talked to your kids about screen-time limits and responsible online behavior it’s still really tough to manage what they do when you’re not there and even if you are. Each device’s operating system comes with robust built-in parental controls and they apply globally to everything the computer accesses. Web browsers offer different ways of filtering out websites you don’t want your kids to visit. Some mobile devices come with basic parental controls. Learn how to set restrictions even if most social media websites and apps require that kids be 13 to sign up.

  5. Having an age limit is good to have, but the fact that there need to be more security procedures to try and stop kids under the age limit from signing up, but parents also have to keep an eye on there kids and what they do online.

  6. I agree with the above comment that the age limit backs parents up somewhat with a decision to disallow a social media account. But of course, just like with most things where there is a will there’s a way and kids will always find ways around the rules. As such, I think it is key that parents really take the initiative to help their kids fully understand the risks and consequences of social media usage. There are hundreds of news stories outlining the dangers that exist. It is probably likely your kid will find a way to have an account so the best method to monitor this is to let them create one but ensure that you have access and are on the same social media site so you can see what they are doing! When I was growing up my parents didn’t have to deal with this issue, but they did have to deal with other possible concerns such as drinking. My parents method was to introduce alcohol to us at home, around them where we were safe, this ensured that it didn’t seem like some forbidden fruit that we had to try in secret to rebel and they ensured we understood the risks and dangers. I think this was the best thing they could have done! You can never fully protect your child from everything, but if you explain, educate and monitor, rather than forbid I think you can significantly lower the risks.

  7. Yes, introducing social media to kids yourself sounds like a good method. You might get some reluctance from them to being monitored “no one else has their parents as a friend”, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.

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