Have a child on Facebook? Here are some tips
Facebook is considering lifting its ban on kids younger than 13 using its site. Even with the ban, there already are millions of preteens on Facebook and millions more who are younger than 17. Here are some guidelines from experts on children and media on how to manage kids' Facebook use.
Keep the lines of communication open. Kids need to feel like they can talk with parents about their experiences. And it's important for parents to check in with their kids frequently about what's going on -- both online and off.
Set limits. Digital media -- whether online movies, games or social networks -- can be engrossing. Kids need to learn how to balance online and offline lives. Some kids may be able to set those limits on their own, but many will need formal guidelines. Make those clear and explicit. "They can vary" from kid to kid, but "limits are incredibly important," said Jim Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media.
"Friend" your kid. You don't have to check your child's Facebook page every day and they may resent it if you write on their wall. But being Facebook friends is a good way to passively monitor their activity on the site. And it allows you to more closely scrutinize it should you need or want to.
Encourage empathy and respect. These, of course, are life skills applicable far outside Facebook. But they can
Teach safety basics. These aren't much different from what kids should know in their other online and offline interactions. They include advice against talking to strangers or handing out personal information to people they don't know.
Encourage self-reflection. Kids need to realize that what they post on Facebook can affect how they are perceived by others, whether potential employers, schools or friends.
Consider waiting. Some kids may not have the emotional or social maturity to act with respect and self-reflection on Facebook. Those kids, even if they are older than 13, may not be ready to be on the site.
Sources: Common Sense Media, ConnectSafely.org