Is Your Kid Old Enough for Social Media?
Most parents are unaware of the fact that all social media sites have minimum age requirements as specificed by law. The Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) of 1998 prohibits websites from collecting the personal information of children under 13 years of age. So social media sites don’t want underage children using their services.
In addition to abiding by COPPA, it makes sense to make your kids wait until 13 because that gives them a chance to mature enough to handle life online. Social media provides the opportunity for immature kids to get into a lot of trouble. Reading social cues, uplifting others, and resisting the urge to write before you think are all necessary to be able to make wise choices on social media.
If you are worried about being able to reach your kids, you can give them a basic flip phone without internet access. There are even watches that you can give your kids that allow them to contact you but not anyone else.
Your kids are probably worried about being the last kid in their grade to get a smartphone. You might want to check out Wait Until 8th (www.waituntil8th.org) to create a coalition of parents who all agree to wait until your kids are old enough to have a smartphone, internet access, and social media. It will be a lot easier for you to hold out if the rest of the parents are all on the same page.
Ultimately, you don’t want your kids to have a smartphone until they are reall ready to have that level of access. If you aren’t sure, check out www.socialnationu.com for more info.