Would a Lift on Age Restriction Be Good for Kids on Facebook?
Facebook has been considering lifting its age restriction on accounts and opening up its accounts to kids. (for more information, you can read this
If the FCC “okays” this move, it could be an important help for parents with tweens. As the article says, millions of tweens are online under false names and therefore not under supervision. As long as the tween can sign up under their parents account and the parents are provided with parental controls, I think this would add an important level of accountability. In no instance should tweens be allowed unsupervised access to social networking sites.
One element I believe still missing is education. Web Wise Kids and Carnegie Mellon University have created an educational game "BeSeen"
which mirrors a social network and provides valuable learning experiences for middle schoolers. The game is a little like training wheels for a social networking experience; The kids create an avatar and enter in to the simulated social network therefore having the opportunity to make choices about how to handle the situations which occur. Kids learn the consequences of their decisions and get to remake choices that end up with negative outcomes.
is a free download for smart phones from the iPhone and Android app store and helps prepare kids to "make wise choices on social networks". We’ve also created supplemental classroom materials for teachers and parents to use to further the discussion of the game with their children. Those materials are also available for free here