Keeping Kids Safe Online

Jun 1 • Featured • 1092 Views • 8 Comments on Keeping Kids Safe Online

Last week Mark Zuckerberg founder of Facebook said he thinks children 13 years and younger should be allowed access to social networks. Having worked with teens for years I have to admit I didn’t think that was a particularly shocking statement until I heard some of the responses in the media.

Channel 5’s Wright Stuff was particularly irritating with one panelist saying ‘Why do kids need to talk to each other online? Why can’t they just play outside.’ Sorry but has this man met any 13 year olds lately? Another annoying comment was by Lisa Faulkner who said that because she wasn’t computer savvy she didn’t want her child to use the Internet because she was afraid of what was out there.
Thankfully a range of sane mothers rang in as the voices of reason pointing out the obvious that as parents it’s up to us to get informed about social media sites (and the internet) and then educate our kids about how to use them safely.


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  Why? Well because it can be dangerous and it’s near impossible to stop children and young teens from accessing Facebook on their mobiles, gaming devices and on computers outside of the home.

I know this is the case because my four year old can use my iPhone and knows how to access YouTube and both my 12-year old goddaughters are on Facebook.

Luckily with regards to Facebook (and YouTube I might add) there are strict parental rules behind their admittance to the site. My goddaughters have to be Facebook ‘friends’ with their mothers (thereby allowing their mums to see exactly what they are saying and who they are being friends with). They have to allow their mothers to set their privacy settings and talks about predators and cyber bullying are discussed regularly.

However, with a new study showing 11% of parents do not know what their children get up to online and 54% of UK parents saying there is not enough done to educate families on how to stay safe online perhaps more does need to be done to help us help our kids.

What do you think?


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8 Responses to Keeping Kids Safe Online

  1. Melissa says:

    There’s a time, a place – and an age – for everything. Personally, I don’t think children younger than 13 should be allowed on Facebook, even if they’ve "friended" their parents. Sure, kids do everything younger than we did. They also have easy access to gadgets that weren’t even invented when we were kids. (Remember the Sony Walkman that needed 8 AA batteries to operate? I do!) Still, there’s no reason why parents can’t slow down the pace. It’s our job. Not always a pleasant or popular job, but our job nonetheless. Will my daughter be on Facebook when she’s 13? Probably. But for now, she’ll have to stick to texting and emailing her friends! 🙂

  2. Anita Naik Anita Naik says:

    Good point Melissa – if you can slow the pace down then slow it down. It’s one way to ensure when they’re on Facebook they’re ready and aware of highs and lows of social networking.

  3. Ellie says:

    I definitely think it’s important that parents get savvy about the internet and take some responsibility for keeping their kids safe online. From a personal point of view-would I want to be getting friend requests from every child I know-no thanks!

  4. Marina Gask says:

    Am very conflicted about this. My son is not yet 12 yet he’s the only child in his class not on Facebook. It’s caused a few rows. We have put him off so far, and I’m hoping that when we finally have to relent, the brilliant advice we were given at a parents’ forum at his school will help us to protect him. He’s pretty sensible on the whole, so I guess I should trust him. But…

  5. adele says:

    Hmm. I told my teen daughter she could only be on fbook if I was her ‘friend’ to keep an eye on her page. Wasn’t long before I’d been unfriended and she’d changed her password! Of course, it isn’t Facebook that’s the problem, its the people who use it. I don’t allow my youngest (11) on FB even though her friends are on it: in my opinion she isn’t mature enough to deal with the pictures of parties she might not have been invited to etc (but then, who is???).

  6. Jenni says:

    I agree that the responsibility of handling social networking sites is up to parents. But so many parents I’ve spoken to seem to be choosing popularity over parenting – they allow their underage kids onto FB even tho’ they don’t want to – but they feel pressured by all the other parents who’ve caved in. So our generation of parents treats 13 like the new 16…and they’re not. They ARE still children. It’s we – the parents – who are creating this generation of 13-year-olds. Luckily my 12-year-old has no interest in FB. She says she has no need for it – she’s one of those who does go play outside (or inside) with her friends – and when she’s not with her friends, & they need to get in touch, then they phone or skype each other and have long gorgeous conversations (with lots of LOL together which they can both hear…rather than it being 3 mute letters on a screen!). I’m sure one day she’ll be ready for FB – but I love that she hasn’t felt pressured into it; and that for as long as is possible, she’s enjoying fab relationships with real 2-way conversation!

  7. Phyllis says:

    It’s a really tricky one…I’ve allowed my 11 year old to join Facebook, with me as a friend and his e-mail address is my own so that I can keep an eye on things. What shocks me most is that it’s quite obvious that other parents don’t keep an eye on their children’s accounts. Some of the comments that my son’s ‘friends’ post are really inappropriate. I recently had a ‘moral dilemma’ when my nephew posted some rather unsavoury comments that then backfired and resulted in a chain of ‘bullying’ comments directed at him. I risked being the messenger who gets shot, and rang my sister to advise her to take a look, which resulted in her banning him and closing down his account. There are a lot of social skills required to conduct ‘cyber relationships’. For example is it polite/well received to join in someone else’s conversations? Seemingly not (even though they are carrying them out in front of an audience of potentially millions). A friends daughter commented on a ‘friends’ picture and was assaulted with a stream of abuse. She really should have known better than to offer unsolicited criticism – hopefully she does now! On a more positive note, my son has a group of friends from his theatre club who all go to different schools. They post really supportive comments, ask whether each other have learnt their lines, offer encouragement and praise; it’s a really lovely and a great way of creating a close knit support network with like-minded friends. My younger son shows no interest and probably never will – he’s a totally different personality. Am I pleased that I allowed my eldest to join FB? On balance yes; I’d rather help him navigate the modern world than close my eyes to it – it wont go away!

  8. Jane says:

    I agree with some previous comments that parents really need to wake up, smell the coffee and take responsibility! If they don’t know much about the internet (I am still reeling from that comment by Lisa Faulkner) they should learn! Good grief. My 8 year old knows about FB but thankfully has no interest in it though she has class mates with their own mobile phones who access the internet on a regular basis. My daughter’s school promotes safe use of the internet and she seems to have a good awareness of this. To be honest my daughter would much rather be outside on her bike. It’s my son (currently 5) who worries me as he is much more computer-savvy than his sister and generally more interested in techy stuff. I expect him to be much more into FB etc when he’s older. Whether we like it or not, FB (and similar) are parts of everyday life for lots of people and we as parents need to guide our children on how to use them happily , confidently, appropriately AND safely.


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