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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Social Networking for Kids

Recently my girl asked me about Facebook so I showed it to her. However I did not create an account for her nor did I encourage her to do so. We did however find that about a dozen of her classmates are on it.

Ok ok. I know its the new age the internet age. Afterall I am a blogger myself with several blogs. So what is the harm of letting her have a facebook account? However, I prefer to tackle that a little later on. She is afterall only 8, just discovering how to make friends and socialise in the real world. She does not need the complications of learning how to socialise in the cyber world and deal with all its fascinations, complications etc plus other issues that it will inadvertently bring.

I was amazed that some of her friends has over 250 friends on facebook and lists Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber as favourites. I mean they are only 8? Isn't that growing up a little too soon, too fast? They just graduated from Nursery Rhymes!

My girl asked me about Lady Gaga. She said her friend's favourite song is by Lady Gaga. Her friend told her that all she needs to do is press number 2 on the radio/tv and you can get to listen to Lady Gaga. :) That remark is charming in its innocence and tells me that number 2 on the radio in her home was set not by her. I tried to find some suitable videos on YouTube on Lady Gaga to show her but I could not find any. I find her dressing and manners inappropriate for a child of 8. Imagine wearing a piece of meat to an event. Oh well, it takes all kinds.

Back to Facebook, at the moment I am not prepared to teach my girl about social networking and educate her about safety, cyber bullying etc etc. I am also not prepared to deal with her spending too much time on it, playing games, updating her status etc. So I shall leave it for now. There is no escaping it or course and in time, she will have an account but not now.

Now, she can spend her time reading, instead of updating her profile. And she can worry about which friend to "friend with and not friend with again" the next day at school instead of counting the number of friends she has on Facebook and the number of comments she gets. There is a certain fascination and addiction in it and I prefer that she and I not have to deal with it at this moment, when she is just 8. We also don't have the time for  it and I do not see it as one of the must haves for an 8 year old kid to learn about life and socialising.

Perhaps I am outdated and old fashioned and my girl will suffer from peer pressure of not having a Social Networking account but I think it is the right thing to do for now, for us. In time, she will have an account and I will teach her how to be safe online and deal with all the things that comes from having cyber friends ie friends that she has never met in real life but for now, I shall concentrate on teaching  her how to be a friend in real life. Ok. So now shoot me because I know there are a lot of bloggers with kids who have an online presence who probably think I am making a mountain out of a molehill but then that is just me and that is why I continue to remain anonymous after so many years online. :P


  1. I am with u for this one. I also think my dotter not ready for this yet. My girl asked for a fb account, her cousins & friends all already have.Told her she must be minimum 10 yo to have one. She said all her friends cheat about the age... Told her no good to do that, and she accepted my answers. But sometimes she likes to peep on my facebook, especially when I am looking at photos... I prefer her doing something else at this point of time rather than facebooking...so much else to do...

  2. Both my older kids have their own FB account, they use for playing games, but there are not allowed to use it daily, so far they are not addicted to it and each time they asked for permission. My eldest even know she musn't simply add friends for the sake of adding (some kids just add whatever for gaming purpose..more friends, more points/money for certain games). My girl even told me not to put her picture up in her profile as she doesn't want people to see, and I told her about security settings and such. I think everything done moderately is ok. ( But I guess she can be bad influenced too..she was one of the few who has a FB account in her class and she had managed to get more classmates to join...even telling them "My mommy can help you , if you don't know how"

  3. Some kindergartens don't even teaches nursery rhymes anymore. Kids are dancing waka-waka and singing tweens songs at kindy concerts. Like Elaine, my kid own fb a.c. It's harmless as long as you select album privacy for which selected person... to view and monitor their adding friends from your own email a.c. Chatting is a no-no, unless its their own schoolmates. I think it's better I teach my kid to be streetwise than to restrain them which may lead to ignorance. My own 2 cents lar, since this is a controversial issue to parents who sit on either side of the fence. No offence to those who think otherwise.

  4. oh, time is an issue, of course. FB only if time permit after homework, revision, daily violin practice and piano practice and reciting timetable.

  5. My 8 years old has been bugging me to have her own FB acct but I have been saying "No"

    I've read of how easy a pervert can pretend to be a kid and befriend other kids on those social network to lure them.


  6. Annie,
    Already we have too much to do and too little time. We don't need FB in the equation yet.

    Haha. "My mommy can help you...." smart girl. So did you get inundated with calls from 8 year olds?

    I agree with you on teaching them to be streetwise instead of restraining but I think at the moment there is no hurry.

    Not only that, photos too. Some collect innocent photos of little girls in vartious situations and when viewed in a "collection" you know that the site's intention is anything but innocent.

  7. I feel that I'm like you. My kids are not expose to any social networking sites, nor any of those PSP games or whatever handheld games. They know about all these through their friends and they are able to catch them pretty fast at friends' place.
    The exposure to such things by other children do pressure my kids' at times, but so far, they don't really push me for it.
    Speaking of Lady Gaga, my boy came back and told me about her. He even knows what he looks like, what song she sings and all! All these through his friends as well. And he's only 7!
    I'm ok if he's slow in the social networking part, or in-depth exposure to computer games or pop music.
    As long as he hasn't really ask for it, I'm still ok :P

  8. I think I'll be like you too.. preferring not to expose them so soon.

    We are a gadgetless family. Except my mobile phone, no PS2 or what so ever.

    And for Lady Gaga.. I let my girls watch her on youtube occasionally, but tell them her sense of dressing is not decent, and we should not dress like her.

  9. Babysmooches and zmm,
    Yah, no psp or any other handheld games for my kids as well... for now. Maybe when they are 10 or 12 or something. :P


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