Our kids are always watching and learning - display good habits

The Good and Bad of Facebook

According to a report by EU Kids Online, over half of British children aged between 9 and 12 are using social media networks, with 1 in 5 using Facebook, despite the site ruling that users have to be 13 or over.

kids and facebook - should they?
Kids and facebook – should they?

This worrying statistic is something which is a growing factor amongst many children throughout the world.

We hear more and more reports about youngsters falling prey to online predators, but even more likely, becoming victims of cyber bullying by their peers.

What does this all mean for the next generation?


Online Bullying…

Most children will experience some level of it at some point in their adolescence.

These days it has a far more sinister outlet in social media networks such as Facebook.

There is a level of anonymity involved which gives kids ample confidence to succumb to a gang mindset. McAfee (the internet anti-virus software company) ran a poll of youngsters in 2012 which showed that 25% of respondents had experienced cyber bullying and two-thirds had witnessed it online.

Worryingly, 92.6% said that this cruel behaviour took place on Facebook.

Teenagers are at such a fragile stage in their development that online harassment or negativity can impact on them immensely. Sadly it is becoming more and more common to see, with some teenagers even resorting to suicide.

Cyber bullying is becoming something we are more aware of and more controls are being developed to enforce punishments on those who choose to bully others online. It can be reported, and those involved can be traced, but it does require the strength and communication from the victims involved.

With the guidance and education from parents, cyber bullying can be monitored and handled, making social media a safer and a more enjoyable experience.

Let’s make that clear:


Time Spent on Facebook…

30% of children spend an astonishing 2 hours or more on Facebook each day.

Concerns from parents include fears that Facebook is being favoured instead of homework, and time spent with family.

With the development of smart phones, Facebook has never been so accessible so quickly.

There has also been a reported steady rise seen amongst children who own their own smart phone.

Television and computer games can also impact negatively upon a child’s life, yet moderation can see a child enjoy a well rounded lifestyle.


Parental Concerns…

Parents are naturally concerned about their children’s use of social media and other online activities – 47% of parents admit that ensuring their children’s online safety can be overwhelming and 61% cite sharing personal information as their number one concern about social media.

But what can be done about their online safety?

There are the usual computer parental controls, but today’s sophisticated teens can often work around these to hide their online activities with around 80% claiming they can find their way around parental internet controls according to the National Crime Prevention Council.


Some parents are friends with their children through Facebook, while others have admitted to setting up a false profile so their children add them as a friend without knowing their true identity.

With the risks that they could become a target of bullying, gain unwanted attention from strangers, or reveal too much information online, many parents feel they have to supervise their children online.

Considering the age some children join Facebook, parents should actively police their children’s interactions online to make sure they are safe, just as they would in the real world until they reach an age where more freedom should be granted.


The Positive…

Is it all bad though?

Studies show that naturally shy teenagers can find their voice online and that others can show more empathy towards one another. Some are more comfortable interacting via Facebook than in real life situations. It can also be a useful education tool, one that teenagers find far more engaging than traditional methods.

So is the answer to encourage teens to learn to respect one another through Facebook?

It can mean that teenagers who live far from school and their social circles, in remote villages, can still maintain their friendships and keep up to date with their school-friends.

Facebook is a great interactive tool and provides opportunities for all, used wisely Facebook is a great social hub.

It seems only to cause trouble when parents fail to pay attention to their children’s online activity and encourage their children to speak up should they face negative experiences online.


Educate Your Children…

Our kids are always watching and learning - display good habits
Our kids are always watching and learning – display good habits

The best method is a tried and tested traditional one – educate your children by talking them through your concerns.

That way, if they have worries or experience cyber bullying or unwanted advances from strangers, they will come to you knowing that they can talk about these things without you flying off the handle!

Open lines of communication between you and your children won’t mitigate all online risk, but will give you both the confidence to use these sites more safely and sensibly.


Speak Your Mind, With Your Opinion

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And thanks for reading too – Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Growing Up With Facebook and Our Children 1

Kirstie works for top online games and toy company Letterbox. She regularly attends networking events within the children’s industry and has noticed a growing concern regarding children’s use of Facebook.

Kirstie Quinton – who has written posts on GeekandJock.

13 thoughts on “Growing Up With Facebook and Our Children”
  1. I love to use facebook and other social media websites in my point of view its depends on ourselves to use a thing in a right way or in a wrong.

  2. Facebook is a great tool that you can use in order to connect with people. However, it can create addiction, especially to kids. While you control yourself and use facebook moderately, there should not be any problems. Discipline is the key. Thansk for sharing this with us. Cheers.

    1. Welcome Dan.
      ‘create addiction, especially to kids’ – you’re kidding, right?
      I think there’s likely to be just as much, if not more, of a percentage of addicted Facebook adult junkies, if you ask me.
      Facebook major task is finding ways to keep you on it for as long as they can expose their advertising to you.
      Moderation is definitely the key, if you can do it :)
      How about you, Dan – what’s your time per day on FB?

  3. There are pros and cons to every social platform, this including Facebook but there is no way to prevent children from using it. It is true that there are a few things that should concern parents all around the world but, to my mind, a good education and communication can fend children from any bad outcome. Nice article, Kirstie!

    1. Hey, thanks for the visit and comment, Simona.
      It’s certainly true you’d have a helluva time keeping kids away from Facebook – I know when my son was about 13, he was making his way to wanting to get on it – needed to take extra care around visibility of his computer and explain potential dangers.
      That’s a parents lot in life when children are concerned, huh?

  4. Social Network – Facebook has both bad & good effects. I think users need to be careful on using it. There is a statistics social network causes most marriage break. parents should be careful when teen uses Facebook. But I think for bloggers Facebook is a good marketing strategy.

    Thanks for valuable post on Facebook

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughts and insights, Ahsan. Yep, Facebook is both good as well as bad.
      I’m not sure how Facebook can be attributed to a marrigae breakup unless someone is doing some sneaky stuff behind their partner’s back though – what are you thoughts on that?

  5. Social networks have both sides of a coin. Especially teens, they may get jealous of the their peers and soon turn on to depressive mood i some cases. But it could be a portal of immense knowledge and awareness around the world.

    1. Hey Gautham. Teens are the most erratic on Facebook if you ask me :)
      It’s got something to do with an immature brain and how it reacts to responsibility as it turns out. That said, Facebook certainly does have it’s good side too.
      How do you use it yourself?

      1. I mostly use the good side, to develop relationship with my fellow bloggers and clients. Yes, ofcourse, i do use to keep my old friends in touch.

  6. Social networks have become an essential part of our lives now. Even minors are using them to get in connected and to get the social exposure they might need. I don’t think kids are secure online anymore. They should be guided by a parent or a guardian. Facebook has no strict content management as explicit images and videos can be posted and will not be removed until they are reported. I don’t think any parent will like to take the risk of their child getting exposed to mature content. Bullying and abusing can be the worst thing that can happen to a minor. As you explain here, I’m agreeing to keep it away from them until they reach an age where they can act responsibly. This is good awareness!

    1. Great comment, Shalin.
      Parents often abdicate their responsibilities in protecting their kids from the dangers of Facebook Advertising, these days. Busy lifestyle and focus on other things are the usual excuses.
      And they’re just that, excuses. Thank you for your visit and taking the time to express your views too.

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