Column: How young is too young to be online?

Eighth+grader+Kennen+Robinson+uses+Snapchat.+Robinson+used+Snapchat+and+other+social+media+before+the+allowed+age+of+13.
Eighth grader Kennen Robinson uses Snapchat. Robinson used Snapchat and other social media before the allowed age of 13.

Eighth grader Kennen Robinson uses Snapchat. Robinson used Snapchat and other social media before the allowed age of 13.

Brittney Palik

Brittney Palik

Eighth grader Kennen Robinson uses Snapchat. Robinson used Snapchat and other social media before the allowed age of 13.

Brittney Palik

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Social media and online entertainment has quickly become part of many people’s daily lives. Most people have at least one social media account, including children. This then poses the question to many: What is an appropriate age to be online?

It isn’t uncommon for younger children to be active on the internet. Some sites are even meant specifically for children. But what about websites that aren’t meant for children?

Take Facebook, for example. The age set by Facebook to make an account is 13. However, that doesn’t stop many children under the age of 13 from making an account anyway and lying about their age. According to ABC, there are 7.5 million Facebook users under the age of 13.

The age limit is set for a reason; these social media sites are meant for an older audience. However, there are still opportunities for children to explore the internet.

There are many websites meant specifically for kids. These websites provide educational games for children and even have some characteristics of social media sites. These sites allow kids to have the social interaction of a social media account for older users, but with safety and privacy features. Often these websites include safe chat options where the kids are limited to what they can say. These websites also do not allow the child to add any personal information.

So how young is too young to be online? I don’t think there is one definite answer. I think it varies from child to child, and it is up to the parent to make the call. A 12 year old could be more mature and responsible online than a 14 year old. Parental supervision also plays a big role. It is up to the parents of younger internet users to make sure they are safe and not sharing too much information online.

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