Underage Use of Social Networks. By: Teacher Esther Moscoso

Underage Use of Social Networks. By: Teacher Esther Moscoso

Social Networks such as Facebook and Instagram are really popular nowadays, due to this children are more appealed to open a profile in one of them with the idea of chatting with friends or following a famous singer but are children ready to handle all the power and responsibility that a social network can bring us? and if so what would be the appropriate age to open a profile in a social network?

According to the terms and conditions of Facebook (that little box that we all skip to the part to where it says “Yes, I agree”) in order to open a profile you need to be at least 13 years old, the inconvenience with this rule is that they don’t have a control to actually verify the age so most of the kids just lie about it and continue creating the profile. Social Networks are a open space for news, videos, photos, and people from around the world, letting a kid by himself in a open space like this attempts with our protection principle but let´s face it we are living in a digital era right now and we can not forbid or limit the access to technology to our children, because in a way or another they will find the way to access it.

According to the last survey made the New York Times,  a 52 percent of children under ages of 8-10 years ignored the age control of social networks, this means that a great mayor of users are people under the age of 15 years old. Cyber predators is one of the main concerns of adults due that we can not be 100% sure who is the actual owner of a profile. Digital footprint is the second concern with children handling profiles, due that when you post something, it´s out there and you will never be able to take it back, a consequence that most of children and teens are not fully aware of. For last, depression is one of the most dangerous consequences that a wrong handling can have due that they are exposed to critics, unwanted comments and jokes that can cause a low-self esteem or anxiety. As a proof of this, the American Academy of Pediatrics uses the term of “Facebook Depression” referring to the feeling of rejection or unpopularity when you upload a picture of post something and you don’t receive the amount of “likes” that you were expecting.

In a time where we have something called “Facebook Depression”, how do we protect our children? , the answer is simple but in practice we can have some troubles, education, by teaching our children a correct and appropriate way of handling of social networks we can prevent unpleasant situations for them, having an open communication with them based on trust can be a second step for it.

We will like to hear some tips from you, share with us how do you handle this topic with them or advices in our comment section.