Some that can't even read, yet!
I never accept these friend requests, personally. Actually, I never deny them either because then they can just send another one. I just let them sit.
While I thought it was pretty obvious that Facebook is not intended for young children and that, as a parent, it's crazy to let your kids have a Facebook... Well, I was wrong. So, I want to take a second to talk about exactly why Facebook is not for kids.
1. Facebook TOSLet's just start right off with Facebook's Terms of Service, which you agree simply by signing up for/being a member of Facebook. Under Registration & Account Security, you'll find the following:
You will not use Facebook if you are under 13.Therefore, any child under 13 isn't even suppose to have an account anyway.
Some people could care less about what Facebook does and doesn't want. If this is you, then I'm sure you find this point moot. However, this ties into the next reason, so it was important to mention first.
2. Encouraging Lying & MisrepresentationBecause you have to be 13 years-old or older to have a Facebook account, per Facebook's TOS, the only way for a younger child to create an account is to lie! Maybe their account will misrepresent them as 13, 16, 19, or 25. Does it really matter? I don't think it matters what age they're lying and saying they are.
As a parent, allowing or even encouraging this is sending our kids the wrong message, in my opinion. I want my children to be happy with who they are. I do not want them misrepresenting themselves as something or someone they are not. I do not condone lying in other situations, so why would I in this one? I think it's okay for my kids to know that there are age regulated and age appropriate tasks. Drinking and smoking, for example, are age regulated. Simply put, it is okay to say no.
3. Makes Children VulnerableWhile Facebook's TOS also don't allow sex offenders to have an account, it's something that's pretty impossible to 100% monitor. Anyway, what about people who haven't been convicted? Also, there are plenty of other terrible things that could happen to our children by letting them on Facebook too soon.
Cyber bullying is real and has destroyed many young people's reputations and self-esteem. We've all heard a tragic suicide story related to this, I'm sure. It's going to be very hard, if not impossible, to 100% monitor your child. We've already allowed them to lie, deceive others, and misrepresent themselves, while breaking Facebook TOS. Now we're making them vulnerable to attacks of other young adults or of becoming an unfortunate victim of some other crime.
4. You Child Can't ReadIf your child cannot read, they cannot get any value out of having a Facebook account. Realistically, this is just you managing a second account and relaying text or photos to your child.
5. There are other ways to connect your child with others.A common reason I hear parents give for allowing their young child to have a Facebook is because they have relatives that live far away. If family really wants to connect with your young child, encourage phone calls, letters, in person visits, or share photos from a parents Facebook account with your child.
6. Inappropriate photos and status updates.Whether from your own child or, more commonly, from people on their friend list...Facebook is full of inappropriate photos, language, etc. This content is wildly inappropriate for young children, especially when they're still learning self-control and about themselves.
At the end of the day, Facebook was never intended for young children and cannot be monitored to be appropriate for them. It's something for them to look forward to later, and it's okay to say no now but share family photos/videos/updates with them from your own Facebook account.
How old do you think children should be before being allowed to have a Facebook account? How do you feel about young children on Facebook?