The Battle Of Social Media

Sometimes, I feel life is nothing but a constant battle with your kids, kind of a war of wits and no matter what you do or try, you finally lose. The latest battlefront in our home is over social media, Facebook to be more specific.

The Battle Of Social Media For Kids

You see both me and Missus have Facebook accounts; I use primarily to promote my blog, and Missus to stay in touch with her family spread around the globe.

The latest fight started when the elder one realized she is in minority in her class who do not have an active Facebook account. As per kiddo everybody including 5-year-old siblings of her class fellows have Facebook accounts. I was not convinced and with all the reports about misuse of social media and the potential threat to privacy and loss of study and play hours I was not willing to budge from my stand of not having FB account till you are 18.

As per my understanding, you need to be 18 or above to sign for a Facebook account. To this our highly enlightened kid, who struggles to solve basic math, questioned and challenged my Jurassic knowledge. She was pretty sure there is no age bar to open a Facebook account, because everybody has a Facebook account, including 5-year-olds. May be there is some truth in this, for I have myself seen some Dogs on Facebook who regularly update about their life happenings. I am sure these dogs must be descendants of those smart canines who traveled to space in the early days of space travel.

Anyways, Missus, the elder one and I checked on FB to find out what is the legal age to open an account. But before I could proceed the kiddo has extracted a promise to open her account if there is no age limit. I reluctantly agreed and extracted a counter promise that she will share her password with her mother and add her as friend and will login only under mom’s supervision.

So verbal contracts signed and sealed the family party went to FB, where lo behold the legal age for opening an account on Facebook turned out to be 13 and not 18. Now there was a stalemate as both mine and daughter dear’s knowledge was incomplete. But like I said, kids are creatures of emotions the moment things are not going their way the part of their brain that listens to logic stops functioning.

Facebook as a company was cursed, Mark Z was declared Moron with a big M, and I was declared old-fashioned (that by the way is true). Now, since I was wrong this automatically made her right, totally ignoring the fact that even if it is not 18 still there is an age limit of 13 to start an account. A war of words followed between the 3 of us, with the younger one unable to decide whose side she should take, as her only interest in internet as of now is to talk to her cousins and grandma and may be watch an odd song on YouTube sitting in my lap.

Ultimately the real boss of the family prevailed (that would be my wife just to clear any doubts if any) and she vetoed everybody that since the kiddo is not 13 she cannot have a FB account and she will have to wait till she turns 13 to get a Facebook account. Reluctantly the kiddo agreed, when we told her that all those who have FB account before the legal age are doing something against FB policies and if FB discovers this their account may be banned forever. Call it sweeping the issue under carpet but this was the best we could do as of now. I mean peace for next few years is worth something! Right?

I am not sure how long this uneasy truce will last, her 13th birthday is still a couple of years away and you never know if FB would still be a craze then or something new will come.

Those of you reading, what do you say? Are your kids who are old enough to understand social media asking for accounts and what is your opinion about the right age to expose kids to social media accounts?

Sasha and Prasad Np are proud parents of 2 girls whom they fondly call Princess and Pinkette. He wears many hats after taking a break from being corner office critter for a long time. He is now an entrepreneur, blogger, photographer, traveler and a potential investor in start-ups with unique concepts especially if they are in travel related business. He blogs at Desi Traveler, and can be reached at Facebook and Twitter.

  • Reema Sahay

    Even I was not aware that Facebook had lowered the age criteria. All this while, I had been judging all the kids and their parents. You know, I may not be the right person to suggest anything but still I will offer my two pence. I feel you should allow after she reaches the age. The more you would stop her, the more fascinating these things become. Just lay down the rules.

    • Thanks Reema and Dr. Asrani..we do plan to allow her once she is the age approved by FB. I just wanted to share our experience with the whole social media thing. BTW she has a gmail a/c that she uses to exchange notes and home work etc. with her class fellows under her mom’s supervision… 🙂

  • Dr Chander Asrani

    If either one of you are connected with her on FB, then nothing will escape you. Giving them freedom in small doses makes them respect it more. & increasing freedom should be conditional…

  • Bindu Manoj

    We went through the same fights with our then 10 year old son only to find after 6 months that his friend had opened an account for him. He was quarantined from even computers for 6 months. We then allowed him access strictly under supervision and limited to half an hour a week and both of us are on his friend’s list.
    He has been quite responsible and has been using it mainly for sharing football related stuff with his friends.