How Old is Old Enough: Facebook

I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on Facebook and how old is old enough for Facebook.

My older son is in middle school and has periodically asked about FB, but he has not asked me often enough for it to be an issue. Yet. But I’m sure it will be because I am certain the day is coming when I will be told that he is the ONLY one at school who doesn’t have a FB page OR a cellphone.

My oldest was allowed a FB page before she started 8th grade. We agreed on the following restrictions:

  1. We would be her FB friends. We would not post obnoxious “We believe in you” messages on her wall or tag her baby pictures, but we wanted to be “there”.
  2. We would have her password.

Pretty straightforward. Over time there have been a few minor conversations –  photos I asked her to take down, inappropriate photos her friends have posted and that I can see because their privacy settings are so low that I can see them, etc.

But as any parent learns, each kid is different and each kid may grow up in the same home but in their own world. The three year gap between each kid means my oldest knew a few kids in 5th grade with cellphones and my youngest will know many more kids in his 5th grade year who own phones.

We are a wireless, electronic society. Our desire to be connected to one another has created entirely new ways of communicating (and spelling) bc its fastr 2 txt 2 ur bffs. My kids talk about “Skyping” their cousins instead of calling them. My older son has asked if I tweet. As a parent who wants to stay connected to her children and their lives, I continue to weigh the pros and cons.

Personally, I’ve enjoyed FB. Social media can be an amazing way to connect people, but I can waste a lot of time following tweets and status updates when I should be connecting with people face-to-face or, at the very least, by phone. There is much to be said about tone, inflection and pitch as well as facial expressions and physical posture. I can and do share a lot of information about myself through blogging and FB, but it’s far more difficult to convey emotions and interest. Personally I find it the easy way out to relate to someone. If someone pisses me off I can block them. If I piss someone else off they can block me without me knowing about it. It’s the electronic silent treatment. Honestly it can feel rather soulless and disingenuous, which is ironic for a generation demanding authenticity.

Back to FB and my son. What do you think? When is a kid old enough for FB? What other restrictions, concerns, issues should I be considering?


  1. Christina Baglivi Tinglof August 26, 2010

    From your set of family rules about FB with your daughter, it sounds like you have it under control. My own boys (14 yr twins and 12 yr singleton) asked awhile ago but when I said, “no,” they dropped and seem content to text. I’m “friends” with my 13 yr nephew on FB, and I don’t like his nasty language. I also hear from moms of daughters about how it can get very petty sometimes. Personally, I’m not in a rush to get my boys on it but someday soon they’ll ask again and I’ll implement rules similar to yours and just let it be.

  2. Deborah Gonzalez August 26, 2010

    College. No Facebook until college. That’s when we all got it! đŸ˜‰

  3. Lived in Wien! August 29, 2010

    I would wait until they are 14. Also, even though each child IS different, the oldest child will be forever pissed if you change the standards for the younger child. Well, at least I am! We oldests have to adhere to such a high standard, it’s frustrating when the parents change the rules.


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