Parents Increasingly Permissive in Letting Underage Kids Use Social Media

Filed under: In The News, Media

social media

Pre-teens using social media? No problem, for some parents. Credit: Getty Images

Sure, you're supposed to be 13 years old before you have a Facebook account, but go ahead and sign up a few years early.

Your parents won't mind. They're cool. Or permissive. Or clueless. Or dumber than a bag of hammers.

Take your pick.

Whatever the reason, Reuters reports the number of parents who would let their 10- to 12-year-old kids flout the age restrictions and sign up for Facebook, MySpace and other social media sites has doubled in the last year.

The insurance company Liberty Mutual conducted an online poll as part of its Responsibility Project, with some 1,000 adults responding.

"More and more parents are allowing their children to have a Facebook account or to have more online activity at younger and younger ages." Janet Taylor, a clinical instructor of psychiatry at Columbia University at Hospital in New York, tells Reuters.


According to the news service, some 17 of the adults surveyed said they have no problem with pre-teens using a social media site. That number jumped from 8 percent just a year ago.

What's more, 11 percent of those surveyed admitted to using social media sites on behalf of a young child or infant.

"It's not alarming," Taylor tells Reuters. "I think it means we need to be aware of what is going on and how to best utilize social media."

Parents are not completely asleep at the switch. Reuters reports most of them think children younger than 18 should not be able to keep their account to themselves. A third of parents report monitoring their kids online, and 44 percent say they limit time spent on the Internet or texting.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.