Social Media | Facebook | June 2012

78 percent of parents helped create their child's Facebook account

By Taylor Cotter | StudentAdvisor Staff

Facebook has come a long way from being the website of the college elite. Facebook has long been open to high school students, and is developing technology to allow children under the age of 13 to legally create accounts on the site. However, even with the 13-and-over regulation in place, millions of children under 13 have created profiles using fake birthdays. We found the following alarming statistics about children using Facebook:

  • Of the 20 million children signed up for Facebook, 7.5 million are under the age of 13 and 5 million are under the age of 10. (Consumer Reports)
  • There is no proof of any meaningful social or educational value of Facebook for children under 13. (Common Sense Media)
  • 37 percent of 10-to-12 year olds are on Facebook. (McAfee)
  • For kids who were under 13 at the time they signed up, 68 percent of parents "indicated that they helped their child create the account." (Harris Interactive)
  • Among 10-year-olds on Facebook, 95 percent of parents were aware their kids were using the service and 78 percent helped create the accounts. (Harris Interactive)

8 Tips to Protect your Kids on Facebook

If you or your kids are considering creating a Facebook account, there are several steps that need to be taken to ensure your privacy and safety while accessing the site.


1. More than two-thirds of children and teens post personal information in their Facebook profile. Work with your child to determine which information is appropriate to share on the Internet and which is private. Making sure that your child’s information is Internet-friendly will alleviate concerns about who is viewing it. Relationship Status, Looking For, and Interested In are good fields for children to keep blank.

2. Encourage your child to use a nickname or middle name instead of their real name, making it more difficult for them to be identified.

3. Facebook privacy settings are different for minors than for adults. By declaring yourself a minor on Facebook, you ensure that you will only receive messages and friend requests from friends of friends. Minors also cannot share their posts publicly. When a minor makes a text or photo post on Facebook, it can only be seen by friends of friends.

4. Parents cannot access their child’s Facebook page if they are over 13 years old. This means that parents cannot report or take something off Facebook without their child’s account information. If you have a young child, make sure you know their username and password in case you need to access their account.

5. Don’t lie about your age! If your child’s Facebook age is 18, but they seem to be friends and taking photos with many 13-year-old users, Facebook will take notice and likely deactivate your child’s account. By declaring your child’s real age on Facebook, you can ensure that Facebook is providing the safest experience for him or her.

6. There have been many cases of cyberbullying and harassment on Facebook. Make sure to familiarize yourself and your child with Facebook’s reporting tools and find out how to report online harassment in your child’s school.

7. Only have your child join relevant and safe Facebook groups and pages. Pages can be a nice way of showing your interests, but can also be forums for controversial and dangerous discussion.

8. Remind your child that information that they put on the Internet will be there forever – when they are applying for college and for jobs. Anything they post now can come back to haunt them in the future!

If you have any questions about Social Media, Ask Dean