Opinion Brief

Facebook: How young is too young?

Michelle Obama has sparked debate by saying her daughters, 9 and 12, aren't allowed on the social media site — and won't be anytime soon

First Lady Michelle Obama said this week that she's "not a big fan of young kids having Facebook" — adding that her own daughters, Malia, 12, and Sasha, 9, won't be allowed on the uber-popular social networking site in the near future. That stance aligns with Facebook's official policy, which urges users under age 13 not to sign up (in keeping with a federal law regarding personal info acquisition). Still, younger kids often register by just lying about their age. Should pre-teens be allowed on Facebook, or is Obama right to keep her daughters off the site?

Of course she's right: Tweens don't need to be posting status updates on Facebook, says Julie Ryan Evans at The Stir. The site's policy on kids under 13 exists for good reason. "There are plenty of years for them to get lost in online social media later." The First Lady deserves kudos "for showing Americans how to set boundaries and how to say no to children."
"Michelle Obama has strict rules about Facebook for kids"

Kids on Facebook just need supervision: I haven't had any issues with my three kids on Facebook, says Sylvie Branch at Yahoo News. I just keep "an eye on their accounts, from afar." Even my youngest, who's 12, uses Facebook to reconnect with relatives and friends. He's been told very clearly that he must be responsible, and that what he does on the site "can and will be held against him." That seems to be enough.
"First person: I said yes to Facebook"

Unplug your kids: It's rare that a technological innovation gives us anything we truly need, says Chris Matyszczyk at CNET. So while Michelle Obama's decision is likely informed by White House security measures, it's refreshing to see parents "who appreciate that there is life beyond the screen."
"Michelle Obama: No Facebook for my kids"

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