We recently ran a post on whether or not it’s OK for parents to monitor their teenagers’ Facebook page if they suspect the child is engaging in risky behaviors like drinking or drug use. In this blog by Children’s media expert Michael Rich, MD, MPH, a parent asks for advice on how to balance her desire to respect her son’s online privacy while still setting limits on much time he spends on the computer.
Q: My 16-year-old son uses the computer constantly at home in his room and almost always claims he is doing homework. He doesn’t want me to look over his shoulder and see what he is doing when I come into his room, and frankly, I want to allow him his privacy when he is on the computer, as well as in other areas of his life. I believe that he spends too much time on the computer, to the detriment of other activities such as time with family, reading, extracurricular activities, etc., but he disagrees and doesn’t want to be controlled by his parents. Any suggestions?
-Computer confused mom, NY, NY …
A law proposed in California would require that social networking sites like Facebook take down content from the profiles of children under 18 if their parents request it.
On the flip side: Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, thinks that more children under 13 should be allowed to join social network sites. He says that they offer educational opportunities, and that children can learn from each other.
So who is right? Should kids be kept off Facebook until they are 18—or allowed on it when they are 8?
I don’t think either one is right. …