How Young Is Too Young For Facebook?

By Beth Germano, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) — Facebook and parenting hit the headlines when first lady Michelle Obama said she’s not a fan of the social network website for “young kids.”

As for daughters nine-year-old Sasha and 12-year-old Malia she doesn’t believe Facebook is “something they need.”

It’s got some parents thinking how young is too young for a Facebook account.

“I think someone should be in high school before they’re allowed to use Facebook,” said one parent.

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports.

14-year-old Corinne Gaucherin knows well the lure of Facebook. “In the beginning it’s very addictive,” she said. So addictive she can now spend one hour on the social media website, and only between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. when the account shuts down.

“You have to educate your children, put boundaries on it,” said her mother Paula Gaucherin.

The Gaucherins admit it’s been a work in progress with the popular site. The computer now sits in a common family room for monitoring.

“We are not going to let her have a laptop in her bedroom, behind closed doors, and just run amok on it,” said her mother.

Surveys show 75 percent of teenagers have a Facebook account, and 27 percent use it daily.

For Corinne Gaucherin it’s both social and helpful for school projects and schedules. She has to “friend” her mother and now says she’s glad. “I probably would have made mistakes I would have regretted,” she said.

More from Beth Germano
  • Budd

    Also how old is too old?

  • Bill

    As an administrator at a middle school I see first hand that most students under 14 are too young. The y use it to target certain students and the language, especially the girls is totally unacceptable. Parents need to check in if they are going to allow them to sign up illegally under the age of 14. Parents need to check any network including cell phones.

  • kelly

    I have a 14 year old who has used facebook with my permission for 3 years. It has been a tool for learning, for her career and a lesson in responsibility. I do not think it comes to down to certain age, but the child or young adult themself. They have to be mature enough to understand and also be open to “learning” from the parent who may not be so computer savy but “reality” smart. Also many of her friends have “friend requested” me, so I can see what is going on but still not be “in their faces” and handle anything with respect to them by doing so off the site.

  • Marion

    I am a teacher. Students as young as kindergarten have accounts on this social network. Many of my 10-year old students have accounts. The problem is, if not supervised, these children can friend anyone and unfortunately they do. I really don’t think young children should have access to what teenagers and college students are doing. Some teenagers post and write inappropriate messages on their wall, which I feel youngsters should not be seeing.

  • Steve

    When facebook started,you had to be 15.Of course all the kids lied.Can noone rember the precident to join was 15.Everyone’s memory is shot.
    Good for our First Lady.

    • Field

      A few years ago you actually had to be in college to have an account. It was much better that way

  • Jayme

    Parents are decently themselves if they think friending their young teen is enough. Their child can post many photos and not allow their parents to see. If the young teen is new on Facebook the parent needs their password. I would make that a condition of allowing them to be on Facebook.

    Also the first thing I would do is change all of the preferences to friends only because the default is that everyone can see their preferences.

    What can’t be controlled is the chat room. Ur child is legally responsible for anything said on Facebook. There is no room for a mistake. So ur child must be very mature.

  • response

    I see no need for my teens to use a social networking site. Their social life is busy enough in real life without having a virtual one.

  • response

    kelly- I have to ask…you say your 14 year old has one…for her career? what type of career does a 14 year old have?

  • Jayme

    Sorry. That was, parents are DECEIVING themselves….

    (iPhone autocorrect was incorrect)

    Btw, I am the parent of a 14 year old boy and 11 year old girl.

    Keeping the computer time on a schedule and the computer in the open is a great idea. But u can’t control what is going on at domeones house.

    The best u can do is to continue to discuss the great things but also the dangers of using the Internet. In other words, train ur child how to use good decision making when using the Internet.

    • Cynic

      Jayme…I knew you meant DECEIVING !

  • Cynic

    Is there a connection betwen WBZ and FaceBook? BZ seems to make a great effort to ease you onto FaceBook… Why? Is there some incentive for them to push this?

  • plus de facebook likes

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, such as you wrote the e-book in it or something. I feel that you could do with a few p.c. to power the message house a little bit, however other than that, this is wonderful blog. A fantastic read. I’ll definitely be back.

  • servicio tecnico

    rofl where’d ya obtain these fotos from? They look familiar, maybe it’s just another computers trip I’m experiencing, I don’t know lol

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