If you’ve spent any time around tweens or teens, it might seem that they have disappeared into the on-line world – iPods, mobile devices and lap tops are status quo. Many parents of younger children I’ve spoken with have concerns that on-line activity like social media and gaming will create introverted loners.
Griffin, our 11-year-old, keeps bugging me for a Facebook account. My first my response was no. Gosh, just writing that makes me feel stale. Am I only saying no because of an irrational fear of what might happen? Well, I think I owe him better than that, so I looked into it.
A Pew Study found that “people who regularly use digital technologies are more social than the average American and more likely to visit parks and cafes, or volunteer for local organizations”. That doesn’t sound bad.
As I dig into it, I find more and more reasons to reconsider. I keep finding professors who study the topic endorsing social relations on the internet. At worst, the good outweighs the bad.
So, here are my primary remaining concerns:
1. Marketing. I know, I have a product for kids. But mine promotes literacy, so that makes me O.K., right? I don’t want junk food and bad pop music being pushed on Griffin.
2. Bullying. Well, he hasn’t really had much of that in his life, but I can monitor that even better than what happens outside our home.
3. Kathy. She is against it for now. That is a for sure deal breaker.
4. Griffin is not 13 years old. We would be breaking a rule. I don’t think we would be breaking the law, though. Like, if I let him watch a PG13 movie, would I go to jail? I’m thinking no, but still it is a white lie.
5. I don’t want him to grow up. The psychology behind that could take up a book.
What do you think? Would you do it? He keeps dropping names of kids that have accounts. I even had him show me some profiles to prove it. I’m still not sure. But according to recent research and expert opinions, the question is now becoming “Am I holding Griffin back if I don’t let him have a Facebook account.”