These examples represent only a subset of the risk the network poses. I don't think Facebook is "bad." My company and I benefit from Facebook and other social media tools every day. I think Facebook is an extremely useful social tool for adults and older teens that have the cognitive ability and life experience to use the network responsibly.
Social media came at us like a landslide. Most families haven't been educated about its power and pitfalls, its rules and ramifications. I want every family to have that opportunity. I want parents to be involved in their children's online choices armed with a full understanding of the issues. I want children to be empowered through social media by learning the importance of responsible digital citizenship, by understanding what online privacy means, and by being a part of an age-appropriate and supportive social network. Then, with peace of mind and parental involvement, our children can graduate to the adult-intended networks like Facebook.
This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.
A Statement From Facebook:
Facebook has a clear policy that only people over the age of 13 can use the service. However, recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is to implement age restrictions on the Internet and that there is no single solution to ensuring younger children don't circumvent a system or lie about their age. We appreciate the attention that these reports and other experts are giving this matter and believe this will provide an opportunity for parents, teachers, safety advocates and Internet services to focus on this area, with the ultimate goal of keeping young people of all ages safe online.
We agree with safety experts that communication between parents/guardians and kids about their use of the Internet is vital. We believe that services such as Facebook have a role to play in encouraging this. Our recent announcements around social reporting and our family safety center are testimonies to our ongoing efforts to ensure we are giving detailed and helpful advice to help support these conversations. Just as parents are always teaching and reminding kids how to cross the road safely, talking about internet safety should be just as important a lesson to learn.