A Chat Worth Reconsidering?

December 14, 2017

Ever hear “Maybe when you’re older” from your parents? We’re pretty sure you have. Even if it’s super annoying (come on, hear us out!), the idea is that kids should be doing things that are age-appropriate. Makes sense, if you think about it. Super scary movies for a three-year-old? Probably not a great idea. But for a thirteen-year-old? Maybe it’s exciting to watch a spooky movie at that age!

Well, Facebook is now in the middle of this conversation because parents are wondering what the right age is for using Facebook Messenger, or the platform used for chatting with Facebook friends.

“facebook messenger” by Karlis Dambrans via @Flickr

Facebook has always been an option for those thirteen years old and older, but the company has recently started to allow younger kids to use its Messenger (or chat) app. While parental approval is still required (and yes, we know this might not be popular, but parents get to approve the friends on your list), there are still some concerns. Take cyberbullying, for example: what if so-called friends start to bully each other online, where parents and teachers can’t monitor? And then there’s all of the data that Facebook collects—can parents trust Facebook to safely guard their children’s information? It’s a fair question, and Facebook has responded by stating that data will be used to make users’ experiences better … and nothing more.

What do you think? Should parents trust companies like Facebook and allow their kids to use social network sites?