How Old Do You Have to Be to Have a Facebook Account?
Let’s face it — Facebook is ubiquitous. It is the most popular social networking site by far, so much so that major life events don’t seem real until they’re posted as a Facebook status update. Whether or not you like Facebook, approve of social networking, or think Facebook has a good or bad influence on people, it is here to stay.
Because Facebook is everywhere and “everyone has a Facebook account”, most kids want to join. Facebook was once meant for college students and professionals but the scope has expanded to include most people. So is there an age restriction for Facebook?
Facebook’s Age Restriction
That’s quite a mouthful. What it says is :
- You must be at least 13 years old to join Facebook
- If you are under 18, you must be enrolled in secondary school (high school) or college
Most people probably don’t realize that this age restriction exists. Also – isn’t it interesting that Facebook won’t accept people under 18 if they’re not in school? Seems like a random restriction to me, but who knows …
Penalties for Lying About Your Age
Nothing serious is going to happen to an underage person if they register for the site and lie about their age. The worst that can happen is that they’ll be banned from the site. It says in Facebook’s “policies” section that “By using the service or the site, you represent and warrant that you are 13 or older and in secondary school or college, or else that you are 18 or older, and that you agree to and to abide by all of the terms and conditions of this Agreement.”
No, you’re not gonna get arrested if you register for Facebook illicitly, but if the site finds out about it, they will ban you.
Facebook Alternatives for Kids
It is important that your kid learn how to use the Internet properly. The Internet is a major part of my life, and it is sure to be a big part of your children’s future. Learning to use a social network responsibly is much like learning to write a check — you don’t want them doing it now, but you know they’ll be doing it in the future and they should learn to do it right.
Kids don’t have to miss out on all the social networking fun — but they should be doing it at a “kid specific” site. You don’t want your ten year old kid on the same social network as most of my friends, let me tell you. Here’s a few kid-friendly social networking alternatives to Facebook.
ClubPenguin.com — with over 25 million members (none older than 13) this is an up and coming big hitter in kid’s social networking. Lots of innocent fun and plenty of monitoring by adults.
KidSwirl.com — vaguely Facebook-like but heavily moderated.
WhyVille.net — more like a “Sims” style game. Kids pick avatars and chat under the usual heavy moderation.