Facebook friends at 4? Faux pas or the new norm?
I received a Facebook request from a four-year-old this week.
That’s right folks, Brett’s four.
Brett’s big sister (at the ripe age of 11) talks so frequently about wall postings, pictures, and her new “friends” that Brett wanted in, too. The melt-downs worked, and, his parents relented. Sure enough, a few hours later, his profile surfaced the Web – with so few privacy settings that I cringed and called his father.
As a public relations professional who frequents Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as a means of social interaction and a resource for client strategy – this new generation of involvement is downright scary – and not just in terms of parenting skills.
A 2010 Kaiser Family Study indicates that kids aged 8-18 spend seven hours a day playing with gadgets like cellphones and the computer, which has led to the increase in social media. The emphasis is no longer on reading (which only accounts for 38 minutes a day) and has shifted towards technology.
Of course, I’m skeptical of the younger generation incorporating social media into their every day transactions and how we’ll keep them focused on growing intellectually and socially. But now we’re talking safety. When you’re four, hopefully you’re on line only when you’re sitting in your parent’s lap – but we know that’s not true. And forget about having the wisdom to know what information to disclose, what to share, and what to hide.
Watch out: If Brett is an indication of the future of his “generation” we’ll have to start teaching computer safety in kindergarten, rather than focusing on coloring in the lines.
I hope society is ready for this. I’m pretty sure it isn’t.
By: Amelia DeCesare
By: Robert Klucevsek