Does Your First Grader Need A Social Network?

Are your kids on Facebook? Chances are, if they’re not already, they want to be! While kids under 13 are not allowed on Facebook, many underage kids have managed to join by lying about their age.

According to a study by Common Sense Media of more than 2,000 parents, 3 out of 4 parents said they would negatively rate the job social networks are doing protecting kids’ online privacy.

“American families are deeply worried. Privacy is a huge concern,” said James Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media. Steyer says the industry alone will never protect the privacy interests of children and he wants to see lawmakers take action.

Today’s kids are growing up in a world that requires a whole new set of skills—computer skills for school and beyond into the social sphere. So it seems logical that they should understand how social networking works, especially the dangers associated with it. But at what age do we introduce these things? Does a six year old really need a social network?

Togetherville thinks they do. Designed to be a fun and safe social site for kids aged 6-10, Togetherville aims to offer kid-safe communication, privacy controls and parent-controlled friend lists. Kids can play games, create art, and learn new things. There are even Facebook-style status updates called “quips,” that let kids choose from a preselected menu of updates. Once they choose an update, it has to be approved by a parent in order to get posted.

One has to wonder, if kids are managing to join Facebook by lying, perhaps getting them involved in a more controlled environment isn’t such a bad idea…

But at what age do we get them involved? What do you think—do kids aged 6-10 really need a social network?

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