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How young is too young for Facebook?

Q. I know you've said in the past that younger kids shouldn't be on Facebook. However, I recently saw the news story you posted that said millions of kids are already on Facebook with their parents' approval. Does that change your mind? My 12-year-old son wants to get on Facebook and this will help me decide. Thanks!
-Lisa from Wichita Falls, TX, listens to my national radio show on 1290 AM


A. I had a feeling this question would come up, and I'm glad it did. This is a topic that parents need to take seriously. So thank you for asking, Lisa.

Researchers at several prestigious organizations - including Microsoft Research, New York University, Northwestern University, Berkeley and Harvard - recently collaborated on a study. They polled more than 1,000 households with children between 10 and 12 years of age. Of those, 55 percent of 12 year olds were on Facebook. Additionally, 32 percent of 11 year olds and 19 percent of 10 year olds were also on the site.

Overall, an estimated 8 million children under 13 are on Facebook. That's a startling 1 percent of Facebook's user base.

This study surveyed parents. So, in actuality, it only counted the children whose parents know they're on Facebook. It's impossible to project how many children are signing on secretly.

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