Some psychologists and social science researchers would have you believe that Facebook is turning everybody’s children into drunken stoners. And narcissistic idiots, as well. I’m sure most people have had a parent ask them why they spend so much time on “The Facebook” or “The Twitters.” I know I have.
And though we can debate the various pros and cons of a life spent socially networking until we’re blue in the face, many parents have already made up their minds. And their conclusions may shock you.
According to survey conducted by Missouri’s Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, parents overwhelmingly think that the pros of social media use outweigh the cons. A whopping 83% said that the benefits trump the risks.
And 72% said that “their child’s participation in social networking is good preparation for future work success in a world increasingly dependent on technology.” Over half tought that social media can help their kid become more open-minded, creative, and a better collaborator with others. So, parents think that the benefits of their kids staying connected to the world and becoming familiar with the skills they need to succeed outweigh the possible consequences of giving up a bit of privacy.
That doesn’t mean that parents are oblivious to the negatives of social media use. Parents with younger children are more concerned about things like Cyberbullying (56% of parents with kids aged 12 or younger concerned vs. 41% of parents with kids 13 and older), Depression and social withdrawal (43% vs 34%), and lack of ambition (54% to 41%).
Another interesting question the survey asked involved young kids on Facebook. We recently reported that Facebook was at least considering allowing kids under the age of 13 to join with some sort of parental oversight controls. As of now, Facebook prohibits sub-13 kids from participating on the network – although plenty of underage preteens lie (Facebook has to remove nearly 20,000 invalid accounts a day).
More than two-thirds (68%) of parents surveyed said that Facebook should keep the 13-year-old requirement.[via Kansas City Star]