Cross posted from my social media blog-its a relevant discussion for this audience too.
As the parent of one tween (10.5 who will be 11 in two months) and an 8.5 who wants to do what her big sister does – social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc., are sources of big concern for me -and I know a lot about them. Â Which seems to put me well ahead of my peers who are parents confronting these issues.
To fully understand the issue I (and other parents of tweens today) face, you need to understand the landscape. Â Chances are if Â you are reading this blog, you do, but for the sake of clarity:
At school, softball, camp-pretty much any place more than three kids gather, eventually the conversation turns to Facebook, texting, YouTube and any one of a myriad of social games. Â Now, like many parents I am guilty of enabling this conversation by outfitting my kids with the iPod Touch, which opens up the magic of the app store to them. Â I am aware of at least three apps that my girls and their friends use regularly that are not compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Â And these are the ones I worry most about.
Through the age of 13 (which is why its the magic number for Facebook, YouTube, Twitter etc) COPPA provides some rigorous rules about how kids under 13 are treated on websites. Â Speaking as someone who has had to consider COPPA compliance – it’s not treated lightly in large companies. Â I can see in some start-up environments though there being more of a “let’s wait to see if someone complains” attitude.
Basically, COPPA provides strong content guidelines and enforcement as well as protections against the collection of PID (personal identification). Enforcement ofÂ COPPA falls on theÂ Federal Trade Commission.
So back to my parenting conundrum. Â Both of my kids (more so 10.5) have friends who are on Facebook, regularly post videos to YouTube and are on social gaming sites like Second Life etc. Â My kids, not so much. Â They have email, I let them on Opionaided (it is COPPA compliant) and they can play social games targeted at tweens that are COPPA compliant.
But the battle continues. Then comes the part that confuses me, although I know it should not. Â Since becoming a single parent, I am more apt (perhaps more open) to talking with other parents at school events, temple, parties etc. – and they seem unaware of the kind of information their children are sharing on social networks.