Do you think Pre-Teens should be on facebook?

I read an article this week titled, Should Pre-Teens be on Facebook?  I am not too surprised the announcement that kids will be able to use facebook came just after facebook went public.  Initially, I was saddened by the news that facebook will open up the draining pit that is social media to a younger audience.  But, then I checked out my facebook profile only to see Pre-Teen’s in my ministry’s comments.  According to a Mashable study, ” that 7.5 million children under 13 are already using the social network”. stated that, ” 48% of all teens have lied about their age on Facebook when they signed up. 52% of those teens being 13 years or younger…”  Inevitably, facebook will bring the Pre-Teens into the world of timelines, and status updates, if they already aren’t there.

What does this mean for youth ministry?  Here are a few ways to help parents and pre-teens deal with online identity.

1.  Teach a crash course on facebook.  This something I am looking into this summer.  A lot of the parents I work with already are tech savy, but there are always some that want to “chat” after seeing a facebook status from a child.  I think youth pastor’s need to partner with parents to help teenagers navigate this tricky digital world we live in.

2.  Meet one on one.  I love meeting up with parents to see how I can support their family.  This is a place where I am able to speak into their family if I see an issue.

3.  Write some new policy!   Right now, I have a policy in place to protect my leaders working with grades 8-12, but if facebook let’s pre-teens in I will have to draft up some new policy.  I want to protect my leaders and the pre-teens that they serve.

What do you think?  Should Pre-Teens be on facebook? 

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