The pre-teen Facebook dilemma

Tribune Review


In a recent girls' group led by Melissa Sullivan at Eden Hall Upper Elementary School, the fifth-grade girls, ages 10 and 11, mainly wanted to talk about something they're not supposed to know much about: Facebook.

Several of them already have profiles.

Pre-teens are supposed to be barred from setting up accounts, but reality differs. According to Facebook rules, users must be at least 13. But, when kids need only to fudge their birth date, getting on Facebook can be easy.

Jason Schultz, co-author of the study published in November 2011 in the "First Monday" online journal, says he wasn't surprised by the results. However, he says that the minimum-age Facebook rule forces parents and kids to lie about their age.