I get why Facebook is considering opening its doors to kids under the age of 13, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. It’s another market. More money.
But what’s in it for the parents? Is there a payoff to allowing their 10-year-old to join Facebook?
I suppose one could argue that once that world of social media has been kicked open, a parent plugging in a kid is similar to signing them up for art classes or tee ball. It’s socialization. Digital socialization, but still socialization, and not letting them online is the equivalent of never letting them out of the house to play with their friends.
But that’s a stupid argument.
A better argument for letting your kid join would be allowing them to “friend” family members spread across the country, or beyond. They could see pictures and hear tales of aunts and uncles, cousins close and distant. It could foster digital belonging and community in a world of increasing physical distance between loved ones.
So, yeah, that’s a better argument.
But, seriously – if you’re a parent to an 11-year-old who says, “Mom/dad, may I join Facebook?” what is your incentive to say, “Sure!” Is this your chance to play Mafia Wars with the next generation of social media users?
I’m posing a question, but I don’t have an answer. Facebook for kids: what’s in it for the parents?
Find Dave Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.