Written by Mary Kay Hoal, marykayhoal.com
Mary Kay Hoal is a nationally recognized expert on children’s social media and online safety. She is the founder and president of Yoursphere Media Inc., which focuses on the family and publishes the kids’ social network Yoursphere.com – sign your kids up today! Mary Kay also offers parents Internet-safety information at YoursphereForParents.com. She has been profiled on CNN, BBC, E!, Fox & Friends, TIME, Lifetime TV, and many others. Mary Kay is a contributor to ABC’s 20/20 as their family Internet-safety expert. For more information, visit http://www.marykayhoal.com.
I’ve written extensively on the topic of children using Facebook, and one of the points that I always come back around to is the fact that a lot of the people and content in Facebook create an online environment that simply isn’t appropriate for children. Sure, risks of online predation and cyberbullying exist almost anywhere on the Internet, but what continues to blow my mind is the fact that despite knowing how many underage children use the social network (7.5 million as of June 2011), Facebook continues to allow pages like Smash or Pass (which I wrote about in March 2011) to exist on their site.
But Smash or Pass is just the tip of the iceberg. The Yoursphere Editorial Team spent a mere 20 minutes searching Facebook for adult-oriented pages and apps using words and phrases that are commonly known among the teen crowd. This means whenever your child feels so inclined, they can use the Facebook search bar to see the same content shown here. Sadly, the filtering software you installed to keep such content away from your family won’t work, and being your child’s friend on Facebook won’t prohibit them from seeing this content either.
We had to cut it off at some point, so just 25 of these pages and apps are listed on Yoursphere For Parents. Click through the links; you’ll be shocked. From these 25 groups alone there are nearly 2 million Likes. You may say like I did, “How could Facebook let this happen when they know so many kids and young teens use their network?” And they want to open up Facebook to the under 13 crowd, really?
If this doesn’t change your mind about allowing your child on Facebook, I don’t know what will.
To see the shocking list of 25 adult-related Facebook pages, click here.