The reason the age minimum of many social sites and apps is 13 is because of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which protects kids from marketing come-ons. Many kids easily bypass the age restriction by simply registering with a false birth date, or they can get your permission to sign up.
Common Sense Media advises kids to wait until they're 13 for both safety and privacy reasons, but if you decide to allow your kids to join, talk together about how they'll use the service and bring up any concerns either of you has. Familiarize yourself with the service – you can sign up, too – so you can understand what your kid is seeing and doing online.
Stay involved, and help them follow these five guidelines:
– Use privacy settings.
– Think before you post.
– Be respectful.
– Call out cyberbullying if you see it.
Know that anything you post online can be hard to take back and can be shared and used in ways you didn't intend.
Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsense.org.