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Is my child too young to use Facebook?

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With the rise of the social networking site Facebook, it can be tricky for parents to know whether or not to allow their children to have access to the app.

While it is up to you to decide whether your child is old enough, it’s also important to note that Facebook requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account. Creating an account with false info is a violation of our terms. This includes accounts registered on the behalf of someone under 13.

Age restriction aside,  there are pros and cons to these kinds of sites and as responsible parents, the key is being aware of both and weighing whether or not your child is capable of handling themselves in this kind of situation. There is no one umbrella response that covers all possibilities.

Whether you are comfortable allowing your young child to participate in these sites is entirely up to you.  But if you are considering it, there are some things you should bear in mind:

The era of technology

Our children are growing up in an era of innovative technologies. It’s our responsibility as parents to be aware of this technology so that we can at least have a basic understanding of what our kids are talking about. If your child were going to a party, you would want the relevant details. Well, Facebook is the same thing, only on a much broader spectrum.

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If you do choose to let your child have a Facebook page, set it up together and make sure you set very strict rules for participation. You need to be sure that your child is safe and not being exposed to any content they aren’t prepared to handle, so don’t be afraid to limit who they have as friends and always be aware of their password so that you can access their site.

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Keep track of their profile

Once they are up and running, make sure you keep up with what they post, when they post, and who they interact with. It’s ok to go online and check their page or their friends’ pages. With the potential dangers inherent in sites like these, a little extra caution is a good thing, so don’t be afraid to be nosey.

Watch out for selfies and older friends

Be particularly cautious about allowing them to upload photos and about allowing them to have adult friends. That should be an automatic no-no for any child, much less one as young as 13. It is far too easy for them to fall prey to adult predators and the worst assumption you can make is that they are safe just because they are in your house.

Why Facebook can be valuable to your child

Social networking can be a very healthy and even helpful avenue, particularly for children who have difficulty socialising otherwise, especially in a time of Covid-19 restrictions and social distancing.

More to the point, it is not anything to be afraid of. It is basically the modern version of “hanging out” with their friends, only it’s done in cyberspace instead of at each other’s houses. It doesn’t have to be threatening if handled correctly.

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Make your own decision

Ultimately, the decision about when to let your child participate on Facebook and other social networking sites is up to you. Only you can know what is right for your child. Eventually, you’ll have to face this decision, the best you can do is to make sure you are well informed when you make it; for their sake and yours.

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Take steps to protect your child

The following information is an excerpt on Facebook rules and how to protect the privacy of your children from http://www.pilgrimworks.com/Facebook.htm:

“Facebook has a wide range of privacy settings available, and in general you want all the privacy you can get. Most of the horror stories about social networking involve kids making information public and/or making contact with strangers. The rules below are generally designed to avoid all contact with strangers. The key concept is to use Facebook only to interact with real personal friends.”

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Facebook-Meta Earns the ‘Worst Company of 2021’ Title in This Survey

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Facebook has had its share of controversies this year. The company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents.

Facebook parent Meta has been named the Worst Company of the Year (2021) by Yahoo Finance respondents. According to the publication, an “open-ended” survey was published on Yahoo Finance on December 4 and 5, where 1,541 respondents participated. Facebook received 8 percent of the write-in vote, but respondents were seemingly mad about the Robinhood trading app as well. Electric truck startup Nikola, which was named last year’s worst company by the same publication also faced respondents ire.

Yahoo Finance notes, “Facebook has had its share of controversies this year.” Starting in January, Meta-owned WhatsApp got caught up in a huge controversy after the messaging app announced a new privacy policy (Terms of Service). WhatsApp said it would collect user information and share it with third-party apps for a better user experience. However, the app gave users no choice but later made modifications to the policy under pressure. Similarly, the company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents showing the company’s problematic practices. It was revealed that Meta-owned Instagram had a negative impact on teenage girls, but the company did almost nothing to rectify the problem.

Yahoo Finance even highlights, “At the same time, some critics, including conservatives, say Facebook over-policed the platform’s speech and stifled their voices.” Critics also blame Facebook and other social media platforms for not curbing hate speech that led to Capitol Building riots.

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However, around 30 percent of Yahoo Finance readers said that Facebook or Meta could redeem itself. One respondent suggested that the company could issue a formal apology for negligence and donate a sizable amount of its profits to a foundation to help reverse its harm.

On the other hand, respondents chose Microsoft as the Company of the Year (2021). The Satya Nadella-led company touched the trillion-mark this year and introduced notable upgrades. The most notable is the Windows 11 OS update that succeeds Windows 10.

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Facebook pays 1.7 Cr fine to Russia after failing to delete content Moscow deems illegal

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In the latest legal tussle with Russia over controversial social media regulation laws, Facebook paid 17 million roubles (Rs 1.7 Crore) for failing to remove content deemed illegal by Moscow. With a threat of potential larger fines looming, Facebook parent company Meta, owned by Mark Zuckerberg, is scheduled to face court next week over repeated violations of Russian legislation on content, Interfax News Agency reported. As per the latest updates, the social media giant could be fined a percentage of its annual revenue.

In October, Moscow sent state bailiffs to enforce the collection of 17 million roubles. Meanwhile, as per Interfax report citing a federal bailiffs’ database, on Sunday, there were more enforcement proceedings against the company. Apart from the popular social media app, Telegram has also paid 15 million roubles in fines for failing to comply with the Russian social media legislations that came into force in 2016.

Facebook pays $53k to Russia for refusing controversial social media laws

It is pertinent to mention that Facebook has locked horns with Moscow earlier in November, resulting in it paying 4 million roubles ($53,000) over its refusal to adhere to Russian data localisation laws, the Moscow Times reported. The Moscow court on November 25 had said that Facebook paid the fine levied in February, following which all proceedings against the US-based social media giant. The payment comes against the litigation filed against the company in 2018, alongside Twitter. The tech companies were also forced to pay an additional 3000 rubles ($40) for failing to comply with user data sharing rules as per the law. The Russian authorities have also previously blocked LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, for failing to abide by the laws.

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Russian social media laws

As per Moscow Times, under the Russian social media regulation laws, all foreign technology companies are required to store data related to Russian customers and users on servers located in Russia. Additionally, the Russian tech companies will also have to share encryption data with the federal authorities as well as record user calls, messages and civil society group conversation records. The apparatus is said to be a severe breach of privacy rights and unfettered back-door access to personal data that could be used to harass Kremlin critics.

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

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Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

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