Facebook changes

The 'Facebook' logo is reflected in a young Indian woman's sunglasses as she browses on a tablet in Bangalore. The company is considering lowering its age restrictions. (Manjunath Kiran / May 15, 2012)

The folks at Facebook are thinking about lowering the age restrictions on the site to allow tweens. Officially, the site is closed to those under age 13, but many kids lie about their age to get in. My tween tried it and was kicked off the site. I'm not sure how the Facebook monitors uncovered his deception, but they did.

A Facebook adviser says allowing tweens to join has nothing to do with the company's dismal performance on Wall Street after its stock market debut. Rather, since millions of tweens are already on the site, Facebook wants to make sure they are participating safely and with a parent's supervision, he says.

I think that's idealistic thinking. Any kid who is savvy enough to get on Facebook now is certainly savvy enough to get around the security restrictions with a tween version of the social networking site.  Of course, Facebook will certainly attract new tweens who are willing to play by the rules. Facebook may say it wants to be a good corporate citizen, but allowing tweens on the site also will be good for business.

Personally, I have had my fill with the electronic gadgets that consume my kids' time each day. Now that summer is here, monitoring their online activities seems like a full-time job. I confiscate the cord for the Xbox each day and let them have it in exchange for chores and summer homework.

Sometimes I'd like to lock my kids in a room with a book. But, oh yeah, now their books are on the iPad.