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Four-Year-Olds on Facebook

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Guest blogger Christine: Having been an aunt since the age of nine, I've been through two decades of playthings with my 15 nieces and nephews. From Care Bears to Pound Puppies, Beanie Babies to Build-a-Bear -- eventually the latest trends of faux pets stopped surprising me. That is until Ian, my four-year-old nephew, informed me of his new pet that required feeding, cleaning and would sometimes walk away when he wanted to play fetch.

girl at computer

With visions of pet hair and plastic-bagged poo flashing, I asked where he'd gotten his new friend, secretly worried for the misguided relative who'd brought a noisy living creature into the home of the sister who'd banned loud toys. Ian informed me a fellow classmate had told him where to get his new favorite pet. On Facebook.

Two little preschoolers discussing Facebook apps over Legos.

And I thought accepting my 70-plus dad as a Facebook friend was surprising.

After shaking off the shock, I agreed to create my own little virtual kitty so Ian's pet would have a friend to play with. Then I made him give the phone to my sister -- I needed a little reassurance that Ian wasn't being let loose on a site where you can send friends digital drinks and virtually "poke" your family members. After all I didn't want' him virtually b!*$% slapping Grandpa.

So our virtual pets play together, and on tough days, the gift of a virtual strawberry from a four-year-old is just the pick-me-up I need.

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4 comments so far | Post a comment now
curvymom January 15, 2009, 10:16 AM

I just about freaked when I found out my 9 year old nephew has a myspace. He only has family listed as friends, and my sister maintains his site for him, but I still have a problem with it. It’s set to private, but to set up the account, she had to enter an age for him, and the youngest it could be set was 14. So, it shows his picture and says he is 14. Not good.

ELR January 15, 2009, 11:58 AM

If it’s set to private and Mom maintains the account it’s really no different then playing interactive games with other children on Disney sites…i.e. Pixie Hollow.
And it does provide more family interaction with long distance relatives….if Mom doesn’t have a problem with it you shouldn’t either, curvymom:)
Like it or not…our children are living in a Mac World…monitoring and safety is what a parent needs to do.

Megan January 16, 2009, 4:34 PM

I really do not see a problem with the nine year old using Facebook either. Since his mom is monitoring his usage, it should not really be a big deal. Kids are using all types of technology, so parental controls are very important. I work for kajeet, the pay-as-you-go cell phone service for kids, created from a kids point of view. One of the key features that our phones provide is free parental controls. Many think kids should not have cell phones, but technology is very important today, so just because you did not have does not mean your kids should not.

Ten Tees January 9, 2011, 2:38 PM

Great info! Nice and fun reading. There’s a single thing to offer about funny t-shirts.

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