How Young is Too Young for Social Media in Tampa?
Social media in Tampa Bay has become the preferred way to spread the word about businesses, to revive old friendships and spark new ones. Facebook, especially, has also taken off among younger users – and we mean young.
The official age to get a Facebook account is 13 – but there are challenges to that both in the U.S. and abroad. The social network’s own founder, Marc Zuckerberg, said he would like to see the age requirement drop. Of course he does – it translates into profit. Facebook has no vested interest in alienating its younger users: one poll shows 20 percent of all users are teens – a sizable chunk.
The Associated Press reports, “Though Facebook bans children under 13, millions of them have profiles on the site by lying about their age. The company is now testing ways to allow those kids to participate without needing to lie. This would likely be under parental supervision, such as by connecting children’s accounts to their parents’ accounts.”
While Facebook is a staple of social media in Tampa, and a wonderful, FREE business tool, it brings with it a tangled web of controversy we cannot ignore.
Don’t Mix Business with “Friend”-ship
You want to increase your business presence through social media in Tampa Bay, but don’t let the young people in your life become a liability.
Do you really want your friends’ kids becoming fans of your product or service? If you do, you need to fine-tune your marketing efforts for that demographic with the help of a social media expert.
Do you really want potential customers to see your shirtless nephew and his party-hearty pals pop up as “People You May Know?”
A few things to consider:
- Work those friendship categories.
- Hide posts by anyone in your life whose posts might taint your image, however tangentially.
- Weed through your contacts regularly.
- Friend, and accept friend requests, judiciously.
Now Let’s Get Personal: How Young is Too Young for Facebook?
In a recent online survey, 34 percent of respondents said 13 is an appropriate age to open a Facebook account; 29 percent said 14 should be the minimum age; 19 percent said it should be raised to 18. Just five percent said ages 7 to 9 are OK.
How can this be? It is no surprise when you break down survey respondents by age.
Younger respondents (hello?) support lower age limits in droves.
Don’t Let Social Media in Tampa Hurt Someone You Love
Social media in Tampa poses great risks to teens and tweens. Cyber-bullying is on the rise. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has declared this phenomenon the number one online risk for youth – even before online sexual predators!
According to the Internet safety group Enough is Enough, 43 percent of teens aged 13 to 17 say they have been cyber-bullied in some way within the past year.
Fights and even killings occur over vendettas and rumors – trash talk among teens and tweens on Facebook. Parents get entangled, too: in late May, the mother of a 14-year-old target of vulgar posts (sent by a Friend of a Friend) spotted the instigator in a mall and, enraged, put a chokehold on him. She was charged with child abuse and sent to jail. Her husband said she “snapped.”
Reduce the Risks
The takeaway is that parents should carefully weigh the risks of letting children get a social media account, and monitor their child‘s activities daily (an interesting aside to the news story above: the mother of the taunted girl said she is the one who saw the vulgar insults while monitoring her daughter’s account; the mother of the alleged perpetrator said she does, too, but noted that he must have deleted the offending posts before she saw them). Food for thought.
Put Your Social Media in Expert Hands
If you are a business owner who wants to grow your social media presence, don’t let the headlines deter you. Facebook is a great tool. But like fire, it can be used for good or for bad. You need to know what’s safe, what’s productive and what will just plain hurt your efforts. The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone. Contact the experts at Personalized Marketing for careful, powerful and targeted social media.
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