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Friday, December 16, 2011

Parents break rule to help young kids join Facebook

Moms and dads don't know or don't care about age restrictions on websites, study finds

December 14, 2011|By Jessica Tobacman, Special to the Tribune

Nancy Gerstein is a savvy marketing executive who knows a lot about Facebook. She supervises corporate Facebook pages for her company's clients.

So Gerstein had no qualms when her 11-year-old daughter recently told her that she had created an account on the social media site while she was at a sleepover with a friend. She even helped her daughter finish establishing the Facebook page.

"Compared to some of the other things out there, it's fairly innocent. The adult stuff is supposedly blocked," she said. "I know the importance of Facebook."

Gerstein is one of many parents across the Chicago area and the nation who are helping their preteen children get on Facebook despite the company's requirement that users must be at least 13 years old. These parents say Facebook, the world's biggest social networking site, is useful and so popular among their children that it's nearly impossible to stop them from joining.

"It's very difficult to stop something like this when all of her friends are on it," Gerstein said, noting that her daughter and her daughter's friends all have computers. "There's only so much you can do."

Parents break rule to help young kids join Facebook

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