I worked as a counsellor last year at an American camp, primarily with under 13s, most of which had Facebook. Below I questioned one of the smarter children I met. I don’t think his answers are particularly telling and I’d have to provide some follow up questions to get a more complete picture.
The main points to take away:
- He has over 15 friends on Facebook he’s never met.
- A parent checks his Facebook account daily.
- He hasn’t learned how to use the privacy settings made available.
- He joined 3 years before he was legally allowed.
- He joined because of peer pressure.
- Primary value lies in being reminded of Birthdays.
How old are you?
I am 12
When did you join Facebook?
I joined Facebook at 10
Why did you join?
I joined, to be honest, it was the cool thing to do (peer pressure)
How many of your friends were on Facebook when you joined?
65 Friends (approx.) were on Facebook
You have almost 200 friends now. Roughly what percentage of these are over 18 years old?
13.2% people are over 18 (25 people)
How often do you visit Facebook?
Three times a day (mostly on phone)
If Facebook shut down tomorrow, how would you communicate with your friends online?
Twitter, foursquare, email, buzz, text, call, talk, write letter.
How many of your friends have you never met in real life?
185 people or 97% or 98% I met in real life
Have you or a parent looked at and modified your privacy settings?
My mom controls everything daily
What’s the best thing about Facebook?
Best thing is that I’m reminded of birthdays
What’s the worst thing about Facebook?
The worst thing is that people know when you’re on so there no way of avoiding the chats or messages when you really don’t want to talk to the person. And then I can’t go offline because I want to chat to other people.