Do you use Facebook? While it is officially banned for under 13 years, a survey last year showed that almost half of Britain’s pre-teens have a Facebook account. Joanna Bradey tells us what she likes about Facebook.
Facebook: What’s it all about?
Facebook is a website created in 2004 by a US college student Mark Zuckerberg. It started off as a way of college students to network with each other, which quickly spread throughout the world, and now has millions of members. Facebook works by people registering and creating a profile for themselves, and then becoming ‘friends’ with other people. A user can update their status to let their friends know what they’re up to, upload photos to share, send private messages to each other, and play games. You need to be at least 13 years old to be a member, and Facebook is banned in some countries altogether, like Syria and Iran.
The thing that I like about Facebook is that it is a quick and easy way to keep in touch with all those people I have met in real-life but don’t have time to write to or call them, like old workmates or family that have moved away. I can upload a photo and anyone I am friends with can see it, and comment on it. In the days before Facebook, if I wanted to share a photo with everyone, I would have to print out lots of copies and send them in the post, which is very expensive and time-consuming. Since I joined Facebook, I am better at communicating with people and I enjoy seeing what all my friends and family are doing. I think that I know them better and it’s easy to keep-in-touch.
Joanne is one of millions of people who enjoy using Facebook. Why do some parents not allow their children to use Facebook?
There is a very good reason for this.
If you or your friends use Facebook then you might have heard the word “cyberbullying”. You will certainly know what “bullying” is, and cyberbullying is simply the same thing but online, either on your computer or on mobile phone.
Most of us would find it difficult to look someone in the eye and be nasty to them but being horrid online is easier. Cyberbullying is just as hurtful to the person being bullied and can sometimes be worse. If you are bullied at school, then you at least have a safe place to go home to. If you are bullied online then it is more difficult to get away.
A good website to find out about cyberbullying is ThinkUKnow. Just as with real life bullies, there are ways of dealing with bullies. Most important is to tell an adult you trust, even if you are told not to do this. Your parents or a school teacher can help you, you don’t have to face this alone.
The founder of Facebook said last year that he would like to change the rules in America and allow younger children to use Facebook.
What do you think? Do your parents allow you to use Facebook? If they do, have you ever been bullied there?
By Joanne Brady and Lynn Schreiber