Why Can’t I Have Facebook? (and other questions your child might ask)

“Why can’t I have a Facebook account?” and other questions you may be asked…are really some of the less fun ones we get to tangle with as parents nowadays. As the flurry of platforms lead us towards sharing more and more of our lives online, what are the rules around access and age-appropriate channels? We made a quick guide:

Facebook: Accounts can be opened for people above the age of 13. The rules there are pretty blunt, but there are more than many parents who open up accounts for their children when they’re under age. I’ve noticed recently that Facebook’s been cracking down on this, and closing down accounts made for people under the age of 13, mostly because they’ve been reported.

Twitter: It’s also 13. Instagram: You guessed it, also 13. SnapChat: And hey, look at that: 13.

(On the SnapChat front, Tech Girl put together this great piece for that platform, and listed an alternative too. Check it out here)

Are you noticing a theme yet? There’s good reasons for these age restrictions, mainly because of the access to shared content and a perceived level of user maturity. Of course, there’s a whole new set of lessons to learn there too (for example, learning the difference between a spoof website and a reliable news source!) so get ready to start learning.

Next time your under-13 child asks for a Facebook account, “because everyone else has one”, your answer should be No. And even when they are of the right age, there are rules to be followed, so set them together and remember them.


Cath Jenkin

As a mom, Cath raises her daughter with a strong focus on technology, as she believes that digital literacy is as important as learning to read. With a long history of creating content for online and print publications, and in particular as a parenting columnist, Cath brings her curious mind... Read more

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