Posted by Madeline Lumley
We’ve all heard it before: The younger generations are able to learn how to use new technologies and social media quickly. I mean –pick up a new smart phone or sign up for a new social media site and understand how it works in five minutes– quickly. I see some truth in this stereotype, and lately, I’ve noticed this ability to adapt becoming more prevalent in people even younger than myself.
But how young is too young?
It seems like kids are getting cell phones or signing up for Facebook and Twitter at younger ages than ever before. My 6-year-old cousin, for example, received an iPod Touch for Christmas. She then found and downloaded a texting app without any help, and has been texting my family members and me ever since. Granted, the messages aren’t grammatically correct and include an average of 30 emoticons, but that isn’t the point. While this is only one case, I know my cousin is not the only first grader to do this. She texts multiple other little girls from her class who either have cell phones, or use the same texting app she does. I never expected I would have to tell the little kids I’m babysitting to stop texting, turn off their phones and go to bed.
What about social media?
The terms of agreement listed on Facebook state that you must be at least 13 years of age to create an account. Although it wouldn’t be difficult for the youngsters to lie about their birthdays while signing up (and I’ve seen my fair share of middle school kids with accounts), I wouldn’t recommend it. Because of this rule, you might think those tech-savvy tots are out of luck. However, it turns out they now have a social media site of their own. It’s called Togetherville, and children ten years old and under can sign up and create a page for themselves.
According to the website, “Togetherville mimics adult social networks in a kid-appropriate way,” and promises to be a safe place for kids to play games, post pictures, keep in touch with friends and other fun activities.