What age should my kids be before I let them use Instagram, Facebook, and other social media services?

Dear BIS Community,

Age restrictions for popular social media. (Click to see the original)

We have noticed that some students may be using social media services at an early age, and we wanted to share with you some information that is relevant.

Although many people do not know, most social media websites and apps require that kids be 13 to sign up. This is to prevent exposure to inappropriate content, but also because these companies collect a lot of information about their users. This information is often used for marketing purposes, and there are laws in many countries that make this illegal when the users are underage.

In other words, when kids sign up for these services, they are always asked to verify their age. If they are not over 13, they have essentially lied to the service administrators. Please understand that this does not reflect the values of BIS and the IB Learner Profile.

A perhaps more worrying concern is the danger of oversharing. Managing the decisions and the privacy settings of many social networks is a challenge for many adults. When underage kids start to share personal information online, the risk that they will share inappropriately is significant. Please be mindful of this fact as it will affect their peers as well.

Here are some links that may be interesting for you to read:

Please do not hesitate to discuss this with our Principals or myself if you have any concerns or further questions.

Best regards,
Urko Masse