MIT Psychologist, Sherry Turkle, Says Facebook For Pre-Teens Is ‘Agonizing’

“I don’t think this is such a good idea. I think that 13’s and above are having a hard enough time around some of the pressures of Facebook,” argues, MIT Psychologist, Sherry Turkle, and author of Alone Together. Facebook is reportedly mulling a decision to permit children under 13-years-old to join. Mark Zuckerberg, himself, has broached the subject, “my philosophy is that for education you need to start at a really, really young age.”

Yet, Turkle argues, in her research, the “agonizing” burden of a permanent, public reputation is too overwhelming for a young mind. Additionally, “Kids 13, 11, 10, they need to be on the playground,” she says, “Facebook takes time away from being face-to-face.”

Despite the current ban, 38% of 9 to 12-year-olds have managed to sneak on to the social network [PDF] (around 68% with the consent of their parents). When we asked Turkle if it’s better to allow everyone to join and then monitor their activity, Turkle slammed Facebook for not doing enough to prevent pre-teen sign-ups. “Facebook has a position of kind of benign tolerance,” she argues. And, even if parents were encouraged to monitor their children, she says, “I’ve done the fieldwork, parents really aren’t supervising that.”

What do you think? Should pre-teens be allowed on Facebook? Why or why not?