Find the best for your family

See what's streaming, limit strong violence or language, and find picks your kids will love with Common Sense Media Plus.

Join now

Facebook

Website review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
Facebook Website Poster Image
Huge social site connects, serves ads; check settings.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 206 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 568 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids 13 and older can learn how to communicate with each other online, keep in touch with friends, and express themselves. Teens also can learn basic information about nonprofit organizations and businesses since many of them have pages. Another plus: Facebook can help teens understand social networking, a skill that will put them in good stead for the future. Though, for the most part, there isn't much explicit educational material, kids and parents can use Facebook to practice digital citizenship and safely explore what it has to offer.

Positive Messages

Users can click on a thumbs-up icon to "like" comments or pages. User-submitted content runs the gamut of uplifting to disturbing. As Facebook has expanded, it has managed to stay fairly benign, but predatory and unsavory users do exist.

Violence

Facebook says it will remove content that glorifies violence or celebrates the suffering or humiliation of others but may allow graphic content that helps raise awareness about issues. The site adds a warning label to particularly graphic or violent content, which is then not available to people under the age of 18.

Sex

Users can post content (photos and language) with lots of sexual innuendo and more, but, in most cases, nudity isn't allowed, so they won't see more than women in bikinis or lingerie. But the site notes its policy on nudity has changed over time; Facebook now allows some images of breasts, primarily without the nipple area shown, in posts meant as a form of protest, for example, or for educational or medical reasons.

Language

Users frequently swear and sometimes bully each other, but there's no profanity inherent to the site itself. Also, hate speech isn’t allowed on Facebook, according to its community standards, except for certain instances, such as when it's meant to raise awareness or educate others.

 

Consumerism

Ads encourage users to shop at online stores, join dating sites, and "like" various pages to get free samples or other offers, but be aware that your actions could be shown alongside the company's message -- and your profile may appear, too. Advertisers also use information about what you and your friends like to determine which ads you'll see when you're on the site.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Prohibits posts that promote the sale of tobacco, firearms, or alcohol-related content. Users can post alcohol references or photos on personal pages; some drug-related pages on legalizing marijuana and other topics also exist.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Facebook is a popular social-networking site (and app -- our review references key points relevant to both) where users connect with people of their choosing -- either privately or publicly -- and post pictures, text, or videos. Users also can watch videos, post and tag photos, share favorite product information, "like" favorite celebrities and social causes, live-stream video with Facebook Live, connect with goods and services, and live-chat via Messenger, an app that's integrated with Facebook. Budding game developers may also appreciate the chance to express themselves and share their creations through Facebook's downloadable gaming platform and/or the gaming section of the site.

Though the app itself doesn't generate iffy content, users can create plenty, so the content in a teen's feed is dependent on friends, and they can search for somewhat racy stuff -- and find it. Teens can also watch livestreams of people playing video games on a part of the site called "fb.gg." Facebook has pledged restrict hate speech, which it defines as a direct attack on people based on what's called protected characteristics -- race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disease or disability. In some instances, though, the site says it will allow content relating to hate speech -- if, for example, someone shares it for the purpose of raising awareness or educating others, or if it's contained in humor and social commentary. Facebook also had said it's undertaking a number of steps to prevent fake news from being distributed on its network, including utilizing third-party fact-checking organizations, machine learning, and trying to make it more difficult for people who post false news to buy ads. On the Safety page, parents can access directions about setting up a secure account, read about how to prevent online bullying, and get parenting tips around helping kids use social media responsibly. There's also a Youth Portal that's meant to help teens understand how to use the site, control their information, and protect their privacy and safety. On the Watch tab, users can watch all kinds of content (viral videos, sports, news, comedy and more); some is Facebook-created and some produced by major media companies. Users who have entered their age as 18 or older can access Facebook Dating which can be used to create a profile separate from your regular one, sort through potential matches based on your preferences, establish Secret Crushes (if your crush chooses you, too, you get matched), and integrate Instagram posts. Because the privacy settings are layered and change often, it's important for users to check their settings and make sure they are only sharing with their intended audience. Consult the privacy policy regularly to confirm the types of information collected and shared; it includes personal information being shared with advertisers.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bychildrenmatter July 26, 2011

Increases your child's risk of viewing pornography

Hacking and phishing is a big concern on Facebook. Who has not seen the "I can't believe her father walked in on this" (or some similar title) v... Continue reading
Parent of a 5, 8, 12, 14, 16, and 17 year old Written byMissBridgette July 3, 2010

I wouldn't recommend this site

Even though, I myself do own a facebook. I am absolutely against the use of it for my children in my house until age 15, with one rule... You friend me. I know... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byilenee. February 10, 2011

not a great idea.

I think that if you let your kids have a facebook, thats great and stuff, but you also have to think about the privacy and how much time they're going to s... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old March 26, 2011
I have Facebook - as do a lot of my friends. I understand why they have the set age of 13, but if you're 12 or even 11 for that matter, Facebook is fine! Y... Continue reading

What's it about?

To sign up for FACEBOOK, you need to be at least 13 and have a valid email address. Once you have an account, you can "friend" other users whose posts will appear on your Timeline. Through the settings, you can choose to have your account accessible to everyone, only to friends, or a custom group. You can also select what personal information is shared with others, choose whether your profile is available via a Web search, and delete posts from your Activity Log. "Liking" a product or celebrity profile will make related posts appear on your Timeline -- and will fuel targeted advertising. Because others can "tag" you in their posts, it's possible to adjust settings around being tagged and approving those posts on your own Timeline. Parents can use tagging to create a Scrapbook of their kids' photos, and users can create secret groups that are undiscoverable without an invitation. Users with Windows 7 or later can download Facebook's developer-focused Gameroom desktop platform, introduced in 2016, to share and play games; in March 2019, Facebook began rolling out a new gaming tab in its main navigation bar, where users can watch gaming videos, find information about games, and connect with developer and other groups. In addition to posting on the site, users can use Facebook's Messenger app -- which is integrated into Facebook -- to chat with others. It's also possible to live-stream video and watch others' live streams. As of 2017, users can choose to only share a live stream with friends or use "Live With" which allows two users to stream jointly from two different accounts using a picture-in-picture format. Videos will be posted on the user’s page or profile after they’re finished; users can select who’ll see the video before or after it’s done. If you go live, you can also use a feature called Lip Sync Live to choose from the available songs, lip sync, and even add someone else in the video. Creators can make games shows like HQ Live Trivia Game Show via Facebook Live, where users can participate in real time to try to earn real money.

Is it any good?

As one of the biggest and most enduring social networks, this site and app have a number of aspects that users may find attractive -- including various ways to interact and stay in touch with acquaintances, ranging from responding to posts they make to text-based chatting and live video capabilities. But it's important to know the ins and outs before your teen starts posting. Though lots of teens are now only using Facebook as one of many methods of communicating, it's still relevant, continues to innovate, and keeps adding more features, like Facebook Dating. In recent years, gaming has been a focus; the site added a desktop gaming platform a few years ago, and as of spring 2019 was in the process of introducing a dedicated gaming tab. It can be difficult to keep up with all of Facebook's acquisitions and new capabilities, so it's a good idea to check settings periodically and have an account of your own to stay on top of things. As always, posting publicly, oversharing, and cyberbullying are concerns with social media, and with the addition of live-streaming in 2016, it's even more important to talk to teens about what's appropriate to share -- particularly because murder and suicide videos have been posted on the site in the past. Facebook has also come under criticism recently for allowing false information to be shared as news; the site says it's cracking down on its use, but it's possible teens could come across some.

Users will see ads as they scroll through their newsfeed that are chosen based on posts they make and other factors; you can click on the corner of an ad for an explanation of why you're seeing it, and opt to hide all ads from that advertiser, but you can't completely block ads from being shown. Other potential concerns include reports that some users have noted they couldn't delete the app from their phones, meaning it could be impossible to rid a device of the social network, if someone wants to. Also, since so many parents use Facebook, it's worth thinking about the digital footprint you're creating for your kid; in fact, many kids don't want endless pictures and videos of themselves shared with the world -- so be sensitive to the information trail you're leaving for your child.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how to responsibly use social-networking sites -- and how to react if someone (even a good friend) posts something inappropriate on your Timeline. (Parents should get up to speed on Facebook so they have a sense of what kids are doing on it.)

  • Discuss privacy settings. Because Facebook makes frequent changes, it's a good idea to sit down with your teen for periodic profile reviews. Pay close attention to the privacy settings and which posts, photos, and personal information are visible and to whom.

  • Use the information in the Youth Portal to talk with your teen about how to use this -- and other -- social networking sites and apps safely and responsibly. 

Website details

For kids who love hanging out online

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate