SAN FRANCISCO -- Most American parents keep tabs on their kids' activity on Facebook, but a significant percentage also say they are hands off.
That's according to a survey from the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future at USC.
Nearly two-thirds of parents monitor their children's Facebook visits and nearly half have their passwords.
But three out of 10 parents said they let their kids handle their social media activities. One of the major reasons: trust. Either parents said they trusted their kids or they didn’t want their kids to think they didn’t trust them. Nearly one out of 10 parents said they did not monitor their kids because they do not know how to use Facebook and 7% said they just don't have time.
Welcome to the challenges of being a parent in the digital age, said Jeffrey I. Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future.
"It's every parent’s dilemma to know when to trust their children," he said in a statement. "In the last five years, we have seen many new issues about parenting and technology evolve that previous generations never encountered."
Kids are logging onto social media sites at younger and younger ages, causing concern among parents and consumer watchdogs. Parents in the survey said the proper age to create a Facebook account is 15.
The debate on how young is too young to join Facebook has been raging for some time. Facebook in the past has considered allowing kids younger than 13 to join the service with parental supervision.
The Menlo Park, Calif., company currently bans anyone under age 13. Yet an estimated 7.5 million preteens — most of them under age 10 — are already using the service, many with their parents' help and approval.