CHILDREN as young as seven are on social networking sites, which police say attract sexual predators and bullying.
An investigation by The Border Mail was sparked by teenagers who said up to 50 of their Facebook "friends" were under the age of 13.
Facebook requires children to be at least 13 before they create a profile, although it is not a legal requirement.
The Border Mail found many Facebook accounts belonging to young Border children, with schools and mental health organisations describing social networking sites as an escalating problem.
Wodonga mother Larissa Douglas said she closely monitored her seven-year-old's Facebook account but was concerned for children whose parents allowed them to access the site when they didn't know how to use it themselves.
Leading Sen-Constable Kevin Mack said Wodonga police received a complaint every day about bullying on social networking sites Facebook, Moshi Monsters and Kik messenger.
"There wouldn't be a day goes by that we wouldn't get a complaint about sexting or social networking," he said.
"The impact that is left in the wake of it is fairly damaging."
Sen-Constable Mack said no child under 15 should have a Facebook page, and parents were ignorant to the dangers children were exposed to on social media sites.
"It's an open slather for (predators) who can access children," he said.
"It's been well documented that grooming happens on Facebook."
"Nothing is safe on Facebook," Sen-Constable Mack said.
"At six and seven, how the hell do they understand that?"
Brad Hick, 16, said he regularly had requests from children as young as eight and young children had access to offensive Facebook pages and conversations on older kids' accounts.
"I don't reckon it will be good for this generation," the Tallangatta Secondary College student said.
"I'm being added by kids who are just changing their birth date; they're adding all the older kids and they're seeing all this stuff.
"One kid (8) has a Facebook page his mum made for him."
Sen-Constable Mack said advertising was a concern as well.
"Facebook has advertising for everything from Viagra to enlargement," he said.
"The stuff Facebook opens up is just uncharted territory for these kids, it's just not right.
"I can't see how a parent can justify their child having access to that."
- Don't share your password with anyone.
- Only accept friend requests from people you know.
- Don't post anything you wouldn't want your parents, teachers or employer to see.
- Be authentic. The real you is better than anything you might pretend to be.
- Learn about privacy settings.
- If you're not happy with a post you're tagged in, you can remove the tag.
- If you want the post taken down, you can ask the person who posted it to remove it - they may not know it upsets you.
- If you need to escalate the issue, you can unfriend or block the person.
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