Social media apps like Facebook and Instagram have become a part of everyday life for many.

It’s fine when adults use these apps, as they can think and limit their usage whenever possible.

But when it comes to children using the platform, you can’t say the same. This is why many parents have serious concerns about these apps. As a parent, it’s understandable to have reservations about your child using apps created by a mega-corporation known for violating data privacy and other laws.

The concerns go beyond the reasoning of generational differences. There are specific reasons many parents feel uneasy about Facebook. Let’s break down the key areas.

Data Privacy and Transparency Concerns

One of the primary reasons for parental distrust towards Facebook (Meta) is the company’s secretive data collection and usage practices.

Parents are rightfully concerned about the lack of transparency and user control over their personal information. The platform’s history of data breaches and allegations of sharing user data for commercial purposes have further fueled these concerns, leaving many parents feeling uneasy about their children’s digital footprint on the platform.

Every “like,” share, and comment your child makes on Facebook builds a profile. Advertisers use this data, but there’s a broader worry. This information can be used to manipulate your child’s views or even target them with harmful content further down the line.

How do I protect my child on Facebook?

This takes a mix of strict settings, open dialogue, and staying updated on the latest online dangers. Numerous guides and resources for parents are available.

Promotion of Harmful Content

Another significant factor contributing to parental mistrust is the growing concern over Facebook promoting harmful and divisive content.

The platform’s algorithmic systems have been accused of promoting misinformation, hate speech, and content that can be detrimental to vulnerable users, particularly children and adolescents. According to TorHoerman Law, this has raised concern about the platform’s impact on the mental health and well-being of young users.


Furthermore, research consistently links social media use to higher anxiety and depression rates in teens. Idealized online personas fuel self-doubt. The Facebook lawsuit (mental health) was an eye-opener. According to leaked internal documents, the company knew how harmful its platforms were to teen girls’ self-image.

However, instead of addressing the issue, the company prioritized platform growth and the income it generated. Over 30 US states are now suing the company for knowingly creating a youth mental health crisis in the country.

Lack of Effective Content Moderation

This reason is primarily responsible for the previous two reasons. As a parent, you want to feel confident that your child’s safety is a top priority for the platform. However, the concerns surrounding the company’s inability to handle inappropriate or dangerous content have only increased the parents’ distrust of the company.

Worst of all is how Facebook became a hunting ground for child predators. Fake profiles let them pose as peers or harmless adults to contact kids. Monitoring every post or message your child sees is nearly impossible, even with parental controls. The risks are real: each day, Facebook itself estimates that about 100,000 children experience online sexual harassment on its platform.

Another shocking revelation came when an Apple executive’s daughter was targeted via IG Direct, Instagram’s messaging app. This culminated in the New Mexico attorney general’s office filing a lawsuit against Meta. The lawsuit claims the company’s social platforms provide a haven for child predators.

Moreover, as Facebook’s algorithms prioritize reach and engagement over everything else, it allows hurtful comments and embarrassing images to go viral. This form of bullying is relentless and can deeply harm self-esteem. Additionally, the pressure to participate in online “challenges” can cause serious injuries or even tragic outcomes, as seen with trends like the “Tide Pod Challenge” and others.

How have Meta’s content moderation issues impacted marginalized communities?

The lack of effective content moderation on Facebook (Meta) has had a disproportionate impact on marginalized communities. Hate speech, harassment, and misinformation targeting minority groups have run rampant on the platform, leaving many parents from diverse backgrounds feeling that their children’s safety and well-being are not prioritized.

Meta’s failure to adequately address these systemic issues has further damaged its credibility among parents seeking a more inclusive and responsible social media landscape.

The Time-Sink (and Potential for Addiction)

In addition to the previous concerns, many parents are also worried about the platform’s potential to become a time-sink and lead to addiction-like behavior in their children.

Many social platforms like Facebook and Instagram are curated to keep the user hooked. The endless scroll of updates, the little dopamine hit of “likes”… this creates a powerful loop that can displace more fulfilling activities. For kids still developing focus, this is especially worrisome. Hours meant for homework, hobbies, or face-to-face socializing can disappear into the digital void.


In worst-case scenarios, this pattern develops into an addiction-like behavior, where a teen feels compelled to be constantly online, neglecting other aspects of their life. Studies have shown that prolonged social media use can disrupt healthy habits, interfere with sleep, and contribute to a decline in academic performance.

Addressing this aspect of Facebook’s impact is crucial in your efforts to ensure your child’s digital well-being.

How can parents mitigate the risks of social media addiction in their children?

Parents can mitigate the risks of social media addiction in their children by setting clear boundaries and time limits for screen use. Try enrolling your children in offline activities and hobbies. Foster open communication about digital habits, and lead by example with your screen use behaviors.

In conclusion, parents’ concerns about Facebook (Meta) are understandable and well-founded. The platform’s troubling track record on data privacy, harmful content, and user well-being has eroded trust among families.

But it’s not about making Facebook the villain. The key is informed, responsible use. If you choose to let your child use Facebook, resources are essential – guides on privacy settings, media literacy websites, and, most importantly, open and ongoing communication about the risks.

The goal is to equip yourself and your child to navigate it safely.  By understanding concerns, using the right tools, and having honest conversations, you can help minimize the negatives and focus on the potential benefits.

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