Malia. at 13, is just old enough to use Facebook as the minimum age allowed to create an account is 13 (as set by the Children's Online Protection Privacy Act, COPPA), but Sasha at 10, and is yet to reach the qualifying age.
Obama said that he won't allow Malia to use Facebook until she is four years older.
are pointing to the irony and apparent contradiction in his stance from the fact that he relied heavily on Facebook and other online resources to encourage young people vote for him and raise funds during his presidential campaign. This explains why Obama has often been referred to as America's "first social media president." Even now that Obama is seeking re-election, his Facebook page with a total of about 24 million "likes" has been heralded as a key part of his campaign strategy.
Obama, in an interview with People Magazine
, said: "Why would we want to have a whole bunch of people who we don’t know knowing our business? That doesn’t make much sense....We’ll see how they [his daughters] feel in four years."
According to Huffington Post
, millions of American preteens have Facebook accounts. Huffington Post
quotes a New York University survey which says that as many as three in four young Americans say they sought assistance of their parents to get on the site. Many parents defend their decision to allow preteen children on Facebook, saying the site is so widespread that it is unrealistic for them to hope they can keep their kids off the site.
But Obama's critics
have pointed out that in spite of keeping his daughters from Facebook, he did not appear to have any qualms when earlier in the week he used his Facebook page to release the latest official family portrait. The photograph of America's "first family" with the caption "The new Obama family portrait" has drawn 71,000 likes and 11,000 comments. It shows President Obama sitting with wife Michelle, and two daughters, all with big smiles pasted on their faces.
The photograph was not released as an official Christmas card. The official Christmas card released by the family shows an empty room in the White House with the family dog Bo, lying by the fire.
According to IB Times
, there are over 800 million active users of Facebook. Facebook has admitted it has a problem monitoring underage users signing up with false identities.
IB Times approves the action by the president and his wife to keep their children out of Facebook:
"...at a time when there are increasing numbers of crimes against children and social networking sites are proving to be the favored hunting grounds of such criminals, it appears the President and the First Lady are good parents, despite their busy schedules."