Facebook is one of the fastest growing online social media sites on the Internet today and it may actually be parenting your kids. Before you get all huffy and start to defend your parenting skills and show off the “best parent” coffee mug you got last Christmas, let’s look at a few facts your kids know about Facebook. Your kids probably think Facebook is the best thing to come into their lives since the invention of the information age. Your kids engage in conversations and may say things they would never say in “real life.” Your kids probably spend a lot of time on Facebook with their friends and other people, and may actually spend less time with family members and parents. It’s time to take a closer look at what your kids do on Facebook.
Do Your Kids Prefer a Conversation with You, or Facebook?
Regardless of what popular media, your kid’s friends, or anyone says, you are the parents of your kids and that means you have some basic parental responsibilities. One of those parental responsibiliteis is socializing your kids so they can be a better fit in a bigger society. Imagine if Facebook were a real person, a friend of your son or daughter. How much time is that real Facebook person spending in your home? How much influence does that real Facebook person have on your kids?
If you spend less time with your kids than Facebook, then who has more influence on your kids? Parenting involves actual face-to-face involvement with your kids. If facebook has more face-time, perhaps you should think about just who is parenting your child. When was the last time you sat and engaged with your kids without the TV or Facebook for an entire evening or weekend? At our house, we make a rule that when ever there is someone else in the room, we make ourselves available for conversation to that person. When friends come over, our friends or our kids friends, the computer shuts down, iPods and headphones are put away.
Are Your Kids Willing to Let You Have Access to Their Facebook Account?
For some reason, this is a big question for a lot of parents today. It seems that some parents actually think they are invading the privacy of their own children by asking for access to their kid’s Facebook or other online account. One family who is very close to us experienced a very serious problem recently in regards to hiding information on Facebook. It seems that their child had been conversing with a predator on Facebook for a few years.
If you know anything about how predators operate, you know that they are usually a close friend or relative and they take a long time to befriend, alienate, and indoctrinate their victims in preparation for their sick desires. In this particular case, for several years the parents did not know anything was going on. The young boy insisted they give him his privacy. When they did finally begin to suspect something was indeed wrong, they had their son’s Facebook account hacked to get at the awful truth. That young man is altered for the rest of his life because the parents did not “invade” their child’s privacy and get involved sooner.
You are the parents. It is your sacred responsibility to protect your children from any harm. If your children have nothing to hide from you, access to any online account, including Facebook, should not be an issue. I would even go so far as to say that a strong defense put up by your child to keep you out of their online activities is a red flag. That sort of behavior is usually indicative of a child trying to hide or protect something or someone. Err on the side of caution and check it out.
Do Your Kids Say Things on Facebook They Would Never Say to You?
One of the things that amazes me when I peruse through the pages and posts of a Facebook account are the things people will say in a post. Some folks will say just about anything to get attention, get someone upset, or in an attempt to say what they think is funny. Kids are especially vulnerable to this temptation to share anything on Facebook. Parents should teach their kids about discretion, and that saying something on Facebook and saying something in real life are the same.
As parents, it’s your responsibility to help your child understand what they write on Facebook goes into the ether and stays out there forever, for anyone to see. Recently, some enterprising business people have come up with a software that “polices and edits” Facebook posts before they are sent out there for anyone and everyone to see. As parents, you need to make your kids aware that the things they say now may affect their future efforts to get into a good school, get a job, or even find a husband or wife.
Facebook is likely here to stay and will only become more popular. The problem is not Facebook, the problem is people misusing Facebook for their own intentions. Kids are not going to be able to have the sense of self-protection that is likely to keep them from harm on the Internet. Parents are supposed to be wiser and more experienced. Parents need to use that wisdom and experience to help their kids use any online resource in a positive way. Parents should use Facebook to add to, assist, and complement current parenting style, not as a surrogate parent.
What Your Child’s Facebook Addiction Says About Your Parenting Style
Moms Hack Facebook: Spying or Smart Parenting?
How to use Facebook as a parenting tool