11 Comments

  1. Must admit that this makes a lot of sense to me. Certainly self censorship seems to be something many adults I’ve seen in my stream seem to struggle with – Kids say things they don’t mean. I’ve had “younger” people post on my wall in the heat of the moment which have only served to make them look naive. Do they want years of that sort of thing hanging over them.

    Weirdly in another way I feel that its not a bad thing for kids to be disconnected from one another online. Otherwise it becomes their “go to” place to speak to friends. No more playing outside etc.

    Finally and possibly most controversially many of the people I went to school with/was friends with were fairly big idiots who ruined their lives before the age of 20 – if I’d been more connected with them might I have been led more astray? Re-connecting now they’re all doing ok and it’s nice to hear they’re getting back on track – but when I left school at 16 did I want them to know what I was up to? No way! Be interested on anyone’s thoughts on that.

  2. Interesting points here, although I also think there is a very valid counter argument and it’s not an easy yes or no question. I think it’s very much a decision that depends on the maturity of the individual child and the nature of the parent’s relationship with the child.

    By excluding your child from Facebook, you don’t stop friends posting images of them, or identifying those images by name, or forming groups to bully your child. You just make it much harder for you or your child to know that that behaviour is going on.

    Facebook isn’t an optional extra for many young teens – it can be a core channel of communication, and cutting a child off from being part of that comes with its own social problems that the child will need to find ways to deal with.

    Lastly, many parents of young teens are not particularly digitally aware, and while they may put a blanket ban on Facebook, there is nothing to stop their child signing up at a friend’s house, or increasingly, via mobile devices. This leaves them vulnerable, away from the protection and guidance of their parents and less likely to seek help when they need it.

    I am really on the fence on this one, but thought it might be interesting to present another side of the issue.

    1. I do see your point, but I still view it as not a world for a child, peer pressure is tough but if things are explained to children clearly they understand, mine doesn’t feel left out by not having Facebook. If you are clear, children accept things with confidence. We all have mobile phones these days, and as Alex mentions bringing children offline is no bad thing. My experience with teenagers is still to come, (yikes!) and going with what I have seen, communication between parent and child is a vital tool here, so cutting out a way another way they converse with their friends can be no bad thing.

  3. I was letting my 10 year old play games on my facebook account and one of my acquaintances got angry at her boyfriend and spewed all manner of nasties on his wall which prompted my son to ask me what two of those words meant, which resulted in an very awkward conversation. Not “friends” with her anymore (at all) and he’s allowed to play games on a profile I made under one of my dogs. He’s not using it for social activities at all. His school has set up something for that, which I suspect is being monitored and I should probably pay close attention to, especially now I read this article. Thank you!

    1. Ouch that sounds awful! I hope he was okay! As much as the internet is commonplace we still need to be careful of what our children view, it’s ongoing, you sound like you’re doing a great job though 🙂

  4. Interesting that just to hear Facebook mentioned, realistically would these reasons apply to other social networks too? (Like MySpace etc) Would you be happy letting your kids use social networking if you knew it was safe for them? (Like the GLOW network used in Scottish Schools)

    I’d also say the CEOP website has a lot of great advice for any parents who have concerns about their child’s safety online. The FAQ’s there are really useful. http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/Parents.

    1. Facebook is mentioned because it is on trend at the moment, (I think even the kids know Myspace is on it’s way out) my children won’t be on G+ or twitter. It’s not a world for children, just as I got left outside the pub as a child with a packet of crisps and a lemonade, my children are left out of this adult world. I think the danger with Facebook is that people do not think it’s bad it’s practically a household name. Most people use it as a valuable communication tool, myself included and as a wicked Caveat to this post my job would not exist without Facebook, however proper tuition is vital for anything online. Great link for helpful tips there Kelly, thanks for posting that.

  5. I agree with you 100% !It is a part of our lives but not such a major part that we would cease to exist with out it.. (although some people think they would).
    Where were we 3 years ago before FB got huge? ..I imagine spending more time with our kids and family than working on farmville.

    By overly “connecting” our kids we eventually become “disconnected”.

  6. From a purely personal point, two of my little cousins, (both girls, both 13), are on Facebook. I don’t like it. I often wonder what their security settings are like on pictures and stuff. The other week one added pictures she had done with her friend on a photo shoot. She looked older than me in it! I’d hate to think they were ‘public’…

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