Well, whether we want to admit it or not, Facebook cannot be avoided. According to a July 2010 Globe and Mail article if Facebook were a country it would be the 3rd largest country in the world behind China and India. WOW!!
This social network connects people from all over the world with the click of a mouse and stroke of a key. With over 500 million users the creators of Facebook never could have anticipated the magnitude of this internet phenomenon.
I have a Facebook account and I love it. As a mother of 5 at home with a newborn baby and a husband that usually works in another province I rely on Facebook to keep me in touch with what is going on outside of my mothering bubble.
I look forward each day to see what my FB friends are up too. What people are saying and doing and
what local events are coming up that I can attend if I so choose. I love updating my status with what I am
excited about or with what I am struggling with and having people comment or liking what I have to say. I
like chatting with friends with the instant message feature and it has been the only way to keep up with
extended family that I don’t have time to travel to visit.
Saying all of this I also have to mention that I am a responsible adult who chooses carefully what I
share on FB and what I choose to keep private. So the real question is should our kids, who are not
responsible adults, have Facebook accounts.
Decisions….. decisions….what should we consider before we allow our kids to have a Facebook account or
not have account.
Things to consider:
• Do you have a FB account? (I use my FB account to look at my kids’ FB accounts)
• Do you know enough about FB to make an informed decision? If you do not know about FB I would highly
recommend you do some research and ask someone about it ASAP
because it really can’t be avoided.
• Do you have rules for your child to follow regarding their FB
account? With things like accepting friend requests, posting on
walls and posting pictures, sharing personal information like
phone numbers and addresses. Language used, time allotted,
security settings and on and on.
• If your children have accounts do you frequently go on their
profile and see what they are writing and saying and what others
are saying to them…..remember!!! this is not an invasion of
privacy because it a PUBLIC SOCIAL network.
• Boundaries and restrictions are important. Time limits are
essential for computer and FB use.
• FB and texting is ONE way of communicating. Has it become the
only way your child communicates?
• If our children are communicating without hearing the tone of
voice and seeing the body language are they communicating
• Be aware that FB has been nicknamed Crackbook because it can be
very addicting for some users.
Overall there are lots of things to consider before allowing a child to have a FB account. I could go on and on with stories,
nightmares, crimes committed, crimes solved, family reunions, friend reunions, cyberbullying all because of this Social Network
and household name – Facebook.
Make an informed choice. Don’t allow it solely because it’s the new craze. If you do allow it keep on top of it and take hold
of those teachable moments about people and feelings and communication skills and friends and family.
Understand what they are talking about when they are OMGing and LOLing. Get involved. They’re only kids once.
Shelly Carriere has a Bachelor Social Work Degree from University of Regina. She is married to her husband of seven years
and has five children: three months, three years, seven years, eleven years and seventeen years old.
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