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11 posts from February 2010

February 02, 2010

Monitoring your child's Facebook. Do you have time?

   Facebook is a huge topic of controversy in my home these days. I broke down a few weeks ago and let my 12-year old start a Facebook page. The rule is that I must be his friend so that I can monitor what he writes and who he has as his friends. This morning, we are driving to school and my daughter makes a comment about something my son has on his page, some lyrics from a rock song, something about cigarettes and pot. My son explains it's just a song by his favorite band. Of course, I scream out, "Are you crazy?"

But honestly, I'm more mad at myself for not noticing he had it on there. The truth is, I haven't looked at his page in a few days. I forgot to add task that to the other hundred things on my daily to-do list.

  In our struggle as parents for work life balance, I'm quickly realizing that we now not only have to carve out time for keeping up with social media, but we also have to make time to keep up with what our kids are doing. The reality is teens don't really understand the implications of what they post on Facebook. Adults barely understand it. I've seen plenty of 18 year olds with photos and postings that should not be on their pages if they want to impress colleges admissions officers or future employers.

A few days ago, my third grader told me a little girl in his class has a Facebook page. I didn't believe him so we looked for it together. Sure enough, we found it. This eight-year-old girl has 50 friends, many of them are third graders, too. Some are adults. I asked her mom how often she monitors her daughter's page. She explained that becuase she is a stay at home mom, she has time to check it every afternoon and evening. I told my youngest to forget about having a Facebook page for many, many years. In fact, on Facebook's privacy policy, it clearly says the site is geared toward people 13 and older. Here is a website with how to gain access to your child's Facebook account.

Fellow working parents, I put this question out there to you. Have you figured out a way to monitor your child's social media usage without it becoming a huge time drain?