Warning: These are MY points of view. If you disagree with them, that's fine, but please keep them to yourself.
This weekend my son, The Bug, turns 9, his last year before double digits, and as he's grown older I've become a little more sensitive to him and his use (and future use) of the internet.
Over the last year I was stunned to find several of my friends, who have children younger than 13, allow their sons/daughters to establish Facebook presenses. How did I find out about this? They sent me friendship requests. Needless to say I was stunned! Not only at these children, but at their parents who have allowed this. And yes, the parents knew about it and gave their blessings.
Yesterday a friend came over and told us about how his girlfriend's
child of 9 goes onto these chat boards on the internet. I was horrified!
I understand that Facebook and the internet at large is the best way to keep in contact with loved ones, but so few have any knowledge of privacy settings or consider the implications of posting certain things up. There are trolls and dangerous individuals out there who prey on the innocence and lack of comprehension children have regarding such actions. Regardless of how things are set up on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pintrest, etc., there is still the ability to completely fabricate who you are and what you intend towards others. Children do not get this. Maybe some do, but, really, I'm not going to trust some stranger over the internet to converse with my child, whom I do trust.
My son is NOT on Facebook and DOES NOT have email, etc. His computer is in the livingroom so I can keep an eye on what he does, which, thank the Universe, is play video games on it.
These situations also stirred up long held in feelings about people using their children, or other people's children, as their Facebook Avatars, etc. I understand the exhilleration of having a new child and wanting to let everyone in the world know, posting photos the the newborn and details up on Facebook, etc. It's euphoric to be a new parent, and maybe that, coupled with sleep deprivation, caused the new parent to not consider the implications of posting that information up on the internet for everyone to see. I'm glad that Facebook was born the same year and month as my son, not getting real huge momentum until later, thus the temptation to post about my child, etc., wasn't there.
As many of you know, I very rarely, if ever, post any photos of my son, and I never reveal his name. I don't use his image as my avatar on Facebook. If I do post photos of my son they are sent to only those I've chosen to send them to through my privacy settings. If I post about my son, I don't mention his name - EVER.
My son is entitled to have privacy. My experience on Facebook and the rest of the internet is mine, not his. When he is interested, and my husband and I deem he's responsible enough and old enough, then he will be allowed an email address and to go on Facebook. But one thing's for sure, I will honour and respect Facebook's guideline that no one under 13 is allowed on. That, I believe, is one smart thing that Facebook has done.
Award Winning Author
- Karen Dales
- Karen Dales is the Award Winning Author of "The Chosen Chronicles" which include "Changeling: Prelude to the Chosen Chronicles," "Angel of Death: Book One of the Chosen Chronicles," and "Shadow of Death: Book Two of the Chosen Chronicles." She is currently at work on "Thanatos: Book Three of the Chosen Chronicles" and a Historical Romance set in Edo Japan.
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