Posts Tagged ‘Facebook for kids’

Facebook for Kids? NO

January 31, 2012

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Parents are humans. They make mistakes. Dealing with colds, homework you forgot how to do but have to help your kids with and (gasp) the fact that kids cost a fortune can’t be easy. Thus, I forgive the many misguided parent who says – “my child is on Facebook and I’m worried.” Young grasshopper parent, let me school you.

If your child can still be referred to as a child…they ought not to be on Facebook. Decoded: If your kid is under 13, Facebook is NOT for them. Am I a prude? Sure. Is this a smart suggestion? Double sure. The offline world is barely safe enough for adults – much less the online world for kids. As for Facebook for those under 13? Its akin to letting your child have some wine with dinner – every night…like a bottle…and then wondering 5 years later why the kid grew up to be a future aa attendee (and we don’t mean American Airlines).

Why? Lord knows teens and adults are addicted to what is playfully called “Macobook” in the Caribbean. As February approaches in the Caribbean, the freeness of the carnival season (on Trinidad anyway) gives rise to idle thoughts, party photos and, well, candid shots catching amusing (read as on the boarder of vulgar) moments in parties known here as fetes. You don’t let your child fete so why allow them to watch that FB facilitated live stream of the woman dancing around in a lace top?

Ok exit Carnival as my prude-ness may seem like a cultural snub. Enter the photos of brutal car accidents, sex offenders caught in the act or much more commonly, the “slack talk” that dominates many a status in the hope of installing amusement. You would not expose your child to this day to day so, why let them surf facebook where it can be so prevalent.

I am not stupid. I know the world is changing and even traditional media can bombard people young and old with material heretofore (take that for an old fashioned word) deemed forbidden. My suggestion is not censorship but rather caution. All young ones need conversations about digital footprints, about not talking to strangers (on or off line) and on the new power of photography. these convos need start long before signing on to any social network. Not just this dominant oNe about to be IPO’d for 100 billion.

Before signing on ask your young one some questions?
1. Why do you needed to be on Facebook?
2. What do you understand Facebook to be?
3. Do you understand we will share access to your account and I can cancel it at any time?
4. Before posting any photos or videos, do you understand the need to seek the permission of your parent and anyone else in the video/photo
5. Do you understand that everything you put up there can be potentially viewed by strangers?
6. Do you understand privacy settings?
7. let’s agree on potential consequences for online behavior that does not meet our family’s expectations

It’s not all perfect but hell, it’s a start. Again Facebook under 13 not ok but regardless of age, these 7 questions should form the foundation of a young person’s pre social media life.

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