How do I punish my 11 year old daughter for setting up her own facebook account?

Melinda - posted on 12/30/2009 ( 69 moms have responded )

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Right before Christmas I discovered that my 11 years old daughter had her own facebook account - set up with the help of two of her lovely school chums! My daughter is not allowed unmonitored access on the internet (she just turned 11 - though according to her facebook account she was born in 1936!). Her version of events is that her two lovely school chums (whose parents apparently let them have a free rein on the internet) set up the account for her and presented it to her a "fait au compli." She then says she used it one time (accessed via my IPone which is how I discovered the account) but that was the only time and she was afraid to tell me or her dad about it because she thought she'd get in trouble. My husband & I have spoken to the parents of the school chums and they in turn talked to their daughters who reported that my daughter asked them to set up the account for her, so that she could use it whenever she could get unmonitored access to the internet? Who to believe? There were only a couple of entries on the (now deactivated) facebook account? My daughter has been talked to, wrote my husband & I a letter of apology, and is grounded from using a computer or IPhone unmonitored? Is this effective enough? at all? Any suggestions?

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Sarah - posted on 01/13/2010

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This exact same thing just happend to me, she set an account under a false name but had the alerts sent to her email which I monitor and I logged into her email and found the alerts. She initially lied and said it was a friend but when faced with the fact that I said it was her, in her room, and I had read the posts.. she fessed up. I have since put blocks on all of the websites like this.. facebook, myspace, twitter, youtube, as you can do some heavy duty chatting on you tube that i didn't know about. I also put a great block on the content and put a password on the content advisor so it cannot be changed. I also monitor her computer by checking the history.. and cookies...because she tends to lie. We have had issues with her having contact with older boys and that is why she is not allowed these types of websites. She is required to ask to go to any website and has consequences if she is found to be on other sites... have her on a very tight leash until she can prove that she can be trusted... continually says it is her friends but I keep telling her she is putting hersel in dangerous situations and they won't be there to help her... I too am at a loss...I understand that keeping her grounded forever is not the answer, and they have to prove they can be trusted.

Cyndi - posted on 12/30/2009

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I guess who to believe is not the question; it is your daughter's responsibility to police herself and she knew a Facebook account was unacceptable. I have two 11-yr old girls and I always remind them that they are responsible for their actions. I do think taking any/all of her electronics away along with the letter to you is good punishment and not allowing her to go to anyone's home that does not have parental controls (Try GLUBBLE.COM) on their computers and no adult supervision is a good rule of thumb. Also, Middle School is right around the corner and peer pressure only get stronger. Give her good tools on saying "NO!" Hope that helps!

Sara - posted on 08/04/2013

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I don't see an issue with her having a Facebook. As long as you have her login information and she knows not to accept a request from anyone you don't know. Also, if you have one, be her friend on it. And as for lying, you were right for grounding her.

Amber - posted on 01/04/2013

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I think it is morely right for 11 year olds to get a facebook account WITH parents permission. I got a facebook account at around age eleven, only to speak to my cousins because they live quite far away from me. So I asked my mum and she let me have one.

But getting one without your permission is not acceptable. I know she is old enough for a facebook account know because she is 14/15 years old. But if I had an eleven year old who made a facebook account behind my back, I guess she'd be grounded for a while

Bobbi Jean - posted on 12/12/2012

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If my opinion counts, I think you and your husband handled it perfectly! : )

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Elizabeth - posted on 12/29/2012

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We've actually let both our kids have facebook accounts (10 & 12) - and a birth date of 1936 is for her own safety as much as anything - believe me - half the facebook kids are under 13!
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Actually, no - it's not safer. If they use their real ages then they are automatically blocked from anyone over - I believe, not sure, over 13 from seeing their account, period.

Donna - posted on 12/26/2012

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I set my own child up with a FB account before the age of 13...I am her friend on there, my other Girl Scout moms are her friends on there as well. My daughter knows not to accept any friend requests from anyone she does not know personally....and I have her privacy settings so that she is not searchable and only friends of friends can send her a friend request. She is 16 now and one day a couple of months back as I was leaving for work I expressly told her to stay off the internet. I came back home and discovered that she had been on the internet, saw a couple of posts she had made on FB. So, now she is banned from FB until further notice. FB is a privilege, not a right. If you deliberately disobey, the consequences are a bit more severe...and even MORE so if you lied about it. Children must be disciplined at home, otherwise they will grow up with a false notion of how the world works. What happens if you break the rules at work? You get fired for insubordination. A parent who loves his/her child will discipline them!

[deleted account]

It depends how old she is but, you should button ground her. It means she cant use anything with bottons for example no tv. phone, computer, or video games. Then have a long talk with her about what to do and what not to do.

Hope it helped!!!

Titch - posted on 12/15/2012

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You don't need to punish her- talk her through being honest and telling you about stuff like that- I think 11 years old is a good age to allow you kid to go on FB, just make sure she doesn't accept friend requests from people she doesn't no... :D hope everything sorts out okay!

Tracy - posted on 12/12/2012

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In the future it is better to set up the account with her and make sure you have your own account and you are her "friend". Add uncles, aunts, grandmas, grandpas, and cousins all of which would undoubtedly report back any inappropriate activity if noticed.

Katriona - posted on 12/11/2012

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Yes the age for a Facebook account is 13 but surely you must realise that if all their friends are doing it they want to aswell ,Most children only want to do things even more once they are told they can't especially if there's no explanation as to why ,All children are different and mature at different rates and as long as you monitor their accounts by vetting who they are becoming friends with but explaining why because at the end of the day there are things that are a lot worse than having a Facebook account .

JavaMama - posted on 12/11/2012

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I think it's great that she wrote you an apology letter without being prompted. She seems to understand that what she or her friends did was inappropriate. Just my opinion but I think maybe she should be grounded for a certain amount of time. But from here on out just monitor her a bit more closely to see what she's actually doing on the internet.

Elizabeth Grace - posted on 12/09/2012

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I think that your being to hard on her she obviously did not know that she was doing something wrong unless you told her you have to be 14 but that's just to hard on an 11year old girl maybe you should at least let her have her phone back u don't want her to grow up like a robot do you?

Matt - posted on 12/09/2012

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My daughter also has tried and begged me to set up the fb account I recently took her I pad away due to I caught her chatting with 25-40 yr old men she was posing as a 17 yr old girl. She no longer has Internet access, or unsupervised phone calls , watch out for apps such as dice with buddies or any app with games because it's a pedophiles dream land. She will not tell her mom y she cannot use her I pad or phone without me there, she just told her it's broken.....what to do is where I'm stuck

Matt - posted on 12/09/2012

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I'm a single dad my 11 yr old daughter is almost to the point where I'm thinking about boarding school. Ya know if I ever acted the way she does I can tell you I woulda been taken out and got a switchin that I would never forget!!!! I wouldn't have been able to sit for a couple days and I remembered y I didn't back talk or argue, it really made me have respect for my mom. I realize you cannot do that these days because I could have her taken away, which is the problem with society today! If your child disrespects, lies, argues,yells at you and won't obay like they should, you should have the right to adjust their attitude(in my opinion). So my question is what can I do about this? Her mother lives 8 hrs away and encourages her to act out and it's my fault she cannot come and visit her due to her child support obligation. She has only visited her 4 times this year and 3 were court related appts she had to make, her child support just started last month after me being patient for 5yrs, she now discusses she gonna loose her new house, new cars, snow machines, and cannot feed her other two sons, as well as gonna loose her license. What is an effective method to correct my daughters behavior? Who better to ask than a mom?

Izzybayes - posted on 11/24/2012

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you don't need to punish her she just wanted to be like her friends when i was eleven all i wanted to do was fit in as i wasn't aloud to shave my legs

Sylviane - posted on 10/24/2012

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I think 11 years old is a bit early to set up an account, but I also think you, as a parent, have done enough to make your point! My son set up his own Facebook account all on his own at about 12+, and his Facebook age was set at '20'. I personally was not happy about it, but also not greatly upset, as most teens these days appear to be on Facebook, texting, ipods, ipads, iphones & all.... I was quite upset, however, when his granpa decided to buy him an ipodas a gift when he was turning 13 (he did have our son call 1st, but who can say no to that!), so we had our son pay for 1/2 of it, which he did, so technically it's his. When our now 14 year old son does not behave or cooperate with us (which happens the odd time...), we either take the ipod away, or put an Internet password that he cannot access, or remove internet (hide router) altogether.. Either way, you can control your teen, or pre-teen, only up to a point....They do have to learn to discipline themselves Thanks for reading.

Sandy - posted on 01/17/2010

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I went to a kid's internet safety class recently and it's not your kids that you have to worry about. There are predators out there who know that there are kids on FB and, if they're computer savvy enough, can find your kids. Also, you can talk to your kids about what is appropriate content, but you have no control over what some of their friends may say or information that they may inadvertently give out. My 11 year old wants a FB account, but she's not pitching a fit, so I'm happy to leave it alone for now. The seminar that I went to has a website parentsinternetguide.com. Unfortunately, you have to pay $19.95 for the guide. I actually haven't read it - meant to get a copy at the seminar but managed to forget! The seminar was very enlightening, though!

Melinda - as far as your problem goes, I think the punishment is ok. I do feel that the bigger issue is the lying and sneaking behind your back. This is a treacherous age, and you don't want to create an atmosphere where she can't come to you. The issues are only going to get bigger and more complext! Talk to her about this - explain your reasons and fears about a FB page (or you could just go with the "you have to be 13 - it's the rule and we don't break the rules" angle.) The main thing is to open the doors of communication so that she doesn't feel that she has to lie and sneak. Geez, I DO ramble on!! Sorry! :)

Suzan - posted on 01/17/2010

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We've actually let both our kids have facebook accounts (10 & 12) - and a birth date of 1936 is for her own safety as much as anything - believe me - half the facebook kids are under 13! We keep our computers in public areas and check in on them periodically as they are using them. Sure there are some inappropriate posts from some of their school buddies, but we discuss those openly. And it's no worse than they are hearing at school - out of our supervision.

Anne - posted on 01/16/2010

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my daughter is 11 and her father gave her a fb account. i have blocked him from my account and i wont put her on mine as she will get on at her fathers and then he could see my activities. when she is at home with me i moniter her useage and know who she is talking to at all times.i can only hope her father does the same thing. i also check her hotmail account her father set up for her. i also talk to her about using fauls names like her father does and i try and teach her the right things and ways to use the internet.if she does something wrong on it then she will lose the right to use it for a few weeks

Kathy - posted on 01/15/2010

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Everyone who has Facebook: make sure you click settings (up by your name); privacy; search; then unclick the allow box. There is a dialog box that came up from FB talking about the google rumors, but I had Googled a friend of mine who hadn't unchecked the box, and found her info.

Kristin - posted on 01/15/2010

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My daughter is 10 1/2 years old. She asked me awhile ago if she could have facebook. I had an account myself so I looked at what could be done with it. You can block people on it so I let her have it with the rule that 1)her dad and I must have to password and we will check it whenever we want, 2)she is not allowed to except anyone as a friend with out asking us, and 3)all her stuff (pictures, info and all) must be set on private (which mean no one can see it unless she's friends with them and that we have to approve), and 4) she can not put her address (we did allow the state though), or phone number on it. She is very good with it. It's nice because she knows alot of people from other school district that she does get to see alot but they talk on facebook and we also have family in CA, OH, MA, ect. (were in PA) that she doesn't get to see so this way she can talk to them and they can see pictures of her that they would usually never get to see. She mostly plays to games on it any way like Farmville, fishworld, zoo world, which are all free. She's very good with it and I haven't had a problem yet and it's been about 6 months. I told her that if she ever went behind our backs and ever set up any kind of account without our permission all trust is gone. I do check her facebook about every other day so I know what she's doing and what her friends are saying. Also we have 1 computer and our computer is in the dinningroom so she can't hide anything. So far so good.

Kathy - posted on 01/15/2010

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There was an episode of Oprah about girls being held sex slaves and commiting suicide over "friends" made online back in April/May 2009. I made my daughter watch it and spoke with her rather firmly about the consequences should she not follow the rules. I think it made an impact. One of the girls in the episode had even met someone in a chat room on her cell phone!

April - posted on 01/15/2010

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this seems to be a growing problem among girls now,my 11 year old is begging for one too!I think you should go in and erase her account and have a talk with her friends parents about his or at least stress to her that just because her friends are doing it does not mean for her too.I would also watch her with her friends for a while and maybe only let her see them at your house for a while and explain that you will have to monitor her if she is gonna make these choices while she is away from you.That privacy and hanging out with her friends is a privledge that can be taken away til she proves otherwise!

Carol - posted on 01/15/2010

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If it was me i don't have a daughter i have 3 teenager boys but i do think what you have done is appropriate fir the crime so to speak. but i do find that taking to your child more like a grown up helps sometime as children are more well informed now a days and seem to grow up much quicker than when i was young. maybe if you come to some arrangement where she can have facebook but you set it up with her so that it's secure and wiyh the arrangement that she only uses the computor when you are in the room/ at home . I have my computor set up in the living room so that i can suppervse all useage of the computor.If youy haven't done this maybe it might help. I hope that you find this helpfull.

Krystal - posted on 01/15/2010

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My daughter did the same thing only she is 8 almost 9. I did the same thing . I grounded her from the computer and explained to her some of the things that can happen. I also took the opprotunity to tell her there are police that go online to find out who is lying and who is doing illegal things. She has not done it since and i also monitoer her very closley.

Nikole - posted on 01/15/2010

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I believe that you made the right choice as far as not letting your daughter us the computer or IPhone. I have a 11 year old son and I don't let him online unless I am monitoring it. I think that also I wouldn't let my child go to the school chums houses anymore either. Sounds like the parents would also let other stuff happen that who knows if you would ever find out about. Maybe instead tell your daughter if she wants to hang out with those girls that she needs to have them over your house instead.

Amara - posted on 01/14/2010

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Our Children are growing up in a different culture than most of us did. Personally I'd let her have it, and monitor what she does. It isn't hard to do and it is very easy to set up so only Friends can see anything. My children are allowed to be pretty much where ever they want to be online. They have to share passwords & User names with me. They have to understand that I will at times log in and look over and read what's on the site. They aren't allowed to put up such information as local Addresses, In general Real Last names (for the younger ones). That I'm likely to look over their shoulders and check history files.

Delilah - posted on 01/14/2010

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I think you did fine, I would have done the same thing. One last note though, I would keep my eye on the school chums because they sound like trouble.

Sylviane - posted on 01/14/2010

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That's a good start I think. Perhaps you could completely ground her from using any computer or iphone for at least 1 week to maybe even 4 weeks. You can also delete her account(s).
I have an 11 year old who at times will try to register himself on video games sites behind my back. Fortunately, I have not created an email account for him and he hasn't yet tried to create one himself, so I get the information through my personal email. When I approve of the site, I simply tell him I have the information and I can delete the account at any time if he doesn't abide by the rules (clearly defined previously). He is also grounded from the computer for a time and/or some computer time is removed from his allowed time. If I don't approve of the site at all, I delete his account. I remove both computer and computer time (allowance) if he does inappropriate things in the virtual world just like in the real world. Rules must be clearly set in advance, usually during a family meeting also planned in advance - with some written notes (dated) so as to monitor progress or behavior in the future.
I tell him that when he is 13 years old, he can have his own Facebook, email account etc.
That's where we're at currently with our ADHD child. Hope that what I just shared is of some help to you.
Sylviane

C - posted on 01/14/2010

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Hi Melinda,
These things are always an issue one way or the other! I have an 11 year old as well and she asked in the past for a facebook account, she told me that many of her friends have facebook accounts. I did check into this and that is true, many, many of her friends have facebook accounts. But I will not waver, and she will not get a facebook account until she is about 13.
If it was my daughter, unless she has a strong history of lying, I would believe her story about her friends, but only you know what the situation is with her friends. I would punish her but don't make it extremely painful, just try to remember how it was to have peer pressure when you where young...I think we need to remeber that!! Sometimes, we as these girls parents during the tween years are their only realy friends!

Donna - posted on 01/14/2010

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I think Facebook is not appropriate for children this young...my girl is 13, but I just now let her have a facebook account. Some of the stuff is not appropriate for any good moraled adult, much less an 11 or 13 year old. My girl is right there beside me when she is on her Facebook account and she asked me which tests she can take and which friends to allow, etc. I let her play Farmtown and some other games on there, but there are some bad influences lurking out there in Facebook land. I'm not trying to raise a streetwise kid...I'm trying to raise her to value good morals and practice them. The fact that there was deception involved from your daughter, in my opinion, is the worst part. I'm sure you explained to her the dangers that you were trying to protect her from, and she chose to go behind your back and go right against what you said. Sneaking around is a bad habit to get into. You must spend more time with your daughter so that she knows that you LOVE her. What you've done so far is a great start, but I would also ground her from outside school activities for a month, and in lieu of those, mother and daughter spend time together. Play board games, go window shopping, go to a movie then discuss the movie over a meal in the food court, etc. Dad should also get his time in w/his daughter. Build that relationship, shore it up NOW...the teen years are approaching!!

Lynn - posted on 01/14/2010

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Coming from an experience with this same situation you are doing the right thing. Just remember the most important thing is to be consistant and not to give in. Let her know that when you think she is mature enough she will be able to get limited internet access.

Cynthia - posted on 01/14/2010

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Andrea, if you read the post properly, you would have read that the iphone was her mother's, not her own. We all need to be accountable for our actions, whether they be good or bad. Who forced or not forced her to do this does not take away the repercussions of her actions.
I so disagree that allowing kids under the age requirements to have a facebook account is wrong. Allowing this is telling the kids that lying is OK. It will always start small and then the lies become bigger. I did not allow my son to have a facebook account until he reach the age requirement. I also know his passwords.
When my son comes back at me saying "..but my friends have it....". My response is always that they are not my child, you are and I will not allow you to do something that I feel is wrong just because the rest of your friends are allowed.
We are not our child's friend. We are their parent. We must teach them about consequences so that they learn to make the right choices. If they can't say "no" now, what will happen when they are older?

Lynn - posted on 01/14/2010

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Who to believe? It doesn't matter who set it up, she chose to get on it, no one forced her to. You should make those limitations more severe, at first I would ground her from using any computers, texting, phone,... Afterall, she has in effect lied to you. Then after she can earns back your trust, she can gradually gain back priveleges. Say the phone in a week, texting 2 weeks, computer 3 weeks. Lying to you is serious business. This is risky behaviour for an 11 yr old, just as bad as if she had been caught smoking or sneaking out. It won't be long till she is old enough to have a FB account and you can require her to add you as a friend. (She'll probably say "Just forget it!" lol) But once they figure out all the privacy settings, you'll only see what she wants you to. Until they are 16, I would want to know her passwords too so you can see what sites she's been on. My friend found her 13 yr old has been looking at "cutting" and suicide sites. They put her in counseling right away. I am friends on FB with my 14 and 17 yr old and about a hundred of their friends. FB is fun and safe. The issue here is lying.

Tamara - posted on 01/14/2010

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I HAVE A 27 YR OLD, 22 YR OLD,16, 10 YROLD. i AM VERY FORTUNATE THAT MY KIDS ARE GOOD, HAVE NEVER HAD ANY REAL PROBLEMS. BUT WITH ALL DO RESPECT COMPUTERS ARE THE IN THING. WHEN YOU GO TO HER FRIENDS YOU CREATE HAVIC WITH HER AND HER PEERS. KEEP IN YOUR HOME. I LEARNED THAT THE HARD WAY. BE A PART OF IT. DON'T GET ME WRONG WHEN SHE THINKS SOMETHING IS NOT FAIR SHE SHULD FEEL COMFORTABLE TO DISCUSS IT WITH YOU BOTH AND COME TO SOME COMMON CONCLUSIONS. A WRITTEN APOLOGY IS SO FORMAL. TEACH HER TO COMMUNICATE WITH HER WORDS. IT SOUNDS LIKE YOUR RUNNING A SCHOOL. YOUR A HOME. MONITOR HER, THEYALL HAVE IT. I WAS NOT THRILLED WITH IT EITHER FOR MY 10 YR OLD. BUT WE ARE HER FRIEND ON FACEBOOK. WE HAVE LEARNED SOOOOOO MUCH ABOUT HER FRIENDS THRU IT ITS AN AWESOME TOOL FOR PARENTS. IF YOU ARE THIS STRICT AND FORMAL WHEN SHE GETS 18 SHE WILL GO CRAZY. MAKE IT MORE COMFORTABLE TO DISCUSS THE NEXT COUPLE OF YEARS. SO MUCH HAPPENS FROM THE AGE 10 TO 14. MAKE IT OPEN COMMUNICATION NOT LETTERS AND RULE BOOKS. I WAS IN THE PSYCH FIELD FOR 20 YRS. TRUST ME COMMUNICATION NOT PUNISHMENT IS YOUR BEST TOOL. YOUR GUESTION SHOULD OF BEEN HOW DO I GET MY 11 YR OLD TO DISCUSS RULES THAT SHE THINGS SHE HAS OUTGROWN OR THINK WERE TO STRICT ON. HOPE IT HELPS SORRY IF YOU THINK I WAS HARD ON YOU. YOU DON'T WANT HER TO 18 AND GO CRAZY AND HAVE NEVER OPENED UP TO YOU TOW BECAUSE SHE FELT INTIMATED. BE PARENTS NOT FRIENDS BUT HAVE FRIENDLY MOMENTS AND MOST IMPORTANTLY COMMUNICATION. LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK. GOOD LUCK ITS HARD BEING A PARENT. HUH ATLEAST WERE TRYING. RIGHT?

Paula - posted on 01/13/2010

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Sounds to me like you've handled it - she clearly wasn't using the account with any kind of regularity if there were only a few posts, and it's probably a relief to her that it's done. That said, the reality of the internet is that it's pretty easy to get around parental controls just by going to the local library. We chose to take the approach that our responsibility was to teach our daughter to be safe online and I let her experiment with social networking while she was still young enough that I could impose heavy restrictions. She's now used to an environment where her passwords are not secret, I can access her account and check in. If I see something that concerns me, I talk to her about it and it usually ends up with the questionable material getting deleted - by her not me. So far, so good. But I have to say I'm really glad I let her on when we did - if I had waited until she was 13, then let her on I would never have had the control I have today. 13 is far too savvy and right at the time when they'll do anything to prove they're their own boss.

Lori - posted on 01/13/2010

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I think there are several that are judging on misinformation. She didn't give her daughter an iPhone, she herself has an iPhone. The issue is the dishonesty and the breaking of a rule she knew was in place.

Several good posts with great advice. Just thought it was necessary to point out misinterpretation.

Traci - posted on 01/13/2010

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I am grateful for those moms on here who understand that, if the facebook rule is 13 and over, parents should hold to that. If a kid lies, they need to be disciplined--even if it's for a fun activity or something to "keep in touch with" others. Computer controls are fine--as far as they go. There is nothing that replaces a vigilant parent, however--we have found that out the hard way.

Shana - posted on 01/13/2010

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This actually happened to me too! First thing I did was delete her Facebook account! Second..she lost all privileges to the computer for many weeks...except for homework! Third she wasnt allowed to get a Facebook account till she turned 13 which she just did...but I was the one who set it up for her. Oh and she lost all phne privileges too. She was grounded for weeks!

Jennifer - posted on 01/13/2010

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Interesting answers. All of them good all of them very different. All I can tell you from my experience is that I am more with Renee's point of view. I agree that the blame game is well frankly irrivelent. It really does not matter who said what and who did what.. more the point is that a) she was afraid to tell you abou the account and B) she boldly lied about it. Both are more important than wether or not she created a FB account etc.

I can also tell you how we have handled inaproprate internet use in my home. the firs thing we did was monitor (via rogers) EVERY site my children and their friends have ever visited (cause they can also access the internet with out a History page via Wii, PS3, and Xbox) secondly the PC IMMEDATLY found a home in the kitchen where all can see the screen content. Using the old addage.. If mom can't see it you probably should not watching/chatting/viewing it.

We have had situations of inaproprate content on FB with my 13 year old, I knew that it was a problem as I have full access to his account (condtions of owning a FB account in our house) the way we handled it was a) he immediatly lost all computer access untill he "fixed" the problem (an insult to a friend ment as a joke but more hurtful than anyting) By fixing the problem.. first he deleeted the statement. then made a very public appoligy to the friend. B) we had a eduction session about FB being a giant newspaper. What he writes/posts or links is out there for all to read (even with privacy controls to max) Since then .. it's not been a problem.. It was a oppertunity for education to help him navagate the eletronic world as we know it.

I wish you and your family all the best. Parenting is never easy, there is no hard and fast rules and a little flexablility and thought often go a very long way.

Therese - posted on 01/13/2010

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She would have all computer rights at taken away. As far as these friends parents who don't monitor a 11 yr olds computer access they are a bit dillusional. I have a 11 yr old son and 9 yr old daughter and they are not allowed to go on the computer anywhere but in our family room with us home. My kids don't even know the passwords on email accounts.

Lakisha - posted on 01/13/2010

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Quoting Renee:

I guess my first question would be why would you have to punish her? Having 4 kids ages 8 to 19...I have quickly learned that I've brought these children into the world and must equip them with the ability to live within the world according to the the morals and virtues I've instilled in them. I've also learned that keeping them in a bubble away from the things that make up their world when they're away from home, is only going to elevate the "forbidden fruits" to a desirable level and socially isolate them. As my children have grown and changed, my parenting has also had to grow and change.

It seems there is more here than just an issue of to punish or not to punish and how to punish. I would be absolutely devastated if my children lied to me and were sneaking around me because they "feared" me more than they "trusted" me! I don't want to be their Gastapo like controller...I want to be their loving parent that they know they can trust to help guide them through all the things in life they're going to encounter whether I like it or not. I want to empower them with the knowledge and tools to handle these things and make the right decisions. At the same time they give me their trust to help them learn their way through these things while still providing adult protection and my unconditional love. I want my children to make their mistakes under my guidance so they can learn important life lessons under my protective care. I want my 13 yr old to make 13 yr old mistakes, not 23 yr old mistakes.

At 10 & 11 yrs old...their worlds changed to placing a great deal of importance on their survival among their peers. And yes, I do mean "survival". The internet is a part of that world whether I like it or not. So is drinking, drugs, irresponsible sex, foul language, pornography (especially w/boys), and many other reckless activities. The internet is as wonderful as it is dangerous. But so are more innocent things like swimming pools! Would you throw your child into the deep end of a pool w/o first making sure they could swim? In these pivotal pre-adolescent years, they're being thrown into pools of all sorts. Ask first, if they can swim? If the answer is no...then TEACH them! Can my child swim through the world of the internet? If not...TEACH them!

Say no when you mean no...say yes when you mean yes. If you're not sure what you mean...don't say anything until you've thought it through and discussed these issues with your partner and then your child. Obviously, your daughter was afraid to ask you about internet access. Don't let your fear of the dangerous things out there, keep you from teaching her how to protect herself from them.

As for who to believe? I personally think that is totally irrelevant at this point. What you know now, is that your daughter wanted something badly enough that she was willing to go to any other means to secure it w/o your involvement and feared coming to you directly. Her apology letter is probably what she needs to do to keep peace at home and find the reassurance that you still love her and she loves you...and to a large extent she is probably very sorry that this issue rose to a level of drama that it involved her friends and their parents as well. This may very well set her up for more social drama among her peers than you may realize. And I'm sure she's just as sorry for that as any disappointment you may have with her right now. What she will understand is that their parents allow them access to FB while her parents can't even be approached to discuss the issue. You can't just assume that any young girl or boy with FB is left totally unmonitored. If you were to have a discussion with these parents, I wouldn't do it in a fashion to build evidence against your daughter about what she did so terribly wrong, but to learn how these other parents monitor their daughters so you can make a better decision for your daughter. If you decide to let her have a FB page, it doesn't mean you lose her. You may gain more. It also allows you the right to now ask other parents if they monitor internet access in their home before you allow her to visit a friend's house that has internet. It's no different than asking parents if they keep any handguns at home before allowing children to visit. My kids were allowed to attend parties only after I was able to contact the parents to introduce myself (if I didn't already know them and much more common when they were in high school) and confirm there would be adult supervision and also question what kind of supervision would be provided. Are there guns in the home? Is the internet monitored? Are the choices of movies monitored? Are there older siblings that may have other friends present that could adversely affect my child?

When my oldest asked for internet access, I had a discussion with him. I wanted to know what he was interested in using the internet for, explained my concerns of his presence on the internet and then told him I'd give his request serious consideration and we'd discuss it in great detail later. He wanted to be able to maintain communication with friends outside of the school environment by using instant messaging. I on the other hand, wanted to ensure his safety. We established rules and guidelines for his internet access and slowly relinquished the controls to him for other internet use over a period of time as he proved his ability to be trustworthy. Rather than being a negative experience, he realized the rewards of proper actions and decisions were a positive benefit. I've never relinquished total control of my right to monitor his activities while he lived under my roof. At 19, I still monitor his activities in my house. Now that he's a legal young adult, these rules for him have moved from being a child's rules to now becoming respected "house" rules.

This is probably a good time to now consider future issues that will arise as well. How will you handle the request to attend a party? How will you handle a request to be allowed to date? Dances? Sleepovers as teens? Parties? A prom date? Driver's permit? You can't possibly be there to ensure they'll do what they should do unless you can be there when they're doing things now and teach them how to make the right choices. I'm grateful to have heard my older sons tell me they've decided not to attend a party because they know there will be under aged drinking and don't want to put themselves at risk. It's not the forbidden fruit for them to constantly pursue but the responsible choices that they've made. They've had the self esteem and self respect to be able to tell others that they won't go to a party with under aged drinking or illegal substances present. As a result, many of their friends found comfort in their open ability to say no and I have ended up with a houseful of young teens at my house instead of at the party they were invited to attend. Does it make my life busier? Of course it does. But, it also makes my kids comfortable with their choices and comfortable enough to bring their friends to the safety of their own home as an alternative.

There are no manuals for raising our kids. What works for some won't always work for others. I'd strongly encourage an open line of 2-way communication with your daughter. Hearing what she has to say doesn't mean you agree with her, it only means you'll try to understand. At worst, the two of you will at least be able to sometimes agree to disagree on some issues while at the same time, maintaining your final authority over what goes on in your home. Good luck! :)


Great insight. I am going to save this as insight. Thanks!

Lakisha - posted on 01/13/2010

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I went through the same thing with my 12 year old, only it was MySpace. First and foremost regardless as to who is lying or being honest, it is your daughter's responsiblity to respect what rules you and your husband have in place. If her friends are allowed "unmonitored access" they could care less about your rules. My daughter did the same thing. She had her friends set up the account and she would add pics whenever she thought I was not around. And would you know, I found it from and Ipod touch(very similar to the iphone). Can't say whether or not it's effective because my daughter did it twice, but what else are you to do? At this age they think they are in charge of their lives and we are "ruining their lives". I have spoken to her and can only hope that she respects me and my rules and I hope your daughter does as well.

Jasmina - posted on 01/13/2010

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Why you need to punish your dauther? Becouse Facebook? Why you give her a IPhone and not Facebook. You soldnt deaktivate her acoount. I have girl of 13 , 11,and almoust 8, they have Facebook profile, and they open profil for me to. Now we are friends, and I have their passwords, I have completely control on their profiles and we all have a fun. They have contact with their relatives, fith their friend in other countries. I trust my kids, I want to be their parent, but friend to.

Eva - posted on 01/13/2010

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I think that was very effective. Maybe after her grounding you can set up an account together. She can enjoy facebook with you. To many preteens something that is outlawed become bigger than it is. There will always be more chums out there ready to help her. She has to be taught facebook safety. It is much better from you than her friends.

Karie - posted on 01/13/2010

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I have a 13 yr. old and a 11 yr. old who will be 12 in 2 weeks. I wouldn't allow facebook or myspace until they are 13. which means my 13 yr. old just got her myspace on her b-day. she has had it for only a month, and it is already deleted. she was using it to fight and call names to another girl. so she was grounded off the entire computer for a month now unless she needs to do a report or project for school.
I think you should have grounded her off the computer period, unless for school, atleast for a couple of months. just advice from experience. good luck

Diane - posted on 01/13/2010

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I allowed my 13 year old only to have one as long as I have her password and I advised her I will get on her account and check it and delete anything inappro. for her to post. I do have my own account and she is on my friend list so what ever she post I will see on my account also. It does help to watch from a far but yet be close too.

Melissa - posted on 01/13/2010

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Melinda,

Well handled I believe. I dont have a daughter so I hear this area is more of a challenge. I do feel that if this was my son I would of done the same. Once trust has been violated it must be earned back. Its good to know she knows her mom means business and does not take lying lightly. Keep to your guns mom.

Mel T

[deleted account]

I have 3 kids ages 12, 9 & 8. All of my kids have Facebook accounts. I set them up for them. They get on their accounts everyday and they mostly play the App games. I have their log-in information and I log on and check their pages almost daily. If you have raised your child right and trust her then there should be no problem with them having it. I trust my kids, but they know that I monitor their accounts and they are ok with that, and they all know that if I see something that is unacceptable that it will be talked about and if it continues that their account will then be deleted. You have to show your kids respect just like you expect them to show you respect. I was smothered when I was a child and I refuse to raise my kids that way. I am their parent first, but what is wrong with being a friend too???

Debi - posted on 01/11/2010

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Quoting Angela:



I have four children, 2 aged 13 and up, 2 under 13. The FB policy is 13 and up. My kids know that we will not even consider an FB account until then because they have to lie about their age to even set it up. What concerns me about so many children getting FB - EVEN IF IT IS MONITORED- is the message we send to our children. It is like tellng them, "You can lie if it's for something fun!" NO- lying is NEVER ok!! I try not to accept "friends" who are under 13, either - for the same reason.

My younger kids go on to my FB account to play games, chat with family, etc. They don't need their own accounts to enjoy the benefits. I don't post anything they can't read, so I never worry about them accidentally seeing something on my account. This point is a very hot button for me, but I seem to be in the minority. Very sad!




Pam - posted on 01/10/2010

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If you feel you need to punish her for setting up a FB account without your permission, what I would do is delete the FB account and no computer priveleges for a week. I helped my 12 year old set up a FB account and I monitor it regularly because the computer is in the lounge, just like I will read her cell phone messages, it is not that I don't trust her, it is other people I don't trust. And from experience grounding a pre teen from electronics is extremely effective

Debi - posted on 01/10/2010

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I agree with monitored access to computers it is the future they learn so much from it. I don't see anything wrong with having a facebook account but I set my daughters up and I am the ONLY one with the password. She is not allowed to add anyone with out asking me first. I agree with you punishing her for not asking totally stop it before it gets worse. Good luck

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