Katherine - posted on 05/18/2011 ( 19 moms have responded )




Re-posted from cafemom

When you hear "privacy law" and "Facebook," the first thing that comes to mind is "finally," right? They're finally stepping up for the little guy? Maybe not. A proposed California "Facebook" law would trample right over one particular little guy -- our kids.

The law would allow parents ultimate control over their kids' Facebook pages, including the right to demand the company erase certain content or even delete the whole page within 48 hours of the request. Hello, helicopter parents, the fever pitch of your celebration is giving me a headache. Can we stop the whirring for 5 seconds and think about what this will DO to your kids?

If you raise your kids in an environment where their every move is monitored, where they aren't allowed to breathe without your say so, are you really surprised they've created a hidden Facebook account and filled it up with all the things you don't want to see? Kids are, after all, individual people. As much as we'd love them to do and say what we plan for them, it doesn't work that way. They have goals, dreams, hobbies that mystify us at times.

What we need to create, rather than a world where we scrub away their identities with emails to social media companies, is an atmosphere of trust. This isn't to be confused with an indictment of anyone who checks up on their child's online whereabouts. That's just good parenting. But the two can go hand in hand.

One mom has a rule that her child has to use Facebook on a family computer. If she walks into the room while the girl is online, the girl isn't allowed to suddenly hide the screen. So the girl can do what she wants, but it's always with the thought in her mind that her mom could walk in at any moment and see what she's doing. It has the effect of keeping it clean without Mom standing over her shoulder at every moment. There's a trust that translates well into the rest of the kid's life. She's a solid student, a pleasure to be around, a good worker.

Take another kid I know, on the other hand. I'll call him Joe. His parents have banned him from having Facebook. They monitor his every move. Or so they think. Because "Joe" tried to friend me recently with an account that lists his first name and fictional last name. The birthdate is different too, but the pictures don't lie. I refused the request. I'm not getting in the middle of it, especially because I'm not a real fan of his mother. She's constantly harping on her child, never giving him any credit for having done ANYTHING right. I don't support his insubordination. But I see where it came from, how it translates into the rest of his life, where he tends to act out for attention.

I can't help hearkening back to my own teenage days when we used not Facebook but old-fashioned pens and journals to get out our feelings. Kids NEED outlets to rant and rave just like adults. They also need the ability to find kindred spirits, and the beautiful thing about today's kids is they have an option freaks in our generation didn't -- the Internet.

Will Burns over at Howtos, Rants, and Reviews who alerted me to this story had a very simple summation of the ridiculousness behind legislating kids' behavior on Facebook:

If parents don't want their kids putting things on the internet they should just not allow them to use social networks. If parents feel they should have access to their children's accounts then they should talk with their kids and agree to have their login credentials.

That's it, parents. That's all you have to do. Buck up and act like real parents. Let your kids be themselves.

Do you think we need a law to legislate this? Or should parents find what works in their household?


Tracey - posted on 09/27/2011




Politicians have more serious problems to focus on than whether or not a 13 year old is on Facebook.

[deleted account]

There is no reason in my opinion, that any child under 15 needs a Facebook, Myspace, Twitter or any other social networking site account... And if they do, yes parents should have access to it, kids and teens don't think before acting most of the time, they certainly do not fully understand the dangers of socializing with someone online... they get it in their head that they "know" them because they are "friends" when that really isn't the case sometimes. Like it or not, we have to protect our kids from themselves sometimes.

Tania - posted on 05/18/2011




My 14 yr old has FB and I'm on his friends list and so are many of his family members. I also have his password and he has rules for using it too. If there is anyting I see that I find Inappropriate then I ask him to remove it. I think its important to know what your kids are doing on line. I feel this is simply proactive parenting.

Tara - posted on 05/18/2011




My 15 yr old has fb and I'm on his friend list. We have rules regarding his posts etc.

No flaming anyone,

No internet bullying.

Don't post things you wouldn't say to someone's face.

I must remain on his friend list and I must be able to access his wall.

We have had a couple of incidents where fb became an issue because too often teens will type things before they have a chance to think. And that can very quickly snow ball out of control to the point where kids who don't even know each other but have mutual friends will start in on others etc. it can get pretty petty pretty quickly. But my son tends to stay away from the drama and uses it for arranging jam session and posting videos of himself doing playing guitar etc.

the flip side for us is that he is more involved in things that matter to him. There are a lot of neat groups that he likes, environmental groups, political groups etc.

so he is actually getting more "news" than he would otherwise.

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Sylvia - posted on 05/11/2012




I think the law is icky, and I agree that with a lot of kids, the less privacy you allow them the sneakier they get. (I'm thinking here for instance about my friend J, whose parents forbade her to see a certain guy they disapproved of so she told them she was at the university library with me every Friday afternoon when in fact she was hanging out with the boyfriend. I have lots more examples like that one :P) And also, I agree with Tracey.

However, I also don't understand WTF is up with people allowing or even encouraging their kids to give a fake birthdate to circumvent FB's no-under-13s rule. My 9-year-old wants a FB account; we said "No way until you're 13, and then we'll discuss it"; she said "But [classmate] and [other classmate] have accounts! [Classmate] is only 10, but on FB she's 22!" O_O Obviously this did not in any way change our minds about whether DD should have a FB account, nor does the fact that several of her cousins have accounts despite being under 13. But equally obviously a *lot* of parents are making the opposite decision.

Our computer is in the living room; we don't closely monitor everything DD does on there, but it's right out in the open and we're usually walking by when she's computing, so she doesn't have tons of opportunity to get up to online mischief. She does have a private diary, however, which we do not under any circumstances read (no matter how temptingly she leaves it splayed upside-down on the computer desk -- she keeps all her passwords and stuff in there, along with ... whatever else it is she writes). Kids NEED privacy. I don't think they should be spending all their time holed up in their bedrooms Facebooking on their laptops, but neither should they be treated like criminals wearing ankle bracelets :P

Deb - posted on 05/11/2012




Facebook rules say the child must be 13 y.o. So we abide by that rule and I am on my kids friends list.

Katherine - posted on 09/26/2011




I can't wait until my 6 and 2.5 year old girls are teens *eye roll* I'm going to get it back 10x's as bad as when I was a kid.

Elizabeth - posted on 09/26/2011




I applaud this law. Parents have less and rights. I will tell you exactly why they need laws like this. I have a 16 year old daughter that has a Facebook account that I do not have access to. She no longer lives with me. I am not even on her friends list. She has met up with real people. Adults. Men (you get where I am going with this) and Facebook was definitely a tool for her to accomplish this. If I had more closely monitored what she was doing ( I SHOULD HAVE been snooping!) I could have probably stopped a lot of things from happening.

Anyone who says "trust your child and give them freedom" does not have a teenage child.

[deleted account]

This is really all quite simple and no need for laws on it either. If your child doesn't want you to have access to whatever electronic they are using then unplug it take it outside and smash it on the ground. Then DO NOT buy them another one. Same thing if they are being a bully or being bullied. Get rid of the electronic. Children have to be taught and guided through the pitfalls of childhood. Yes they are people and individuals but unless you are willing to sit your child down in the middle of 6 lanes of heavy highway traffic then drive off it is really YOUR responsibility as a parent to make sure they are safe.

April - posted on 05/20/2011




i agree Tracey. I think 13 is too young. 13 shouldn't be the new 17. At 13, I still loved riding my bike and playing flash light tag. Those were the days....

Sneaky - posted on 05/20/2011




13 seems awfully young for facebook . . . .why don't they just raise the age limit?

Sneaky - posted on 05/19/2011




define 'kids'. are we talking about the 15-18 year set (you can't join facebook before 15 right?), because spending all that money to make a law to monitor 'kids' for three years seems stupid to me . . .

Minnie - posted on 05/19/2011




My opinion is that FB should be 17 and over. Just like R-rated movies. Then I don't have to have bots deleting my pictures because prudes report them.

Katherine - posted on 05/18/2011




I still have yet to worry about this, but when I do I will be monitoring. Not like this though. I like the one moms rule about not being able to hide the screen. Sounds fair to me.

Stifler's - posted on 05/18/2011




I don't think my kid needs a FB page if I have to have his login info. He can go play tag. I don't know my husband's password I don't want to know my kids either or fuck around policing who he's friends with or talks to or reading his PMs or censoring things.

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