Kids And Facebook and Other Parental Inadequacies
Facebook has its conveniences and uses for me, in that it’s a tool. I have only ‘friends’ who I speak to in real life barring a few artists and writers I’ve come to know in cyberspace who I dig reading and seeing the work of. I’m not a phone person, at all. I like emailing and texting because I’m a writer, and because I value my personal time and space. When emailing and texting, I don’t compromise my personal time or space. It's perfect for me. I can read something in the morning, rush to work, work, drag myself home, AND THEN reply. The wonders of technology are good to me on occasion. On Facebook, I can keep in touch at the exact level of closeness/distance I choose, as with emailing and texting. I don't play Farmville, Mafia Wars or any other Facebook games, though I have to admit that as a trivia lover I do sneak onto Family Feud on occasion to test my knowledge of ridiculously unimportant things.
My daughter’s 13, a few of her friends are on Facebook and she’s been harassing me increasingly to let her make an account. It’s not happening. I hate to disappoint my kids, but desire much more to allow them the chance to BE kids while they are. Facebook is not appropriate for kids. Enough garbage flies at them through mainstream media and from their classmates on the school playground. My 12 and 13 year olds don’t need to be sent hot girls/guys of the day, inappropriate videos, petitions for stopping child molesters and deadbeat dads, or little blurbs telling them who thinks they are kissable. Facebook can wait.
We hear about kids being bullied on Facebook and MySpace all the time. We hear about kids COMMITTING SUICIDE because of it. We hear about parents joining in and propelling the drama forward by facebooking about how angry they are that their kid is being pushed around in these ways. Parents who jump to the defence of their children publicly on social networking sites in a feeble attempt to pound their maternal/paternal chests are ignorant of much more basic parental responsibilities than simply where they are letting their kids play and how they are teaching the kids they ‘protect’, to stand up for themselves. These are the parents of the children your children are connecting with online. Be aware.
Yes, it's cool nowadays, and very much a part of many kids' hometime socializing, and I hate to sound preachy but when I was a kid, we called our 'friends' and then met up. Or we didn't, depending on who we were talking to that week. We didn't send our sometimes friend invitations to parties online, and then dis them to everyone else online. NO, we did that in person if we were doing it at all. I never was one to buy into the the soap opera type excitement that doing those kinds of things brought to some of the lesser intelligent of my school chums, however, at least when they did it, they had to ball up and say, yeah, that was me, when they saw the poor kid in question IN PERSON the next day.
And as far as all of our parents were concerned, well, for the most part were they to find out about it they would have been the first ones to march their child down the street to apologize. And march down the street, I mean. There were no second chances, no expanations for their child's obnoxious behaviour were attempted or accepted through a Facebook type platform. The child in question would be put through a simliarly humiliating experience to the one they had imposed upon their unsuspecting victim. And guess what? They didn't do it again.
Being emotionally scarred by the experience of having to personally apologize to another child, perhaps grovel at their feet a spell, in the presence of a cluster of dismayed adults seemed to do the trick. It seemed to do the trick real good.
Where is that vehement push towards integrity from parents these days? Apart from the few kids' parents you might know, because they are the parents of the kids you allow yours to hang around, they would seem to be few and far between today. They would almost seem washed out with the tide of new age communication.
However, my kids can continue to meet up with their friends, in person, and on my approval for a few more years before Facebook and the like completely take over the natural progression of kids 'friending' kids. That natural progression of personal introduction is still alive and in some families, thriving. As it should be.