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Little Girls and Facebook
The other night I set up a Facebook account for my oldest daughter. I have fought it and fought it but, alas, the social network won. I gave in because my daughter needed a fast efficient way to communicate with her friends back home. See, we just moved and my daughter is in that delicate stage where she is still very much a baby but she is also just on the brink of being a teenager. My daughter will be 12 soon and it has not been as easy for her to make new friends as it has been for her younger sisters. I felt so consumed with guilt over the fact that my daughter was lonely and missing her friends - and her Facebook was born.
Facebook, Kids, and Safety Rules
I have heard so many horror stories about Facebook stalkers and pervs trying to pick up young girls so the first thing I did was set up some very strict rules:
- NO adults - my daughter is not allowed to have me, her father, her father's friends, and her friend's parents on her Facebook. I think it just leaves the whole "friends of friends" option a little too open. My sister has 2,376 friends. Do I really need her "friends" having access to my daughter's pictures? Noooo - so instead of being picky and choosey over adults I made it simple...none at all.
- NO strangers - if my daughter doesnt know an individual in person she cannot friend him or her. This makes me feel safer that pervs arent registering under fake little girl names to friend young girls.
- I get the password and free access to ALL information on the account. My daughter understands I can, and I will, look at her private messages and comments made on other pages. Lucky for me she is a good girl and she doesnt mind having me look over her shoulder.
- Facebook time is limited each day. I cant stand the thought of my sweet little girl sitting behind a monitor all day and night instead of getting out to enjoy life. My daughter is fine with this - she just uses the telephone to set up "chat sessions" with her friends.
When I got my daughter to agree to all the rules I set up her account and showed her how to look up things that interest her, how to search for friends, and how to comment / like. It didnt take long before we found some of my daughter's old friends. Then "suggested friends" started popping up and my daughter pointed out other kids - ahem KIDS - she knew. I couldnt believe it. I had to make the profile pics of these so-called kids bigger. One was posing in a bikini, another looked like an over made-up 30 year old woman, and several others were making sexy kissy faces (okay okay - duck faces) at the camera. This brought up a whole new set of rules....what pictures may be posted and which ones are best suited for our eyes only.
5. NO duck face photos! I wont tolerate a kissy-face duck looking photo of my daughter on Facebook. Also NO bikini shots. Seriously - this IS an issue with little girls in the 10-12 age bracket? I never knew...and I think I was much happier NOT knowing. It breaks my heart to see young girls growing up too fast.
6. NO pictures of friends and family unless you get permission from those people. The last thing I need is a picture of me sleeping and drooling getting circulated on Facebook as a joke...
If you have kids let me know what your take is on Facebook. This age group is all new territory to me so Im always open to suggestions and ideas. Tell me: Do you stick to the 14 and up rule? Do your kids have Facebook? Do you check it regularly if they do? Am I too strict with my rules? Have you had any bad experiences with kids on Facebook?
Thanks for taking the time to read. I know Facebook is an old, tired subject but I am shocked that parents let their kids post bikini and/or kissy face photos online. We read the awful stories on the news all the time: Little Girl Lured Out of Home by Man on Facebook - Found Dead Two States Over.