Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Fine Art of Caving

"Can I have Facebook?" Bear started asking me in sixth grade when "all" her friends were piling onto the social network like lemmings.

"No way." I said, cementing my status as the uncool mom who "never let her do anything." Unfortunately for her, I'm cool with that.

However, I recently caved. She just finished seventh grade, and while by no means worldly, has acquired a bit more savvy about the Internet. Enough, at least, to let me green light Facebook with several caveats:

-Don't list your birth year.
-Don't list your school name.
-Don't list your town name.
-Don't be a moron.
-Dad and I are among your FB friends.
-I am privy to your login and password and control your privacy settings.

She knows that The Mom Gaveth and The Mom Will Sure As HELL Taketh Away, if the power of the Facebook is abused.

When I was toying with the idea of caving, I did some exploring around on some of her classmates' FB pages. Pages whose privacy settings were open enough to allow me (not their FB friend) to surf through their information and photos. I can confidently say that some of their parents spend zero time on their kids' Facebook pages.

I found suggestive photos (i.e. preteen cleavage shots), profanity, and horrendous spelling/grammar. I was pretty equally appalled by all three. Not usually the judgmental type, I can confidently say that if my 13-year-old consistently misspelled "what" as "wat" on their FB page, that she has no business spending her time on FB. Call me a hardass.

Letting Bear on FB has had the additional effect of curtailing some of my own FB fun. I've never accepted friend requests from kids before, but now I am in the interests of keeping my finger on the pulse of her social life. It's all very Big Brother, and I can confidently say that my own parents never had half this information about what went on amongst me and my friends. Fascinating.

For me, though, this new Bear-inclusive Facebook means:

-No more cursing on FB. Damn it.
-Removing all links to my blog on FB. I need to reserve some corner of the Internet where I can bitch with impunity.

Wish us luck.


quilting grandma said...

We share your reservations. Good luck! Grandma and Grandpa

Jen on the Edge said...

The older girl asked us for Fb shortly after her 11th birthday, at which time we told her that she could ask us again on her 13th birthday, which is Fb's minimum age.

When the time comes, we'll have the same rules that you guys came up with, including Mom Giveth and Mom Taketh Away.

Smalltown Mom said...

My sons are my facebook friends. I try not to say anything too mean about them, that's the only self-censorship I practice! They're not very chatty and rarely post anything so my worries are few.

Nana said...

I think Bear has proven that she's reponsible enough to be on FB. She might need occasional reminders, though, about being careful how she words her comments. This will be a good way for her to stay in touch with both her school and dance friends. And her Nana!

Dawn in Austin said...

All my kids are on FB, but of course, they're in their 20s. Since they can't be bothered to pick up the phone to let mom know how they're doing, I have to learn about new relationships via a FB status change. Oh, and that's how I learned I have another grand-cat, on FB. I hope to goodness I don't learn about any, more important, grands in this manner.

Susan said...

The photos were a real shock to me when my 14 year old started up on FB. Her older siblings alerted me to them, even though I had already seen them, they wanted to make sure I was aware!

And yes, I don't like it that their friends try to friend me...

I pretty much don't use it for myself anymore -

Cindy said...

Good luck with this change!

Meg said...

Whew, good luck with that! I work with a woman who has a fifteen year old son and she stalks his facebook page religiously. Keep yourself in the know.