Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dear Parents, It's Time for a Facebook Talk.

If you're a parent, please hear me out. Talk to your kids about Facebook!  Kids need to understand that whatever they post online will live digitally forever.  If they say something somewhat dicey it could reap some serious repercussions. 

Just last week two kids realized the magnitude of their social media outbursts.  A 13-year old girl in New Hampshire posted on Facebook that she wished Bin Laden would kill her math teacher.  She was suspended from school for 5 days.  A 13-year old boy from Washington state recently made a status update on Facebook warning Obama that suicide bombers were after him due to the Bin Laden raid. He was interrogated by the Secret Service.

Kids often don't think about their postings being visible to the whole world.  It should be explained to them that if they if they are posting something they should be okay with it living on a billboard in Times Square with their name attached to it, if they're not okay with that, then they should think twice.

Mark Zuckerberg stated last week that he thinks kids under 13 could benefit from Facebook.  And while the law currently prohibits anyone under 13 from participating on sites of this nature, get ready for it!  Later in his interview Zuckerberg said, "That will be a fight we take on at some point."

I give lots of kudos to parents in this digital age - it's harder than ever.  My challenge to you is to stay on top of technologies and understand them.  That way, when you talk to your kids they will realize that you understand the technology which will give you huge credibility in their eyes.  They will be more likely to heed your advice if you learn to understand the social media landscape.


  1. Great guidance. Funny thing though, I clicked through on your tweet because my *parents*, who are both retired, still don't use Facebook, and I was thinking you might have been sharing perspectives on older (versus younger) audiences. ;-)

    Still, good advice!

  2. I remember I didn't get into the facebook bubble until just before I got into RIT. Before that, it was myspace (which has since lost my interest for someb time). I think that although facebook's policy leans towards my generation, the younger generation is more attracted to this culture. I recall reading some articles recently that facebook did make a point in deleting around 50,000ish profiles a second or so, for profiles at least under 13, or something like that.

    That's partly a sticky subject, and one I don't completely agree with that action, I think it would be an advantage for all parties to be educated on using these social tools wisely. Parents shouldn't rely on the internet to babysit their kids (or ignore their kids while taking care of their virtual kids). They also shouldn't 100% rely on teachers to educate (and babysit) children when this technology isn't part of the curriculum.

    I think part of being a parent is to guide their kids with the right set of wisdom to help them be better people and stay out of trouble. one doesn't have to try to be a perfect parent, but if you teach what you learned about interacting with people in real life, the principle is basically the same. like: don't say anything you'd want people to know about in public. Such comments aren't always anonymous as you'd think (like this one!)



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