Just some months ago, my son Nathan, age thirteen, declared he wanted a Facebook account. All of his close pals had one, and the desired one, too. After my belly knotted a piece and I started a silent prayer, I agreed that he ought to open a Facebook account. However, I explained to him there would be positive “situations.” Like any child these days, Nathan often involves mother and father with requests for this aspect or that component he absolutely can’t stay without. And he continually comes prepared with convincing arguments…He desperately needs a cellular telephone, the modern gaming innovation, or every other 15 songs from iTunes.
His instances are strong. However, my husband and I are united in our position that Nathan should not get everything he asks for. If he did, what would there be to look ahead to, to work in the direction of, to dream about? That’s why Nathan would not have an Xbox, PlayStation, or Wii. He would not very own a PSP and in no way has had a GameBoy. All that being said, Nathan has usually had a computer. Starting at 3 years old with a kid’s VTech laptop purchased from ToysRUs, he is upgraded every few years to the brand new, finest, yet affordable model…But the creme de Los Angeles creme changed into his iMac that he was given for Christmas the remaining year. He would not, in reality, pass over out on an entire lot. He nonetheless receives to play video games (only it is the ones made for a laptop), but also with his laptop he creates track the usage of his guitar, data and enhances songs with GarageBand, provides original soundtracks to his personal iMovies, and uses it to do his homework. Though now not too extra, we inspire his pc interest.
So when Nathan got here to me with his Facebook request, I said “sure,” albeit with some trepidation. Like most mother and father, I even have heard the horror testimonies and knew the ability hazard that the Internet and websites like Facebook and MySpace should motive for a prone youngster. But I’m also suggesting and instructing our children in order they mature they could make the proper choices for themselves. It’s just that during-between time from infant to a younger person that is so perilous these days and causes us, parents, to move grey, particularly with the Internet’s introduced threat.
So this is why the “conditions.” I defined to Nathan it became a lot like driving a car. It would be silly of his father or me to hand over the keys at sixteen or 17 and expect him to appropriately function an automobile without proper schooling, instruction, and guidance. The same is real with the Internet and, in this case, having a Facebook account. There are matters he desires to realize to keep himself safe, to protect his privateness and that of his pals, and to apprehend the “bits and bobs” of secure maneuvering thru a teen’s social community.
1. The email that Nathan registered his Facebook account with turned into one I had to get entry to. That intended at any time I may want to move into his account, take a glance, and make sure the whole lot on his Facebook met the “Mom and Dad Everything Looks Okay” test. Also, something that changed into written on his wall came to me via e-mail notification.
2. He agreed to “Random Facebook Reviews” where we would ask him to take us thru his account. These were meant to be academic, essentially fun, low-key opinions of what he shared in his profile, pics (if any) he displayed, what become written with the aid of his friends on his Wall, bumper stickers he accumulated and different matters he would possibly have available for view by using his pals.
3. He ought to only “Friend” youngsters he knew, and definitely no adults (except his dad, me, and Aunt Carol).
4. The computer that he used could be placed in a public spot in our residence and never in his room or the back of a closed door. We continuously adjust as matters change, like Facebook updates and new functions, but the operative phrase here is “we.” It’s a “family affair.” Nathan knows that mum and dad are worried because we are maximumly worried approximately his safety and now not about looking to seize him doing something incorrectly. Now, it is not usually clean cruising; we do have conflicts. However, the crucial aspect is that we preserve the communique lines open.
And you know, I’ve seen some superb effects with the Facebook revel in, as well. The teenage years are often hard territory to move…Especially the early teenagers. You have a few teenagers maturing fast, while others, not a lot. And it isn’t easy…On both the boys and ladies. But what I’m selecting up through the messages and other Facebook conversations from Nathan’s “buddies,” both boys and ladies, is the ease with which they communicate thru this medium…Bypassing that awkwardness that we encountered as young adults. I requested Nathan approximately that if Facebook made it simpler to talk to women or different humans, he might not usually meet in his organization of friends. He agreed it was a pressure-loose, a laughing way to speak to a person to who he might not in most cases feel secure speaking.
Facebook also presents a possibility for all to customize their area, encouraging our youngsters to be creative and giving “friends” a picture of what makes our children so special. Finally, it gives a backdrop on which to have instructional conversations with our kids. For instance, a couple of weeks in the past, I saw some emails coming in that have been no longer favorable toward a positive younger lady. I used it as a getting to know opportunity, emphasizing empathy and reminding Nathan how he would now not need others to speak about him how his pals had been speaking about this young female…An actual learning opportunity that, without Facebook, we probably could have ignored.