As a mom or dad, you hear it all the time. Too often. It’s one of those firm parenting axioms recited by smug sages — like “sleep when your baby sleeps” — that’s as nonnegotiable as it is unachievable.
“Children don’t need a friend,” the advice goes. “They need a parent.” And it’s true. Except on Facebook, where it turns out to be entirely false.
After years of careful evasion, my husband and I finally let our 8th grader create a Facebook account. We’d been holding out, we said, because publishing personal information to hundreds of people requires a modicum of maturity; crude comments and damning photos can have disastrous consequences.
But here was the real reason: We didn’t want him to see our crude comments and damning photos on Facebook: The status updates whining about our kids’ whining. The picture of dual-mounted street signs at the intersection of Inyo and Butte. The absurd pages I support, including one called “When I was a kid I thought Cal Worthington said ‘Pussycow,’ not ‘Go See Cal.'”
But our reasons for keeping the kid off social-networking sites (“Beware the cyber bullies, whatever those are”) were growing thinner, and our hypocrisy (“We’ll discuss this later, son; I’m busy on Facebook now”) ever fatter. So we caved.
Continue reading My Child, My ‘Friend’?