Warning to Parents: Be Careful What You Post
I recently read a disturbing message on a woman’s Facebook page. She was angry with her adult daughter and posted a vicious note on that daughter’s Facebook page citing that she was irresponsible and a bad mother to her infant. Sadly, I know this mother and I know that after thinking about her vitriolic post, she will regret it. Her daughter in the meantime will suffer great humiliation and the relationship between the two will never be the same. All because the mother acted impulsively in her anger.
Facebook poses very serious issues for us all- especially for parents. If we fail to be disciplined with our emotions and our writing, we can do great damage to our kids. So I strongly caution parents to set firm boundaries for yourselves in order to keep your kids from humiliation and from danger. Facebook is a lot of fun but with one untimely or poorly written post, you child’s life can be changed forever.
First, parents should never write on their kids’ wall. If your child is an adult, maybe you can send a greeting but if he or she is in high school, parents should keep what they have to say to their kids, private. Parents often write something that they feel is cute or harmless, but anything can be misconstrued by friends and make kids embarrassed. None of us wants to humiliate our kids so stay off their walls. I do feel that full access to viewing their walls is not only a parent’s right but their responsibility. We need to see not only who is conversing with our kids, but also what they are saying. If our kids are being bullied, we need to know it. Allowing kids to live in a private world where parents have no access simply isn’t safe even for very mature kids.
Second, personal information about kids must stay private. Even parents fall prey to believing that only friends see our kids’ Facebook pages. We see a community of friends writing to our kids and we are duped into believing that only nice people are reading. All it takes is for one creep to cruise around your kid’s page and he can find out almost anything he wants about her. If you think that your child is safe because she has limited access to her page, think again. Any savvy computer geek can hack into her page any time. So don’t post anything about your child that you wouldn’t want a creep to know— like where she lives, when she’s on vacation, etc.
One speaker recently stated that the more publicly a person lives, the less power he has. When we allow people access to our personal lives, we grant them the ability to control us and manipulate us. When we keep our private lives to ourselves and withhold critical information, we maintain that power. This is a critical concept and one which our children need to understand. We have come to a place in our culture where we feel that everything we feel, think and believe should be public. But when we allow public access to our deepest selves, we give others control over us. We should not allow this to happen to our kids.
Unfortunately for many parents, Facebook becomes a way where we can enter our kids’ worlds and be friendly to their friends. Zealous parents want to join in the fun and look like the accepted parent. But don’t do this. Back off your kids’ walls and simply watch their activity. And teach them to withhold more personal information so that they can stay in control.