My kids are pressuring me to let them open a Facebook account. Most of this is from my twelve year old. He has found out that most of the Boy Scouts in his Troop are on Facebook. These kids are mostly from public school and then two parochial private schools in the area (so this is not just a public school kid trend).
I've been on Facebook for a couple of months. I know I'm late to the game. But I feel like I reveal so much here on my blog to strangers plus I have friends and some family who read my blog. How much more do I need to share and do for my online time?
In the past I have shared negative views of Facebook for kids and tweens and teens and instead thought face to face socialization was better, or talking on the phone as second best. I still believe that. I see though that sometimes kids are in the house or it is late at night and they are just choosing to use social networking sites to communicate instead of the phone or face to face (which parents would object to both, late phone calls and staying out late at night). Other times the kids are just home with the parents (like around dinnertime) and this new technology is easy to log on and chat a bit before dinner is served. This is just a new thing that kids are doing that people in my generation didn't have the option to participate in.
Now that I'm on Facebook I can see the way it is secure and would feel safe having my kids on there (safe from predators).
And because my nine year old thinks he is older and is one of the type of people who live seeking fairness and equality, if I let my twelve year old on Facebook I will have pressure to let my younger son on it too.
My one reservation is the issue of the kids not understanding the ramifications of their actions. I worry about impulsive posts and not understanding the weight of what gets posted. I don't worry so much about cyber bullying as we could limit who our kids associate with. I worry about inappropriate things said from the other kids, even nice Boy Scouts. I also worry about the risk of future employers and colleges finding the old Facebook posts.
The Boy Scouts tell me they like to use the chat feature on Facebook. They live chat for hours and hours, some until three in the morning. They say their parents have no clue and think they are asleep and that the computer (in their bedrooms) is already shut down for the night, but they are wrong!
For now I'm holding off but it may not be for long. We'll have to see...