“Did you like what I posted mom?” It’s funny how what we say has changed since getting Facebook accounts. Everyone in my family has an account; Mom, Dad and three teens 14, 15, and 17, two daughters and a son. They were allowed to have Facebook accounts once they turned 13.
The age limit was disliked, but my teens are used to having restrictions with different things in life. For example, my children didn’t have a video game system until they turned 11. I think they each had phones after turning 13.
There have also been age limits for PG movies and none of them have watched R movies while being under 17 unless it was with parents and with skipping parts and as long as the movie had a meaningful and worthy message.
We’ve decided that our children and us having Facebook accounts is a positive experience. We have moved around quite a bit in the last 10 years or so. Having a Facebook account has provided a way for my children to keep in touch with the many kids they’ve befriended across the country.
I’ve enjoyed seeing them share pictures and chat with friends living in Colorado, New Jersey and other places. Of course they also communicate with friends here in Texas. We like to travel, so one day; they may see these kids again.
Another positive thing is that my children enjoy sharing who they are on-line. They post pictures, web links, songs, scriptures and sometimes silliness. I can see well in how they share the mundane about life, school, and family and learn friends in different parts of the country experience life differently.
Also, I enjoy reading my children’s postings. I’ve learned many things about my children from what they post. I read what their favorite song is or what movie affected them in a certain way. I can also get an idea of what their friends are like from the little things they say in response.
My teens know they are monitored and so far this hasn’t dampened their enjoyment of Facebook. As a matter of fact,
We belong to a church community where Facebook is used in a positive and edifying way. Many of our congregation post scriptures and encouraging words. The adults and children “friend” each other and we enliven each other’s lives this way.
As for the negative side, Facebook can become an all-consuming activity. All five of us are guilty of spending more than a few hours throughout the day when we could be doing other things or while avoiding the unpleasant things we must do each day.
While so far, this has not been a huge issue, there have been a few times that we’ve restricted Facebooking to weekends due to low grades or neglecting of daily chores. However, I haven’t yet completely taken away any of my teens accounts because so far the positives have outweighed the negatives.
There is another thing I’ve been more concerned with recently regarding Face book use. I wonder if Facebooking has taken away some of the motivation for my children to be creative. My 17-year-old son is a musician and at times, when I think he could be spending time practicing his instrument or creating music, I see him on the computer.
My daughter’s an artist and the same happens with her. I see her wile away hours chatting or browsing the posts when she could be creating art or just drawing. The same goes for my youngest daughter who has enjoyed writing stories and songs and singing. She has written some songs, but did the songs make it to a recording? Has she completed her writing of any stories?
So, even though I’ve allowed Facebook into my teens lives, I do evaluate and monitor their use of it. My husband and I keep a daily watch on homework and make sure it’s being completed.
I can understand why some parents keep their child from having a Facebook account.
The temptation to stay on Facebook for numerous hours at a time is a family challenge. However, because there are positive benefits for having an account, I choose to allow Facebook in our lives. Just like with many things in life, moderation is the key.