My ex and I have very different opinions on everything related to parenting from discipline to privileges. This includes Facebook. Consider this post a humorous look at the situation for those not in it, and a word to the wise warning for those in a similar situation.
I have many issues with non-adults holding Facebook accounts. Even as an adult, I find it too easy to have diarrhea of the mouth and spew the wrong thing in the wrong place. The security and features are constantly changing, making it difficult to understand all the intricacies of the technology. When you don’t personally know someone you’re adding to your friend list, it’s too easy to add a wolf in sheep’s clothing or demons masquerading as angels.
I found out some months ago my ex gave his old account to my children (yes, I used my) and started a different one. I was less than pleased. Chagrined and frustrated don’t even begin to cover it. After a few months of listening to me gripe, my current hubby just plain asked me to either stop talking or do something.
What exactly do you do? I paced. I griped with excessive words to my still, small Voice. I stomped.
When I got done, I decided to apply a two-pronged approach. First, you rehab the account. Then, you set some guidelines.
After having the kids log into the account in my presence, I used the following steps to have the kids rehab the account:
- I had them reset the security globally to Friends only. I can’t review every post (and I have a feeling I would need a warehouse full of the pink, minty liquid if I tried), so the best I can do is make sure only their “friends” see their mistakes (we are still working on that friend definition).
- We reviewed the friends list friend-by-friend. We started with 160+ friends with images that looked like gypsies, tramps, thieves, and demonic entities were visiting. Each child looked at the friends; if they were personally unknown, they were unfriended. By the end of the hour, we were down to less than 100.
- We worked to change some of the images to things more appropriate for their natures. I would have liked to get rid of some of the photos, but that might have been a little much.
Next are the guidelines. I am going to write them off the top of my head and print them later. I was just too enervated from the rehab effort (and sickened by the characters my ex left behind with no concern for guidance of the non-adult children in handling said issues).
- You must keep your security at Friends at all times. Do not customize the security…unless you want to block someone. This rule stands until you’re 21.
- If you do not know the person in real life, do not add them as a friend. This stands under my roof until you are 21.
- You do not share your whereabouts and schedule with your friends list. If your account gets hacked (somebody accesses it without your permission), you don’t want to make it easier for them to steal your CDs, nail polish, and stuffed animals (and my computer, jewelry, and sanity).
- If you wouldn’t wear it to school or church, you shouldn’t post photos of yourself in it. This includes any portion of your birthday suit that is covered by your bathing suit. Also do not post photos of yourself in a bathing suit.
- If you wouldn’t want your mammy or your uncle or me to hear you say it, you probably should just refrain from posting it.
- It is okay to block someone if they seem to not take a hint and keep making comments after you’ve asked them to stop.
- If something someone says on your posts or something someone does on your posts makes you feel creepy, trust your gut and ask me or another trusted adult for help. This goes for private messages as well.
- You will not access the accounts from my home unless I am watching. Sorry, this is non-negotiable.
- My rules go with you everywhere you go. I may not be able to control you when you’re with your dad, but I think I’ve shown you enough of who I am that you know I love you enough to give you reasonable boundaries that you should be able to follow in my absence.
- If any of the rules are broken by any one individual sharing the account, you all lose privileges at the house to access the account. All for one and one for all, circle the wagons, etc.
I think these are some very simple rules. Let me know what you’ve done with your kids.