I have friend on facebook (I know, surprising…)

But, seriously. My friend has a daughter who would like a facebook account. This daughter is under the age required for a facebook page. Facebook does check the age you give when you create your account. A lot of people do allow their kids to create accounts, falsifying date of birth and then monitoring access and such. My friend didn’t think this was a good idea (she didn’t exactly say it that way at first), but wanted to get some feedback from the facebook community. Her facebook friends, that is.

Some friends brought up how it wasn’t a safe environment, so to be wary. Others said they allowed their kids, but knew the password, monitored the children, and hid personal information – that sort of “parenting oversight”. A number pointed out that it would be fudging, in other words, lying, to incorrectly give false information to get an account. They noted that it is hard enough to train a kid to be honest without modeling bad behavior ourselves.

But after all the back and forth (mostly not arguing with each other, just stating their opinions and observations) one person said the following:

Everyone has made good points, but essentially it is up to u friends-name-here, u know what ur child is like and if u think she is gonna be mature enough to handle FB then do what u think is right…

I’ll just have to disagree. It is not “up to you” to “think she is gonna be mature enough to handle” it. It is up to us whether we are going to consistently be honest. I may think my child is mature enough to do a lot of things. But when the rule is X, I don’t get a pass as a parent to say, “Well, I know better.” All arguments about the safety of facebook and personal information aside, and being as loving as possible: This is unethical. And it is not good parenting, either.

Same goes for under-age drinking, under-age smoking, and any-age driving-over-the-speed-limit. That’s not how laws and rules work. You don’t get a “first pass” to agree and decide not to obey. Well – rephrase – you do get the ability to choose to obey (and no one can take that away from you!). You do not get the right to disobey. And if you do disobey, you should expect to be appropriately reprimanded. Even if you think you are acting within your rights. Even if the law violates what you think you are morally or rationally allowed.

As an aside, what is an appropriate recompense for this sort of “I did it my way” behavior on facebook (not that I expect any could be enforced, necessarily)? Any thoughts? I have some coming to mind, though likely they are not very realistic. I would love to hear your thoughts on a reasonable response to this kind of behavior before I offer anything.  Should it just be left to people to be honest, with no attempt to enforce ? Or if you feel I am wrong… let me know why.


About George

I'm interested in theology, languages, translation and various sorts of fermentation.
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2 Responses to honestly?

  1. uuuhhhhhh so many issues here.

    What ever happened to just telling kids no. Not everything is up for negotiation. It’s against the rules. You can wait until it’s not.

    This type of attitude – you get to decide is IMHO ruining society. And it’s not because I don’t value the individual, but there is little understanding of how to function in a community. The world is full of globe-heads.

    I could go on. I’m seriously concerned about children’s relationships and understanding of God when their parents take on this nothing is set in stone mentality.

    As to facebook, I think if found out, the account should be deleted. I’m not personally crazy about having to provide proof of age, that seems a bit of a personal infringement. I also wouldn’t have a problem with canceling a parent’s account if that parent were linked to the kid’s page.

    • George says:

      Totally hear you. I can definitely see the account dropped if found out. It was all I could do not to respond on the facebook thread – but it had already reached its culmination with my friend stating that the issue had been resolved with the child. So I settled for the post here. I’m not crazy about asking age, even in the enrollment phase – but I think there must be some kind of rule, since Amazon asks similar when you post a review. Doubt they would do that otherwise – though I could be wrong.

      I don’t think I have a problem getting rid of the parent’s account either – but I think there are enough circumstantial issues with it that it wouldn’t be practical. Someone would have an issue with it serious enough to keep it from getting implemented.

      And just to be clear, my friend was just looking for validation that she wasn’t off her parental rocker. Her child took it well when told she would have to wait. So all ends well on that front.

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