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.