Tween and Teenagers
Facebook: The Next Generation of Socialization for Teens
Right now I’m browsing my teenager’s Facebook account and as I’m looking, I’m stunned to see he’s friends with 93 other people.
It’s not that I don’t think he can have 93 friends (I realize some are friends and family) but wow; the number still kind of shocks me a little.
At first I was leery about him having a Facebook account. I had seen some other parents within my circle allowing their young tweens and teens Myspace accounts and I was astounded at what the kids were posting, even knowing their parents were listed among their friends. At the same time, I saw parents posting things that I thought were completely inappropriate for their “friend” tween or teenager to see. I seriously began to question the necessity of letting a teenager near the Internet at all.
Then my own teen asked for a Facebook account. Before I gave him reign of the Interwebs, I laid down a few ground rules:
I will have your password and login information.
We will be friends on Facebook.
If for some reason I am ever blocked from your account or you change your login information, you lose your account.
After going to my own community, I learned that I’m pretty much on the right track with my rules and the way I monitor my teen’s Facebook page. The rules weren’t created to be nosey. Quite the contrary actually. The rules were created to give me peace of mind and to keep my teen safe. With cyber bullying becoming the latest in ways for teens to torment each other I didn’t want to be shut out of a potentially volatile world for my teen.
The decision for your teen to have a Facebook account is one that should be discussed between you and your teen openly but even that doesn’t mean your teen won’t create one without your knowledge. However if you and your teen are in agreement over getting a Facebook account, you do have to be kept in the loop; either by rules similar to the ones I have listed above or through rules that you and your teen come up with together. Thankfully my teenager is good with my rules and understands them completely.
Ultimately, I can’t tell you the right age for your teen to have a Facebook account because this is going to be different for everyone and what might be right for one teenager might not be right for another; you know your teenager best – follow their lead. (And believe it or not but there are some teenagers who could care less about Facebook). But I will say this; if your teenager has a Facebook account, I highly recommend that you get one as well. Even if you aren’t going to monitor your teen’s Facebook activity, you at least know how the site works and what your teen means when they say “post to my wall” or “tagged me in a photo”. And who knows, you might just reconnect with some of your old friends as well.
Does your teenager have a Faceook account? I’d love to hear your guidelines for Facebook and teenagers!