Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Facebooking

So, along with a gazillion other people on the planet, Tyler has created a Facebook account. As he approaches official teenage status, along with all of his friends, I knew Facebook was only a matter of time... it was totally inevitable, and it is totally fine.

This morning Dave and I were discussing the "checks and balances" of having a pre-teen on Facebook. Specifically, we were talking about whether or not we should be checking his account from time to time and make sure nothing screwy is going on.

We floated this idea to Tyler this morning, explaining that we would need his username and password... and the result was one bent-out-of-shape kid who thinks the request is unfair.

As it happens, Dave and I don't agree on the issue... so I thought I'd open it up here for group discussion.

One of us thinks that having access to Ty's account is a good idea -- that all kids need to be accountable for what they say and do online as well as in "real life," and if he knows we have access to his account -- even if we never actually access it -- he will mind what he says. It's also not a bad idea from a security standpoint; it wouldn't hurt to check in once in a while to make sure that he isn't divulging too much information about himself.

On the flip side, one of us believes Tyler has a certain right to privacy, especially as he enters adolescence; that he should be able to interact with his friends freely without fearing repercussions from "Big Brother." He's a good kid and he has good friends (who, frankly, would probably rat him out if he said some inappropriate online anyway), so we should trust him to behave appropriately... the general idea being that granting trust initially will foster responsible behavior, which will, in turn, earn more trust.

Dave has a Facebook account; I continue to resist the Facebook craze (reasons behind this are for another post at another time). The compromise would be to have Dave invite Tyler to be his "friend" and, that way, Dave can check things out if need be... but Tyler wasn't crazy about this idea, either.

Here comes the "It-Takes-a-Village-to-Raise-a-Child" portion of the program.

Do you think Tyler has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of Facebooking with wild abandon, or should the parental dictatorship set some boundaries? I'd really love some input before we make our final ruling on this issue.


Tennille said...

I'm all about checking up on kids on the web. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, as a parent. You could give him choices: 1. He adds Dave as a friend/2. lets you have his username and password/3. he has to ditch Facebook altogether.

If he still balks, find a friend or relative of yours that he thinks is cool and have that person add him as a friend (and thus check up on him). A friend of mine started on Facebook so she could keep tabs on her niece.

Kareen said...

Love the idea of the "cool person" being the mole... I'll have to think about who that would be... thanks for the input, lady!

Christy said...

Because of online dangers, I tend to lean towards the side of some checking in. Facebook isn't exactly "private" anyway, it's pretty open to the world, right? So why shouldn't you see his account? A personal diary is another story.

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Nicole said...

I'm finally catching up on blogging and your stories. First of all, you do not look like a pageant mom! Don't know why she would say that. I was imagining something totally different when you explained it to me. And good job on the relay! Looks so fun! Thanks for helping me pack up a few weeks ago. You are a life saver! Let's get together soon!