Sunday, April 3, 2011

I'm Watching You

Daughter signed up for a Facebook account a couple of months ago. [Shhhhh. It's a secret because she's not 13 yet. I know, right? She lied on Facebook? How unusual.]

In addition to having set up a sham account of my own to friend her with, I also, as a responsible parent, have her password to go in and sleuth around as if I were her. Why two ways of accessing her account? As the friend in order to see, in a morbidly curious way, how many of her idiot friends don't have proper privacy settings. As herself to look over her shoulder and swiftly correct any wrongdoings. Like the time she friended the real Taylor Swift. Right.

She is only allowed to friend people she actually knows. [I'd limit it to people she actually likes, but what's the fun in that?] And I know most of the kids -- mostly girls -- from her and Eldest's days in elementary school and their time spent doing time in middle school. I remember them as really sweet kids.

Man, have some soured. The language and references made by a handful astound me. I have to wonder if their parents have any clue what their kids are spouting for their friends -- and, frankly, all the world in some cases -- to see. Racist comments. Foul language. Sexual references beyond belief. Homophobic comments. They say things that would get my child kicked off the computer for a year at a time.

So when the lovely Daughter returns from her ski trip with the Girl Scouts this weekend, she's going to be directed to unfriend the most unsavory of the folks.

I waffle on whether to send emails to their parents about it. The part of me that truly believes it does take a village is currently being shouted out by the part of me that says if the parents are too stupid or too naive or, perhaps worst of all, too trusting of 13- and 14-year-old girls to be watching what their kids do online why should I step in.

Would I want to know if it were Daughter? You bet. On the other hand, I do know if it's Daughter. Because I'm actually paying attention.


Josie Two Shoes said...

I have several young people on my Facebook that I have known since they were small, and I agree, the language, content, and attitudes expressed are either shocking our I am hoplessly out of date with the world(but I don't think so). It's rather sad that many of the Facebook friends I have had to mark as "don't show posts" on my page are young people that express themselves in ways I don't want to subject my adult readersship to!!

I have contacted my step-daughter on several occasions to note what my granddaughter has posted on her page. Sometimes it gets corrected, sometimes ignored. At this point I've said all I will say to her, because I too feel that if you aren't smart enough to watch carefully what your own child is doing on the Internet, then there's not much I can do to help. But I do keep watching, in case of signs of major issues that just have to be brought up.

My fear is, that if you start contacting parents, your daughter's friends will realize she is the snitch and will resent her for it. But I do applaud you keeping a close eye on what your own daughter is saying and doing.

My little sister took it one step too far some years back, masquerading as her sons on Messenger, and began conversations with their friends. She thought it wa funny, I though it was totally wrong and so did her sons.
~Josie Two Shoes~
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Tara R. said...

When my daughter first opened her FB acct. she was in high school and at the time, only kids were on that network. If it was only harsh language or racist comments, I probably wouldn't say anything to the parents. I would tell my daughter I wasn't happy with it. If sexually charged photos were posted, or anything that made it clear the kid was involved in anything else dangerous, YES I would tell the parents.

Patois42 said...

Of course I do worry about the snitch factor (which is why I've even considered setting up a bland, non-traceable gmail account to rat kids out). Tara's point about it just being language definitely gives me pause as well. I guess it's actions that I should care more about.

Not Afraid To Use It said...

That is a hard one. As a parent I would want to know if my kid were the one making nasty comments. However, many parents do not. Ugh.

Unknown said...

Good for you to be keeping a watchful eye!


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