California Facebook Law Would Trample Our Kids' Spirits


FacebookWhen you hear "privacy law" and "Facebook," the first thing that comes to mind is "finally," right? They're finally stepping up for the little guy? Maybe not. A proposed California "Facebook" law would trample right over one particular little guy -- our kids.

The law would allow parents ultimate control over their kids' Facebook pages, including the right to demand the company erase certain content or even delete the whole page within 48 hours of the request. Hello, helicopter parents, the fever pitch of your celebration is giving me a headache. Can we stop the whirring for 5 seconds and think about what this will DO to your kids?

If you raise your kids in an environment where their every move is monitored, where they aren't allowed to breathe without your say so, are you really surprised they've created a hidden Facebook account and filled it up with all the things you don't want to see? Kids are, after all, individual people. As much as we'd love them to do and say what we plan for them, it doesn't work that way. They have goals, dreams, hobbies that mystify us at times.

What we need to create, rather than a world where we scrub away their identities with emails to social media companies, is an atmosphere of trust. This isn't to be confused with an indictment of anyone who checks up on their child's online whereabouts. That's just good parenting. But the two can go hand in hand.

One mom has a rule that her child has to use Facebook on a family computer. If she walks into the room while the girl is online, the girl isn't allowed to suddenly hide the screen. So the girl can do what she wants, but it's always with the thought in her mind that her mom could walk in at any moment and see what she's doing. It has the effect of keeping it clean without Mom standing over her shoulder at every moment. There's a trust that translates well into the rest of the kid's life. She's a solid student, a pleasure to be around, a good worker.

Take another kid I know, on the other hand. I'll call him Joe. His parents have banned him from having Facebook. They monitor his every move. Or so they think. Because "Joe" tried to friend me recently with an account that lists his first name and fictional last name. The birthdate is different too, but the pictures don't lie. I refused the request. I'm not getting in the middle of it, especially because I'm not a real fan of his mother. She's constantly harping on her child, never giving him any credit for having done ANYTHING right. I don't support his insubordination. But I see where it came from, how it translates into the rest of his life, where he tends to act out for attention.

I can't help hearkening back to my own teenage days when we used not Facebook but old-fashioned pens and journals to get out our feelings. Kids NEED outlets to rant and rave just like adults. They also need the ability to find kindred spirits, and the beautiful thing about today's kids is they have an option freaks in our generation didn't -- the Internet.

Will Burns over at Howtos, Rants, and Reviews who alerted me to this story had a very simple summation of the ridiculousness behind legislating kids' behavior on Facebook:

If parents don't want their kids putting things on the internet they should just not allow them to use social networks. If parents feel they should have access to their children's accounts then they should talk with their kids and agree to have their login credentials.

That's it, parents. That's all you have to do. Buck up and act like real parents. Let your kids be themselves.

Do you think we need a law to legislate this? Or should parents find what works in their household?

Image via Facebook

behavior, tough topics


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Seren... Serenity75

I just have to ask.... Do you actually have any kids Jeanne Sager?  I'm guessing not.


Bewit... BewitchedKisses

Yeah, I'm sorry. I'm not a helicopter parent, but I'm not going to allow my kids to have a "social network" site and not have the password myself.

The things your child puts up on facebook affects their lives. Colleges and jobs are now looking at people's facebook profiles to see if the person is good material for their institution.

I have teenage cousins that use their facebook pages to start fights with other kids, they put up pictures of themselves drinking underage, and pictures of themselves doing drugs. They friend everyone that asks. No. Not going to happen in my house. Once you post something on the internet it NEVER goes away. Ever. It will be around somewhere on some webpage or server for forever.

vanes... vanessa5470

I'm sorry..I think it's a great idea. If your kid isn't doing anything wrong, then what is there to hide?

I can't help but think about all the teen suicides and crimes simply because of facebook and cyberbullying. What did those parents feel and think once they found out what their trustworthy teens were doing on the internet??

Parents need to be responsible for their kids and their actions, ESPECIALLY when it's online accessible for the entire world.

vanes... vanessa5470

Trample our kids spirits....lmao...most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.

nonmember avatar Anon

I agree with the other commenters. There is a reason why kids need parents. How that doesn't apply in the arena of instant international communication is beyond me.

Kat.M. Kat.M.

Like it or not kids will do stuff behind your back... I've been there done that.

Laura Scarborough

the rule in our house is they can have a FB account but I am their friend. I usually don't interact but I do monitor daily. I have on occasion called them on their behavior and have them remove things and taken away FB privileges.
I have seen their friends' accounts where it is obvious the parents have no clue at all. And there are the extreme parents...they scare me even more than the kids behaving badly on FB. Just recently I testified at a hearing where a child was seeking to have a restraining order against her non-custodial parent who has used FB to bully and intimidate his child not unlike how he bullied, battered and intimidated his ex and still does today. He would demand her password, call FB and demand access to his child's account and a number of other things. Why? Because his daughter chose mom over him...because his daughter chose dance over sports...because he had no control over his child's life and even if she wasn't living with him he felt that he should have complete control over her dammit. His bullying her on FB bled over to her FB friends who did not have privacy protection in place. A law like this would be disatrous for kids like her.
I know!
How about we be the parents. We be the grownups. We monitor our kids FB accounts without the government telling us that we can and because FB really should be for teens and older we be the parent and enforce this in our own way in our homes.

Dazzl... DazzlednSeattle

Diaries are private. When you're on the Internet, you're in public. 

Every key stroke, every upload, every download, every click. Quite literally, everyone and anyone can see everything given enough motive or even simple inadvertent opportunity. 

Why should a parent be the only one NOT looking?

madfoot madfoot

Love ya, Jeanne, but I gotta disagree. A friend's daughter had a sexy video up ad didn't think through the consequences -- it was important to get the content down asap.

chris... chrissy71377

My stepkids are NOT allowed to have facebook or anything like it because of the craziness in the world. I agree with many of the others: you obviously have no children.

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