Disclosures: I do not have children and I am not advocating breaking the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, I understand Omar’s article is satire.
In Omar L. Gallaga’s recent article on What will happen if Generation Dora overruns Facebook he details what he finds to be the scary proposition of young children overrunning Facebook.
A simple fix to most of his worries is corrected by:
- Not accepting friends who are inclined to the habits listed in his post
- Hiding all posts from that particular user
- Hide specific posts from third party apps
- Defriend the user all together.
Also, Omar thinks 20 somethings are going to leave Facebook because of younger users. I say us 20 somethings are not going to leave Facebook because of younger users but of older narrow minded oldies like Omar.
What he is really getting at is keeping his own children away from the site. If his kids already have an interest in Facebook they will join the site with or without his blessings. From an outsider’s perspective it looks like a valuable teaching experience. Omar’s article reminds me of a recent letter by Anthony Ocini, the principal of Benjamin Franklin Middle School in New Jersey, stating “There is absolutely no reason for any middle school student to be a part of a social networking site.” I wonder if he bans all communication on the playground, lunchroom, and classroom as well?
What I would teach my children about Facebook:
- Privacy: Assume everything going out on the Internet is public regardless of what checkbox you click to make it private. Only accept friends that you know.
- Be part of the community: Facebook and social networking sites are about building a network. Teach your children to contribute to the community. As young children maybe this is providing a link to a fun toy, website, or help for homework.
- Be respectful: Be respectful of others opinions, be respectful by using appropriate language, and be respectful by not spamming friends with game invites or updates.
I also would advocate for the use of parental settings, a monitoring tool on the device, monitor friend lists, and put limits on amount of time the child uses Facebook.
How do you feel about children joining social networking sites?