facebook for adults only?
While reading CNN this morning, I stumbled upon an article about how middle schoolers should not be allowed to partake in social networking sites.
I’m torn on that.
Anthony Orsini is a middle school principal in New Jersey. He says: “There is absolutely no reason for any middle school student to be a part of a social networking site!,” he wrote. “Let me repeat that – there is absolutely, positively no reason for any middle school student to be a part of a social networking site!”
He goes on to say:
His school’s guidance counselors for years now have been mediating spats that originated online, Orsini said. The last straw for him was students’ growing use of Formspring, a social-networking upstart where members ask and answer questions about one another.
Now, personally, I couldn’t imagine what high school would have been like, had there been facebook. Probably a lot more stressful. I mean, what if so-and-so doesn’t accept your friend request, yet you have to see this person daily? I went to a very small school, where my graduating class had about 72. The grades went from 7 to 12. We knew everyone. So facebooking and being in high school would have been so … well … high school. You know what I mean.
More from the article:
A Facebook spokesman pointed out that many middle school-age children are formally barred from the site. “We prohibit children under the age of 13 from using Facebook both for safety reasons and to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act,” the spokesman said.
That doesn’t mean kids under 13 don’t have accounts. I mean, really, what are they going to do? Ask for your social security number? Birth certificate? Blood sample? No way! They go on the basis that if you click a button stating that you’re 13 and older you really MUST BE!
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a parent of a tween. But just knowing how hard it is to begin with, dealing with all of your emotions and such, then adding a social networking site…no thanks. I understand that it really comes down to a parenting decision and it is for the parent to make, not me. The good thing about it, is that if you friend your son or daughter, then you can keep tabs on their activity. That doesn’t mean you can see private messages or what happens when they use the chat, but at least that gives the parent a small handle on what’s going on. Do I still think kids should be on there? Probably not.
I find that being an adult, we have a proper decorum on the site. For me, if someone says something untasteful, snarky, or just plain dumb, I either delete it, ignore it, or say something appeasing. I guess that’s the difference between adults and kids. We will then use that as fuel to talk behind that person’s back. That probably doesn’t make things much better, but at least we aren’t typically lead to suicide.
When I was a kid, I would use AIM. That alone was stressful. But you couldn’t just find so and so on there. You had to know you were finding each other. I communicated a lot with my boyfriend through there. The good part about that for parents? It’s all stored in a cache. Your kid just doesn’t know it. Phone conversations aren’t. However, if you’re that untrusting of your child, you should probably be having a conversation with them, not going behind their backs.
I still remember a lot about high school. Good, bad, inbetween. How many movies are made where the main character is still burned by what went down in high school? It’s a big part of growing up and an even bigger part of who we become.
Kids can be cruel. Whether it’s in person or online. Look at the boy from Florida who was doused with lighter fluid and set on fire? Then look at the girl who committed suicide because of being taunted on facebook. Personally, that all comes down to parenting and kids in general. But that’s another debate for another day.
What do you guys think? Do you think kids can handle it? Or should it be one of those privileges that comes with age, like driving, voting and drinking?