Key Rules for Your Child's Use of Facebook

Facebook has always been a hot topic in our household.  There are now so many methods of communication; kids and teens are focused on connecting with each other in so many more ways besides gathering around the neighborhood or dominating the phone line. 

 In our household, Facebook permissions have evolved over time. When the account was initially set-up, it was heavily monitored and all friend requests had to be vetted through either my husband or me. Now that our child is in high school we're more in the background, but we are still there.  Key to our success was our involvement earlier on in the process. When you are involved early on, when kids are receptive to your comments, it permits you to make suggestions and changes that will outlast your child’s cooperativeness (trust me there is an expiration date on this!)

 A few key rules were core to minimizing, but not completely avoiding challenges. You will no doubt want to adapt or modify these to fit your household, but hopefully they serve as a good launching point.

 We expressly did not allow:

1. Broadcasting dislike or hate towards others â€¨in a status update.  If our child felt the need to express frustration, we asked that it be in a private message in a non-bullying format.

2. Bathing suit pictures, with some flexibility for modest vacation photos. The key was no glamour shot photos in the bathing suit!

3. Profanity, cuss words or other slurs.

4. Any indication that we are out of town. Sharing about our vacation is fine, but must be done through private message or can be broadcast more widely after we return.

5. Our child’s location (come meet me at this movie right now everyone!) â€¨Again, sharing about the movie is fine, but must be done through private message or can be broadcast more widely after its over!

 Otherwise we try to give our child some space to make mistakes and learn, but we feel the above minimizes the possibility of some of the larger mistakes and promotes positive Internet etiquette.

 Twitter is the next frontier we will have to tackle. It is true what they say – kids definitely keep you young. There is no way I would learn all this technology without a teenager to keep in front of!