Clueless Mom Curious About Facebook

Hi guys. I was just wondering what parents felt about Facebook. I really know very little about it, but my 14 year old daughter is just starting to be interested in it. She didn’t really want to join, but recently she had an experience where a teacher asked everyone who has Facebook to raise their hand (:shrug:). She was one of two kids who didn’t raise their hand, so now she is, of course, interested. She has admitted she doesn’t really want one, but doesn’t want to be the only kid in school, youth group, etc. who doesn’t have one.

I know so little about it… Can anyone check out people’s Facebook pages or do you have to be registered? Does my daughter have to know them or allow them to access her page? Would she be chatting with strangers in groups? I’ve never even looked at people’s pages because I have thought you have to be registered. Does everyone have pictures? It seems like the kids put so much info out there, I’m afraid she or a friend would slip & release some private info that would be dangerous.

I guess I’ve been to too many of those safety lectures for parents that scare you, but don’t give much specific info. I welcome any advice or opinions you guys have, because I am not even sure what questions to ask… Thanks!

I believe that those under 18 have special settings that offer additional privacy. I have Facebook and you do have to take the time to adjust your privacy settings to make sure that things are kept private.

I’m 43 and have a Facebook, as do my teens, my sisters, my cousins, my parents, my aunts and unlces, my co-workers, including my boss, some CAF friends, etc. I think practically everyone is on there. And I do know people who have their religious ed or Bible study groups on there.

As a mom, I would recommend that you get a Facebook page for yourself, so you can understand it better and know how to help your daughter.

14 is far too young to be posting her personal life on the internet for all to see (and no matter what you think is safe, if it is online, someone can get it - the owner of Facebook had his private photos show up for the whole world to see).

Listen to Dr Ray, just because everyone else is running amok on line does NOT mean your daughter should. Stay strong.

I would recommend that you do what I did: get your own Facebook account and have your daughter as a “friend”. I wasn’t sure I even could prevent my kids from getting one, and while I don’t endorse the “if you can’t beat 'em, join 'em” philosophy, I do know that some battles can’t be won, or aren’t worth fighting. I had, and still have, no desire for a Facebook account, but a few minutes online each day is a small price to pay for keeping track, and keeping in touch with your teen. It’s actually had the bonus benefit of giving us an avenue for communicating that we wouldn’t have otherwise - it’s not “cool” to talk too much with your parent, but it is socially acceptable to chat on Facebook.

I’m 28, and I have Facebook. When I moved out of state, it is a nice way to keep in touch with my friends (I hate talking on the phone since I work in a call center). I know people who put stuff online that shouldn’t be. My status is boring: I’m happy or at work. :slight_smile:
Just be smart about it. Have your daughter set to super super super private.
If she wants to get a job when she’s older, employers do check Facebook pages. And once it is on the internet, it is impossible to get it back. I would reommend not having pictures up at all. I don’t, except for my profile pic, which is the pic I use for everything. I’m sure your daughter is good girl though.

I agree with CountrySinger.

Facebook can be a useful tool, but there are plenty of dangers associated with having an open online presence.

Wow, this response is so fast, guys, I really appreciate the opinions. I am going to start learning more & research this- thankfully I have a little time because she isn’t too anxious about it yet. Honestly, I am concerned about the idea, & I know I need to lean more.

I have to log off for the night, but I will keep checking back & I SO apreciate the help!

She could always start one, and then not use it. She would technically have one then. One of my friends does that. Her page has nothing on it. :smiley:

You can set the privacy controls to different levels. If your page is public, then anyone who searches for your name can see your page. If its private, then only people who are your friends can see it. If people want to be your friend they have to request, and you have to confirm the request.

The rules at our house is that parents are their friends. And they don’t “friend” anyone they don’t know in real life.

Request her username and password. Log in. Look around. That is what I do with my boys’ Facebook.

You would not allow your daughter to have a party and not stroll through the room once an hour, so why wouldn’t you “stroll through” the Facebook party once in a while?

If she has something to hide, then she should not have a Facebook!

It really is that simple.

At 14 I don’t see how face book could cause anything but trouble. I’m 25 and I use it to keep in contact with my family, extended family, my fellow alumni, a few professors I liked and catholic young adult groups. It has been amazing and I’m better friends with everyone because of it.

I’m pretty much strictly against high-school teenagers using facebook because it will turn into the trash that myspace did. And I really like facebook and don’t want that to happen. I went through a horrible situation on myspace where a mutual friend of my brother and I tried to convince us that “phil” was her abusive boyfriend, making his own page, posting on my page and my brothers’…for my sympathy and to manipulate my brother into going out with her. And she got the idea from her friends who were doing similar things. This was back years ago when she was in HS…and my brother and I were starting college. Still myspace made a mess of things…and I think allowed damage in every relationship with each person I had on there. ESPECALLY every person who was in HS.

My 15yo cousin does have a page. He, however, got it to post pictures and communicate with his 2 older sisters in college and does not have many peers as friends. Not sure that its really wise, but it works for their family.

You need to be registered, but there is more to the answer than just that…

This depends on your settings. If you select the option that your page cannot be included in google search results then your profile won’t come up when people search for you…however, their is a caveat to that… you will still appear in google as a ‘friend’ of people you have friended. Try googling a friend of yours that you know has a FB account. Type their first and last name in quotes into google and check the results and you’ll see what I mean.

If you are logged in and search for someone that they aren’t ‘friends’ with, assuming their settings are ‘properly’ set you will only be able to see their profile pic, the network(s) they belong to and an option to ‘friend’ or message them. Some people don’t realize this or don’t care and you can view everything about them, peruse their pics, etc. That is risky.

She has to ‘accept’ them as a friend in order for them to view her page if her settings are done properly. She doesn’t have to know them per se, anyone can request anyone as a friend, it is up to the user to be judicious in their friend selection process.

Facebook has an embedded chat applet that allows you to chat with friends that are currently logged onto the site within IE, Firefox, Chrome, etc. So in essence these aren’t strangers… however… Your daughter can join any group she wants on the site (these group memberships are posted on her profile so you could see which ones). As part of the group their are discussion topics, wall posts, etc that she can be a part of and talk to strangers that way who ‘aren’t her friend’. Some groups are open to all, others are by invite only.

99% of people have a profile pic… a slight percentage less than that have many pictures of themselves on the site.

Personally I would worry more about your daughters friends on there posting something less than desirable about your daughter than her posting something. For instance… anyone can tag a ‘friend’ in a picture. If your daughter hangs out with friends at/after school, at a club, sport, etc and their are pictures taken they may end up on FB. Your daughter may not be fond of the pictures, but her friend could ‘tag’ her in it which means it is then linked back to your daughter and shows up as part of her profile. So for instance if you start a new page it will say ‘Jane Doe Pictures (1)’ then a ‘friend’ takes 10 pics of you at a party and puts them up on the site and tags you. The link on your page then says ‘Jane Doe Pictures (11)’. Granted you can untag the photos which reduces the count on your page and what your ‘friends’ can see of you, but those pictures are still on FB. Furthermore, when someone else posts pics of you, their friends and your friends can see them. If that user doesn’t have their settings restrictive, ANYONE can see the pics.

Some other tips: You can set up ‘access lists’ to prevent certain users that you are friends with from seeing your entire profile, pics, etc. So if you have 10 friends, you can have 5 see everything, your 3 family members only see 50% of it and your 2 co-workers see only your profile pic. If your daughter gets savy with the settings she can easily restrict her mom/dad via the ‘access list’ feature so you won’t know the extent of her usage and the content she posts. This is a very useful feature, but I am just bringing up the other side of it. It would be good to have her password as well.

If you have any other questions don’t hesitate to ask. Hope this helps.

This is why I have had my kids’ passwords from the beginning.:thumbsup:

I know other parents who have a page and are their kids’ “friends”, but they cannot see all of the page (I can, though, when I log on with my kids’ passwords). :eek:

Once they are grown, THEN I will get a page and “friend” them. Then I won’t need to see (or want to know) everything they are doing.:wink:

My stepdaughter uses my MIL’s profile on occasion under supervision to play harmless applications like farmville (you grow plants and raise animals) and talk to other family members. It was really cool because when the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve I had an chat message pop up from MILs account "Hey its L*** - happy new year. My first chat of the year was my stepdaughter - it made me feel warm and fuzzy. So there are good points to facebook.

To answer some of your questions.

  1. There is a setting where only people she has accepted as friends can see her profile or message her.

  2. Facebook has a minimum age of 14 to have an account.

  3. Personally I wouldn’t let any child on there without checking in on there messages or spot checking once in a while.

  4. I have also found Religious specifically Catholic causes and applications.

I’m 45, my husband is 32 - we are both on FB (separate accounts), and so are our parents. Many of my family members and most of my friends. I have my profile locked down tight so that only friends can see anything. I also automatically blocked a few people so they could not search for me. I had a bad experience a couple months ago where an undesirable person from my past called my home - 30 years in my past!!! :eek: It was a really horrible thing, and after that I locked down my profile and I’m very picky about who I let in and what I say online. It was because someone else saw my profile and passed along the information that I was out there.

I never EVER mention what time I’m going to Mass, if I’m leaving to go grocery shopping, or anything like that to alert someone that I’m not home or where I will be. I may say something after the fact, but I never reveal where I’m going before I do it.

The thing about FB is that it is intended for people to find each other. So you really have to use your real first and last name. Using a screen name is pretty useless unless you tell everyone what it is, which sort of defeats the purpose. So if you are not comfortable with her having her real full name out there (which I never would be for a 14 year old girl) - you may want to think about what age she is allowed to join the site.

All in all - if FB is used properly it really is a lot of fun. I really enjoy seeing updates from friends about their kids, stuff going in the lives of friends and family, and keeping in touch in a way that just otherwise would never happen in this very crazy and fast paced world.

I do not have anyone from work on my FB account - I keep work separate from my personal life.

Like any tool - be careful with it lest you hurt yourself or others. :wink:


Just as an aside as well - my dh owns a business and the business has it’s own FB account. That being said FB skills are a work skill now just like Microsoft and other internet applications. As long as she is given strict guidelines the more computer savvy she becomes now the more employable she will be later. One saving grace to the business is that we have been able to run all of our marketing without paying any outside firm. Others are paying in the 1000’s per year for what we do for ourselves for free.

Facebook has its uses, but I wouldn’t count on anything which is put on the internet remaining private. When I see the pages of some young people who are just entering the job market I wonder what impression it would give to potential employers: perhaps they should have a third party review their FB page from the standpoint of say, a potential employer, or a job screener. People tend to “let their hair down” on FB, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. It might even be a good idea for a student to entirely remove his or her FB pages a year or so before seriously entering the job market.

You can always untag yourself in photos so it doesn’t pop up with your name.
But… the photos will still be there.
(Then again, they may still be up there regardless if you’re on or not anyway.)

Just make it clear that if she gets a FB page, that you expect to be able to log in occasionally.
Or create a shared page. There isn’t an offical ‘shared’ page option but its easy enough to put up two names and both use the account. “Jane Susan Doe”
The only downside to a shared page is sharing the apps. Some of the apps are fun to compete against family and friends.

Very good point. If your daughters friends are on FB and posting group photos, chances are there are a decent amount of pics of your daughter on there too.

Apps are fun and all, but there are definitely privacy concerns with the apps. Each third party app you use can access your profile information.

I am 23 and joined facebook when I was in college. At the time it was only for college students.

I do have cousins who are your daughters age or younger who have facebook pages and are devout catholics. It can be pretty nice for keeping in touch with family and old friends.

If you let her have one you should also create and account and be her friend. She will be more cautious of what she posts and what her friends post if you are one of her facebook friends. A lot of parents are doing this now.

She should not reveal much information about herself regardless of the privacy. Facebook accounts are easy to hack and should not be considered private even if you have the privacy settings tight.

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