Why is my 10-year-old daughter not on Facebook yet?

Ok, I am going to be a ‘parent’ this time. Here I go my dears. Let me answer the question:

Why is my 10-year-old daughter not on Facebook yet?

I am not a ‘know it all’ type of mum when it comes to being a mother, and I can only speak for my own daughter’s safety. I am a bit of a disciplinarian, I admit, but all for good reasons. I have a good relationship with my daughter and we often talk. We get along most of the time, and we also have those days when we argue about certain things, esp when I say ‘NO’. In other words, a normal mother and daughter.

I believe that there is a time for being a ‘friend’ to our kids and a time for being a ‘parent’. Friend and parent – two different words with different meanings. When I’m being a friend to her, we do fun things together like being silly in doing our nails, playing board games, go shopping together, sing together, invite her friends and have fun, chat about boys, her crushes at school, etc. Now, joining Facebook is something serious. That’s where my parenting comes in. I am lucky though that my daughter doesn’t really insist on joining Facebook because so far, none of her friends have joined yet. So there is no peer pressure at the moment. You can tell that she has good friends, who obviously have good parents, as they follow their parents’ rules. Although I am aware that she will be pressured to join one day, and I hope it doesn’t happen in the next couple of years. We agreed, so far, to wait until she turns 15. Or ideally after her GCSE results. Let’s see if that happens! (Rolling eyes)
Am I being harsh? I just want her to focus on studies first than to get distracted and hooked on Facebook. Everyone who joined Facebook ever since had either ‘fall outs’, ‘enemies’, ‘stalkers’, had ‘no life’, and had ‘lack of sleep’. I can say that I have experienced all that since I joined Facebook in 2008. Now, am I ready for my 10-year-old to go through that? The answer is NO. This is where I become a parent to her. Yes, my family and relatives are all there, but it is always better to Skype close relatives, talk and communicate. I can’t imagine leaving a message for my husband or daughter on Facebook esp if I see them everyday. That’s my fear, to communicate with my daughter on social media. We are so used to talking, and I don’t want to change that.

The perfect world of Facebook, where everyone’s lives are meant to be seen perfect by everybody, where everyone should be positive, where people express their love in words because they can’t say it personally to that person, where inspiration to oneself is found, where people should be holy. It makes me sick now really but I just mind my own biz on Facebook. I don’t really comment on people’s posts, very rare and quite occasional. If they comment on my post and on my wall, then I will chat a bit.  I prefer to leave them alone. There are people who are brutally funny, who criticize a lot, who think they know everything, who think they are famous, who simply hate, and always negative. All these things are happening on Facebook. Of course, it depends on how you handle yourself and how you will react to what you read. But my daughter is not ready for that.

I do remember reading Mark Zuckerberg’s statement that it is educational for kids under 13 to join Facebook to learn. I know what he meant by that and I completely understand his good intention. But it is not just learning that is happening there. The news, in fact, can prove that there were teenagers who were victimized by bullying and rape by chatting with strangers online esp on social networks like Facebook. I guess that part, Mr. Zuckerberg cannot control, because that is the parents’ job. When Facebook started, I was already in my thirties, and I learned so quick. Some of my friends’ kids were already on Facebook since they were 7 years old. My nephews are there already and they are younger than my daughter, to play games. But you know what, my daughter doesn’t play games online.  She has a lot of activities to distract her from being a couch potato and stay online the whole day. I actually admit that I am online most of the time because of Facebook, writing blogs, emails, checking sites, researching, listening to music, watching videos. And I have already been so hooked that it took me forever to change my lifestyle. SO I decided to deactivate for a year to test myself how long I can last, although I cheated and went on my husband’s Facebook, ha-ha, I had more life and accomplishments when I did that.

I just really wonder how do kids benefit from Facebook? What do they get there esp when adults post indecent photos, swear words, even fight and express hatred. I am curious how the parents of these kids can handle such pressure.

Everything’s different now compared to my childhood. But I strongly believe that time can change but not being a ‘parent’. And as far as my child’s safety is concerned, I will continue to explain to her the pros and cons of social media to children. I myself speak my mind on Facebook and I post anything I want. I don’t play safe like the others. What they read is me. I don’t like to pretend that I’m religious by posting bible verses nor talk about political issues around me.

I am planning to deactivate my account, and focus on real LIFE. In fact, I might do that right now. (Deep breath)

Have a great day. 🙂

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/05/20/zuckerberg-kids-under-13-should-be-allowed-on-facebook/

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