Parenting the Facebook generation
Wed, 18 May 2011 18:56:21 GMT —
Rick and Lisa Light of Flint have a full house at home. Three teenagers, a ten year old and an eight year old keep them on their toes. And when it comes to social networking, they seem to have it figured it.
"We are friends with our kids on Facebook, that was part of the deal when they signed up for Facebook, they had to be our friend," Lisa Light said.
But the kids say they don't mind. "I let my parents know what my passwords are so they can check everything out," Jon Robinson, 17, said.
Rick Light says he has a friend who has a daughter on Facebook and doesn't want to be her friend on the popular social networking site. "He says he doesn't want to see what she's posting on there." But Rick and Lisa believe it's important to be aware what your children are doing with their logged on.
As for the two younger kids in the family, "I think 8th grade was when we've decided it's appropriate for our ten year old and eight year old to sign up for a Facebook account," Rick said.
Facebook requires all users to be atleast 13 years old. But according to a survey, in 2010, 7.5 million users last year were under 13 years old and more than five million users were under ten years old.
Rick and Lisa Light have friends who have children who are eight and nine years old with Facebook accounts, "that's fine for them, but that is not what we have decided to do for our family."
Each teenager in the Light family have their own personal laptop. But the house rules are the rules. Sam Light, 17, says she knows the rules well, "be appropriate and don't be rude."
Lisa Light, who is also a teacher says, "I don think kids really understand the gravity about what can happen, in an instant your life can completely change in regards to what you post/do on the internet."
And while some parents would rather not know, Rick and Lisa say Facebook can act as an advantage to parenting.
"We can see who their friends are, the conversations they are having and the tone of the conversations they are having openly," Lisa said. "This technology is not going away and it's probably going to evolve and if you're not keeping up on it you're not going to know what your kids have available to them."
Both Rick and Lisa are also aware of how "perfect parenting" doesn't exist. "You have so many things going on and life is so busy that maybe we don't check as much as we could, we can always do better."