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Warning to Parents: Be Careful What You Post

Dr. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker

I recently read a disturbing message on a woman’s Facebook page. She was angry with her adult daughter and posted a vicious note on that daughter’s Facebook page citing that she was irresponsible and a bad mother to her infant.

Sadly, I know this mother and I know that after thinking about her vitriolic post, she will regret it. Her daughter, in the meantime, will suffer great humiliation and the relationship between the two will never be the same—all because the mother acted impulsively in her anger.

Facebook poses very serious issues for us all, especially for parents. If we fail to be disciplined with our emotions and our writing, we can do great damage to our kids. So I strongly caution parents to set firm boundaries for yourselves in order to keep your kids from humiliation and from danger. Facebook is a lot of fun, but with one untimely or poorly written post, your child’s life can be changed forever.

Remember these tips:

1. DON’T WRITE ON YOUR KID’S FACEBOOK WALL.

If your child is an adult, maybe you can send a greeting. But if he or she is in high school, parents should keep private what they have to say to their kids.

Parents often write something that they feel is cute or harmless, but anything can be misconstrued by friends and make kids embarrassed. None of us wants to humiliate our kids, so stay off their walls.

I do feel that full access to viewing their walls is not just a parent’s right; it’s a responsibility. We need to see not only who is conversing with our kids, but also what they are saying. If our kids are being bullied, we need to know it.  Allowing kids to live in a private world where parents have no access simply isn’t safe, even for very mature kids.

2. KEEP PERSONAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR KIDS PRIVATE.

Even parents fall prey to believing that only “friends” see our kids’ Facebook pages. We see a community of friends writing to our kids, and we are duped into believing that only nice people are reading.

All it takes is for one creep to cruise around your kid’s page, and he can find out almost anything he wants about her. Check all the security settings for your child’s page to make sure only “friends” have access to posts and photos. Then, talk to your kid about what you want her to keep private. Even with these precautions in place, remember that someone still may be able to hack into your kid’s account. It’s always a good idea to not post anything you wouldn’t want a creep to know: like where she lives, when she’s on vacation, etc.

One speaker recently stated that the more publicly a person lives, the less power he has. When we allow people access to our personal lives, we grant them the ability to control us and manipulate us. When we keep our private lives to ourselves and withhold critical information, we maintain that power. This is a critical concept and one which our children need to understand.

We have come to a place in our culture where we feel that everything we feel, think and believe should be public. But when we allow public access to our deepest selves, we give others control over us. We should not allow this to happen to our kids.

Unfortunately for many parents, Facebook becomes a way where we can enter our kids’ worlds and be friendly to their friends. Zealous parents want to join in the fun and look like the accepted parent.

But don’t do this. Back off your kids’ walls and simply watch their activity. And teach them to withhold more personal information so that they can stay in control.

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