Why I won’t allow my Tween to have a facebook account

As I’m sitting with Little Woman at lunch today, she tells me the story of two boys at her school that got into a fistfight yesterday. I immediately raised an eyebrow and asked for details.  Turns out Boy A posted a picture of his dog on facebook. Boy B then posted a comment that he thought his dog was ugly and he should kill it. The next day, Boy A approaches Boy B and clocks him in the hallway in-between classes. It took the school principal and a very large gym teacher to break them apart.  Both boys walked away with multiple wounds and suspension from school.

All because of a stupid comment on facebook.

As Little Woman is telling me this story, I can feel my blood boil. I’ve heard too many stories from her of these types of fights breaking out, almost on a weekly basis. But I shut my mouth and let her finish the entire story. Then I sat back, gently put down my #1 Pepe sub from Jimmy Johns (which is not easy to do because those bitches are good), shook my head and proceeded to ask her a series of questions. I seriously wanted to get into her brain for a moment, to understand what I’m dealing with.

I asked her what she thought about the whole situation. I asked her if she thought Boy A’s response was appropriate. I asked her what her reaction would be, if put in the same situation. I asked her if she thought this physical confrontation and blatant attack was warranted. I asked her if she felt getting into a physical fight with anyone was worth the consequence of dealing with school authorities and the parents that would eventually be called.  I asked her if, in the grand scheme of things to fight about, if this made any sense to her.

All because of a stupid comment on facebook.

She adamantly shook her head no. Point made, point understood.

This is one of the reasons why I won’t let Little Woman have a facebook or Twitter account. I strongly believe that some Tweens don’t have the emotional maturity to handle the responsibility of social media.  Between all the cyber bulling, physical fights and stalking I’ve personally witnessed through her friends, it scares the crap out of me. And that doesn’t even include opening yourself up to communication with child predators. I’ve seen first hand when Tweens meet someone new and immediately invite that person to “friend” them, without knowing a single thing about that person other than their name.

And for those parents that think they have control over their kids’ accounts, think again. Regardless of how heavily you monitor everything, some kids will find a way to do what they want and have learned how to hide it. Well. And they laugh at us for it.

I have to admit, as a full time parent home all day, I thought I was adequately monitoring Little Woman’s activity on her computer. Yet I’ve caught her on unapproved web sites several times before. Unfortunately, most web sites don’t have an age restriction, facebook and others require parental consent. So when it comes to social media, I refuse to allow her to open up that Pandora’s Box.

I’m not saying that if you allow your Tween to have access to social media, that makes you a bad parent. We all love our kids and do the best we can to protect them. However, I think more parents need to realize what I’ve experienced personally through my daughter is happening at schools everywhere, with kids we welcome into our own home. We need to be more aware of the power we hand over to our children, and the possible exposure that could potentially have negative consequences.

What is your opinion on this subject? Leave a comment here or on my facebook or twitter page, I’d love to hear from you.

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