The Best and the Worst

I remember a lot of years ago, when the first and second Harry Potter books came out, people, mostly parents, were constantly asking me my opinion about Harry Potter books and whether or not their kids should be able to read them. Then the movies came out and that created a whole other "stir" about Harry Potter. I did not offer my "opinion" for a long time, because it would be just that, my "opinion" and nothing more. Finally, I did give my opinion in the form of a newspaper column. I don't think it was the scathing "anti-Harry" report most of my Christian friends were waiting for. But nonetheless, I wrote it, finally weighing in on the whole Harry Potter thing. (By the way, my son told me the other day he saw a church sign that said something like "Jesus, the real Potter." HA!)

Of late, I have been asked to weigh in on the whole "should kids have a Facebook page or not" thing. I have hesitated, again wondering if the world really needed another opinion about Facebook. But after continued questioning from parents, I have decided to give my two cents worth.

Let me begin by saying that we must always remember that the www we type into a web address stands for "world wide web." World Wide means everything that is good in the world and everything that is bad in the world is at the fingertips of your child. Never, ever, ever should your child have unsupervised access to the Internet.

Facebook requires that you be a minimum of 13 years of age to set up a Facebook page. There is a reason for that. Their disclaimer says this: "Despite Facebook's safety and privacy controls, Facebook cannot guarantee that its site is entirely free of illegal, offensive, pornographic or otherwise inappropriate material, or that its members will not encounter inappropriate or illegal conduct from other members. Consequently, you may encounter such content and conduct."
Think about the ads that your young child is seeing over in that right hand column. Think about the wall posts that he/she is reading in their news feed. Think about the photos they are exposed to and decide whether or not they should be seeing these things.

Also, because Facebook requires your child to be 13 to have a Facebook page, if you are aware of this policy and let them get a page, then you also are aware that they are having to lie about their age to sign up. You are condoning this lie. I saw a mom once at a movie theater buying movie tickets for her kids. Two were preteens or young teens and one was obviously much younger. The mom asked for one adult and three kids' tickets. One of the young teens whispered, "If you say he's under 5 he is free." The mom answered, "That's true, but my integrity is worth more than $3.50 to me." That scenario plays out in my head every time I see parents lie for their children or even every time I am tempted to lie about something. I ask myself, "How much is my integrity worth to me?" So parents, think about what you are telling your kids when you are willing to lie in order for them to get their very own Facebook page.

And lastly, there are so many things in the world that we have to wait to be a certain age to do. Some of these things are good, and some of them are not so good. Have you ever noticed that the things that are not so good for us are the ones we lie about our age to do?

All that to say, being "online" requires a lot of maturity and responsibililty. You know your child better than anyone else. Do they have the maturity to be on a social networking website before the established age? Only you can answer that question.


  1. do you still have your "parenting" blog?

  2. :) no. No one ever asked me questions, so I never knew what topic to write about. Someone told me that was bull and that I knew plenty of topics to write about.


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