Is It Wrong of Me to Not Want to Be Friends on Facebook With My 12-Year-Old Son?
To be or not to be... friends. That is the question. I was briefly Facebook friends with my then-11-year-old son, but after hearing one too many times, "Why did you post that? Your son is on Facebook", I decided to be what I thought was what a good father would do and I unfriended him.
Distancing myself from my son on Facebook is for a number of reasons. First of all, he's too young to legally have a Facebook account. The last time I checked you had to be 14 to hold an account. That meant he lied about his age. We start letting our kids lie about their ages here and soon it'll be websites that are a little more dangerous than Facebook he's lying to in order to gain access. Uh-oh.
Beyond being too young, he's too young. By "young", I mean immature. Social media is a world where there is little to no accountability. You can hide behind a keyboard on social media, saying and doing things you normally wouldn't. I don't want my son (and his smart-ass mouth) to be the tormentor, or the tormented, to some other little a-hole. I don't want to open the pipeline of stupidity known as social media comments to hit his phone & computer.
Beyond age & maturity level, there's also MY age & maturity level. I'm 36 & I'm far from mature. I post two different types of Facebook updates, pics of my family for my family & smartass comments on other people's posts. I also like to share posts/stories from others, some of which are more risque that I'd like Tyler to see. Why should I be looking over my shoulder at what my son will think?
Social media has taken the, "Do as I say, not as I do" parenting technique and thrown it on its ear. Now, your kids can see everything you do AND everything you say. I say things outlandish and kooky on Facebook all the time. Does my 12-year-old get the irony? Does he understand when I post a story about something crazy that I'm not endorsing it? I can't take that chance.
I lie to my kids daily to get them to do what needs to be done. If I say one thing to their face and they see me saying something completely different online, do I want that hassle & argument? I realize I'm a hypocrite. All parents are forced to be because kids are stupid and don't know right from wrong. Hell, some adults never learned right & wrong.
In the parenting game it's all about picking your battles. Lose the battle. Win the war. When I discovered a NEW account for my son on Facebook I flipped out. I went to my wife and found out she once again let him have a Facebook account, provided he drop me as a friend.
Maybe I should fight this battle, but I'm focused on the war. He can have a Facebook account. I'll lose that battle. But he's not gonna be my friend. My privacy settings mean he'll never see a pic, a post or a comment from me. I'm fine with that. He doesn't need one more friend. He needs a dad that's gonna kick his butt if he gets out of line. I'm not going to let him gather years of evidence to throw back in my face.