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Social Kids: My Rules For Facebook That I Use At Home

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I was recently speaking at a church to a group of parents and during the course of our discussion, a parent asked me about Facebook and what rules a parent should have regarding their child’s interaction with Facebook. I’ve had rules for my son when it comes to Facebook that I shared with the rest of the group – but one of the parents found it so helpful that they encouraged me to post my rules online. So here you are and I hope you find it just as helpful!

First of all, my son had to agree to my rules if he was going to be allowed to use Facebook. I found that because he was so motivated to get one that he would have agreed to anything. If your son or daughter already has FB (this is how people on Facebook refer to Facebook) it is not too late; implement these rules right away and explain to them that it is for their protection and well-being.

  1. He had to be 13 years old. This is actually a rule on Facebook that most people just ignore.
  2. I know his password and have access to his account at any time. Random checks work best to keep them on their toes.
  3. I can drop any friend I deem inappropriate. My rule of thumb is if a friend’s status or profile picture is offensive or provocative, I drop that friend. (I do random checks of this too).
  4. He has to use the highest privacy settings.
  5. Inform me right away if he is getting bullied or harassed.
  6. Do not accept friend requests from someone you don’t know.

Here are some additional tips you may find helpful:

  • If you don’t understand Facebook, have your son or daughter explain it to you until you understand it.
  • Have your own account and be “friends” with your son or daughter.
  • If you find slang or jargon that you don’t understand, Google it. (do a search on Google or other search engine). Google is a great tool to understand the hidden meanings in posts or conversations that your son or daughter are having. Teens often will use their own “language” to hide what they are really trying to say from their parents.
  • If you find your son or daughter quickly closing Facebook or changing to another page when you walk in the room, they are probably up to something. Trust your instincts.
  • Have a conversation about strangers on the Internet just as you did about strangers near the playground when they were growing up. Talk about safety; let them know that any pictures, videos and posts they put on Facebook are out there permanently now, so you can’t take it back. Also, you don’t know who is reading or looking at them.
  • Remind them that there are people out there with ill-intent – such as people who copy adolescents’ pictures and repost them on bad sites.

If someone makes your child feel uncomfortable, have them report it to you right away. You can “block” certain people from accessing, messaging and contacting your son or daughter’s account.

Do not let your teen bully you or guilt you into anything you have a bad feeling about. When it comes to Facebook – or any social media tool your kids are interested in using for that matter – trust your gut!