When Facebook started, it was intended for college aged kids. That lasted for about a year and then the teens found it. When I started my profile in 2007 it was very much an under 25 social tool. However, gradually parents wanted to see what their kids were talking about. Aunts, uncles, cousins got in on the action and entire families became connected via Facebook.
Facebook is NOT for young people. It is NOT for college students. It is NOT for parents spying on their kids. Facebook is for everyone.
I am always sad when I hear about parents who know absolutely nothing about Facebook but know their kids are on it. They have no rules or boundaries because they have no idea how it works.
I also find it incredibly naive that parents would let their 13 year olds have an account but never monitor it or teach their kids how to post respectfully and appropriately.
Facebook is for the generations. Currently I have aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and extended family from the ages of 13 to 85 on Facebook. Yes, 85.
Some grandparents and older generation folks have heard the talk and banter coming from their grandkids and family members. They felt like they were missing out so they joined in. I think it’s fantastic!
I have noticed that those over 60 don’t post nearly as much as those of us in our 40s. But that’s okay. They are THE BEST encouragers and cheerleaders. They don’t feel the need or want to post statuses and links and photos often but they are great at responding to statuses and photos. They are always encouraging and uplifting. They are engaged and present and THIS alone keeps young kids(and some of us middle-agers) accountable and filtered.
When I was a child, we knew that “children were to be seen and not heard”, which sounds so archaic and unfair. But understand this: it wasn’t that we were shuffled into a bedroom or shushed into a corner, it is just that we were taught when adults are in company children should not be disruptive and interrupting. But we were always welcome and encouraged to be present and engage with multi-generations. Whether playing games, having a meal, sitting in church, attending weddings or hosting parties, we were learning from our parents and other adults.
I think it is ridiculous to say that Facebook is for teenagers and young people only. If there isn’t a multi-generation presence, they will never grow and mature. We learn from each other and we are mentored by those who have walked the path before us.
Let me encourage you- if you are not on your children’s friend lists, you should be. If you’re not engaging with them socially on line , are you engaging with them in person socially?
I will keep beating this drum: Facebook is your living room. If you’re going to have conversations, laughter, share stories and photos there, then include everyone…not just those in your age demographic.
Besides, your kids will behave better if they know you’re watching. ;)
For the other posts in this series click: Facebook 101