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It is 10:00…Do You Know if Your Kids Are on Facebook?

It is 10:00…Do You Know if Your Kids Are on Facebook?

Just a decade or two ago, a child’s social life was largely his/her own business. If you had friends, your peers were well aware (e.g. “Oh, he hangs out with Peter”) and if you didn’t have friends, well, you could lie about it and pretend you did. It is difficult to say whether Facebook and other social networking innovations have made us more honest, or just more transparent in our social dealings. Children and teens (although children under 13 years of age shouldn’t be using social networking sites by law) have become progressively more and more reliant upon virtual dealings to cement and substantiate their social lives and this has gotten parents and pediatricians concerned.

It is not enough to ask teens and adolescents about drug use and sexual activity, now many pediatricians want to know about their young patient’s online presence. According to recommendations newly released by the American Academy of Pediatrics, a child’s online life (including involvement in Facebook and other social networking sites) should be part of the child’s medical history. This is not just an attempt to widen the watchful eye of adults over wayward children; this is an attempt to uncover the many warning signs and emotional risks that are sometimes evident with frequent users of social media. The recommendations are largely focused on social media (no word on networked first-person shooter games) and intended to find children and teens who don’t “measure up” to the social ideal of their peers (whatever that may be). Dr. Gwenn O’Keeffe, lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics social media guidelines, told the Associated Press, that Facebook presents a special challenge for kids struggling with their own self-esteem.

And while it may sound like an odd proposition for your child’s pediatrician to be collecting data on your young one’s Facebook habits, the intention is not just to hold on to that data for safekeeping. Pediatricians are urging parents to educate themselves about how social media work to narrow the “participation gap” that separates them from their tech-savvy kids. It is recommended that parents ask their children, “Have you used the computer and the Internet today?” each and every day?

But with the adolescent and teen social experience being what it is today (more confusing and competitive than what we remember) can it be all that bad to have a child’s online social life available for review and scrutiny? Will adult inquiries into a child’s online life really yield positive results? Should we assume that trouble and emotional difficulties are detected from a discussion about a child’s social media habits? Should some realms (like the archaic brass-locked diary) be private and off limits to parents and concerned adults?

Read more: Children, Family, Love, Parenting at the Crossroads, Sex, Teens, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

22 comments

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12:11AM PDT on Apr 7, 2013

Thanks for sharing :)

1:53PM PDT on Mar 29, 2013

ty

8:36AM PST on Jan 29, 2013

Thanks for the info

4:05AM PDT on Sep 24, 2012

who wants to be the girl in the photo is a care2 member being told she is a retarded moron for saying she is allergic to beans and needs meat to get "protien"

or maybe they are a vegan crying because they got called stupid for thinking humans have a digestic system more like an elephant than a bear or pig.

3:20AM PDT on Sep 18, 2012

Thanks for sharing

12:09PM PST on Nov 13, 2011

interesting... thanks

10:24AM PST on Nov 10, 2011

Parents should keep tabs on check their kids social networking usage. Safety and moderation are key.

7:46PM PDT on Jun 16, 2011

Thanks for the info.

8:15AM PDT on Apr 9, 2011

Raise up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Give your child the best education possible, and be absolutely open to any questions. As an educator, I've fielded thousands of questions from students over the years that they are too embarrassed to ask their parents. I'm glad they came to me. They could have gone to a less honest source. Cultivate communication between you and your children.

11:55AM PDT on Apr 7, 2011

Lynda- not all of us teens are tech-savvy! ;P

I go on facebook 3-4x a week mainly to check what my family is doing (extended).
I don't understand going on everyday, but then again, I don't like socializing that much. At least not with the other kids at my school, haha!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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