Social-Network for Children

Social-Network for Children

Social-Network for Children: We set rules regarding spending time on the Internet. Some of us don't even allow our kids to open FaceBook accounts. But are we aware that they have made their presences known online as soon as you bought them their first PC games?

Social Network for Children?

This is a hi-tech household. We have many desktop and laptop computers in our house, and each of our children owns a computer. I am very active on the Internet, and most of my work involves the computer "hook-up." I use social networks and media such as LinkedIn, Twitter, You Tube, FaceBook, and many more that I can not recall without referring to my notes.

Our children grew up into the technology. When our eldest son Brendan was young, we took him to parks and beaches, and we participated in actual physical activities and had a great time together. When we bought toys they were the kind from the good old days- requiring assembly and a little bit of imagination. Then, a day came when Brendan asked for a game console as a birthday gift. It probably happened right around the same time when we bought our first desktop computer. We thought long and hard over this decision, since we knew as soon as the computer made its presence felt in our house our physical activities would occur less frequently.

As time went by, Nicholas, Justin, and Kaitlyn came along, and they have grown up "computer-able" -so much as though it's their second nature. Big boxes of different shapes and sizes under our Chistmas tree have disappeared, giving way to many small boxes of the size -no bigger than the size of a book- of PC, Nintendo PS3, and Sony X Box games. No more guessing while shaking each box on Christmas morning- it's become so predictable.

Our children have asked our permission to join online game communities to which requests -after a few questions and scoping them out ourselves, and an establishment of some rules- we were most likely to say yes. Eventually, they simply stopped asking and we stopped checking, and we all happily operate on trust and an open-door policy.

Social-Network for Children: We set rules regarding spending time on the Internet. Some of us don't even allow our kids to open FaceBook accounts. But are we aware that they have made their presences known online as soon as you bought them their first PC games?

I don't know when Brendan acquired a MySpace account, but as soon as I joined FaceBook I received a friend request from my own son- who was then 15 years old- which I gladly accepted. To me, this was proof that he sees his mother as well-mannered and not an embarrassment, at least enough for him to let me show my face in his world. Making just a minor adjustment to his personal information, Brendan agreed to take down his street address -our house- and his phone number -our number. This was four or five years ago, and now Facebook gives you the option of hiding your information.

I first got on FaceBook so that I could keep in touch with my relatives, who are now halfway across the world. Then, my long lost school friends and I re-discovered each other. When I started building my Website,, I took the business on to FaceBook via a fan page. It was then that I opened myself up to an "open-network" policy. From some three-hundred relatives, friends -who know me personally- and colleagues -who have worked with me- the numbers of my "friends" grew quickly into the four-thousands. Since this friend-expansion, I have been very careful to group them into separate categories, and to allow certain groups to see certain activities only. This way, my relatives and real friends in life will not be bothered by my business routine.

More advice and guideline on social network topics can be found on Socially Yours: Social Network How-to -This is not technical advice, but more having to do with manners or etiquette.

I am proud that my first-born has established his identity sensibly in the world of social networks. I am also glad that I didn't bring up with Brendan, in his early FaceBook year, how I thought it was unneccessary to be social networking with those friends with whom he was already interacting everyday at school. Now he's in college, and the number of his friends continues to grow, and I'm glad he still keeps in touch with his high school friends.

But the social networks can make for some strange encounters. I saw -and heard- in front of my own eyes, two young men who ran into each other at the mall. After greeting one another, one told the other that he had with him the info which the other had asked from him, previously. His friend's quick response was, "FaceBook me." I found it funny that these two young men were standing right in front of each other, yet they'd prefer to "talk" via a "social" network. Perhaps being in the presence of each other isn't "social" enough for them. Do we prefer not to interact face-to-face anymore? Why? Maybe it's because we can't say to the person standing right in front of us what we'd say to him through a social network? It's amazing some of the status updates I read! Here's a tip: If you can't say it to the person's face, then you cannot, and should not, type it down on any social network media.

When Nicholas, our son number two, turned fifteen, I asked him if he would start a FaceBook account. His response was, "Why mom? I am already socializing with my friends during school. I don't want to bring them home with me." It ended right there. I had nothing to say, except that I am proud of him for thinking on his own without pressure from his peers or his mother.

To say that Nicholas, or Justin, or even our ten-year-old Kaitlyn are not "socially interactive online," is not true. They are active in the online community through their games. They talk and chat with other gamers in "realtime" and they have plenty of interactions. As I mentioned before, we have an "open-door" policy, and this means the doors remain open, literally. The children don't jump and quickly turn off the screen when I walk in on their conversations with other players. As long as they are "cool" with us, then we are "cool" with their online presences. Sometimes, they would tell me that some "trolls" came in and ruined the games they were playing and that they had then left the game room. I never had to tell our three younger children not to share private information: they have been very smart about this- another "proud mom" moment.

"Friend" your kids- and I don't mean on FaceBook


social-network, children,
the Internet, FaceBook accounts, PC games

A few months ago Kaitlyn asked me if I would join "Togethersville" with her. It is -yet another- social network. According to the Website, it is for parents with children under thirteen, and one can "link" one's own existing FaceBook account to it. That's when I said "not now." I don't have time to keep up with another activity. Kaitlyn clearly looked disappointed, so I asked her to tell me her daily routine. She started counting, "Um..ok. I wake up. I get dressed. I eat breakfast, then I check on my pets (online) and feed them, bath them, then I go to school. In the afternoon, I come home. I do my homework, sometimes I eat snacks. I check on my pets, again (she rolls her eyes). Then, I go on (another Website) and play with my (other) pets. I check messages to see if my friends want to trade (things for pets). Sometimes I need (virtual) money, so I go play games to collect some. Then, I go buy stuff for my (other) pets." She paused, then continued, "Then, you call for dinner. I eat, I practice flute, I talk to you and we do things, then I go upstairs and watch YouTube to look for tricks to teach my pets. Then I change and go to bed." By the time she had finished she realized she didn't have time for another social network.

Ever since I opened myself up to an "open network" policy on FaceBook, the age range of my received friend requests is mind-boggling: I hear from everyone from the senior (citizen) level all the way down to the pre-teen. After receiving these, I accept most, but only after their profiles are checked out. For the rest, I run down my rules of accepting a friend request: I'm not his mother, teacher, therapist or camp counselor. There is not a chance of us "chatting." He's not a potential client to my business ..nah. Hmm.. Is he likely to be a potential pest? Who knows? Okay, I'm done. "Not now," I clicked. But FaceBook has changed its format, so soon enough I'll see these requests again.

It's all about keeping the balance. We can't stop our children from making their marks online, but we can give them support and understanding, while at the same time showing them how to surf the Net safely. Most importantly, keep your relationship "real." -And "reality" doesn't exist online.

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social-network | for children | the Internet | FaceBook accounts | PC games


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