So I succumbed to pressure and signed up my daughter on Facebook. Most of her friends are already on Facebook. In just a few hours, she has 7 friends and 3 more pending requests. Her FB wall is now active and flowing. I browsed her wall updates and some of her friends’ profiles and I am… PETRIFIED, and that’s an understatement. So I plan to give her a printout of the following rules for Facebook.
- Don't talk to strangers. Just as we tell you not to talk to strangers in real life, the same rule applies online. Do not accept friend requests from people you don't know.
- Watch what you say. Again similar to what's preached to you for real life, be careful of what you say. In case of writing anything online, the consequences are of much higher magnitude. Remember, what you write online will be there forever, be read by everyone, and be interpreted by the reader and not necessarily in the way you might have intended. Don't write anything that you wouldn't say directly face to face. Don't think your teachers won't be able to read what you have written simply because they are not on your friend list.
- Censor the pictures you post. Don't post pictures that you don't want everyone to see. If you want show your friends pictures, show them in person instead of posting online. Remember, pictures you post online will be seen by all and will be there permanently on the Internet. Your teachers will also see these pictures. So be very careful about which pictures you post online. Initially seek approval from your parents for all pictures you want to post online.
- All that glitters is not gold. Do not be lured in by the ‘cool offers’ or prizes you may have won. And don’t click on EVERYTHING that comes along on your wall. Be careful of applications you access and the sites you might visit through the incoming links. Don’t go to sites that you are not supposed to. ASK if you are not sure which ones but I am sure you do know. UPDATE: This applies to profiles of your favorite TV and film stars. The profiles of your favorite stars might not actually be by the stars themselves. Be careful, it could be just about anyone putting up the profile.
- Safeguard your privacy. Do not give out more information than necessary information to anyone. Don’t enter your personal details like address, phone number etc. for contests, quizzes etc.
- Always give your correct age. Okay, well at least until you are 21. Do not try to project yourself to be older than what you are, even if your friends are doing so.
- Do not make your profile public. I have set your profile settings to be private. If and when you discover how to change the settings, just make sure your settings stay private and not viewable by everyone.
UPDATE from Nancy Curtis on Facebook: ABSOLUTELY NON-NEGOTIABLE RULE OF ALL RULES for Facebook: you MUST be friends with your parent(s) and you MUST not use privacy settings to block your parents from any part of your page. Failure to comply with this requirement (which pertains to any and all social-networking sites including YouTube, etc) results in immediate, indefinite, complete suspension of any non-supervised non-school related computer access. (Also, the correllary is: your parent MUST always have the password to any and all of your email accounts.)
And here are some guidelines that I really wish she would follow.
- Write proper English, please!!! Please please don’t just write SMS English. Writing full words will help you learn the language and your spellings too.
- Don’t ask me to take quizzes. Don’t forward me the quizzes you take or ‘cool applications’ or the gifts. Oh wait, perhaps you should, so I can keep an eye on what you are doing.
Did I miss anything out? Am I being too paranoid?