Learn and Lead

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Rules for Kids and Teenagers for Facebook Usage

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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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?



Rupa said...

Hi Manish,

Great tips. I think this is very important for every kid and every teenager.

I do not think this is being paranoid. You need to be extra cautious these days.

Nice to see that you are leading your daughter on the right track.


Manish Mohan said...

Thanks Rupa.

E-Learning Tyro said...

Timely post, Manish :) May it reach all kids and teenagers who desire to explore Facebook and other social networking tools.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Manish!

Nancy is right, despite her version of English.

" . . . you MUST be friends with your parent(s) and you MUST not use privacy settings to block your parents . . . "

But the parents need a set of rules too. Compassionate vigilance is a non-negotiable.

Catchya later
from Middle-earth

Arjun said...

i think you set of rules is "just" right - not too flexible, not too tight.
But you'd still have to monitor stuff!

Manish Mohan said...

Thanks Ken. The links on your blog were very useful. As the conversation on Facebook continued, the golden rules of Facebook:
1) Kids, don't post anything your grandma shouldn't see.
2) Parents, don't post anything your kids shouldn't see.

@Arjun - yup, monitoring is absolutely essential.

Mark said...

Very timely for me & my daughter!



Anonymous said...

you never stated how old she is, so i can't tell. But yeah if u trust her then layoff. The more u tell people (not just teens)not to do something the more tempted they get

Abhinava S.N said...

Interesting way of looking at things... and I am sure that she has loads of freedom online and all that... But think of it this way...

Many of us are the first generation internet users - our parents too picked up the internet after we did...

We were in an alien medium... pretty much figuring out what to do... (and sometimes what not to do)... We made our mistakes... we had moments of triumph.

We spoke to strangers... some of our best 'contacts' are people whom we have never seen... whom we nothing more of than their messenger IDs (twitter these days)...

We learnt... and some where I am convinced our next generation is wired to be smart on the web... true... it will spook the living day lights out of us... (more than it did our parents) cause we KNOW what is out there...

But just seeing how well they 'take to the pond' I am sure we are evolving to be an internet species... to be one with the medium... you can see it in the ease with which they have taken to mobile phones... or technology (DVD, iPods blah blah...)

Keep a tab... but I'd suggest you also do a trend study... as a learning specialist, you might just be surprised... ;)


P.s I also hypothesize that online presences require the development of alter egos... what say?

Anonymous said...

I live in southeast kansas and this facebook is really getting bad for 9-13 year olds, someone is going to get raped or killed - you speak about parents and passwords, we'll what are these children on this f/b anyway,I don't know the feel if someone, butI love the children i know, my f/b is to comunicate with my classmates, and college. There is no knowledge in f/b

Anonymous said...

My grandaughter is on face book and I can not believe what she puts on her wall and mine. I have just asked her not to put silly things or the wrong type of things on my face book and to please remove the last item she placed on my wall. I do think there should be a place connected to face book where you can report when a 12 year old is not suppervised and puts realy wrong things on hers and others walls. It is so wrong

Anonymous said...

this is crap

Anonymous said...

some of ths rules r ok bt i stll wnt a fcebook

Anonymous said...

well done.. Will used this in future !


Anonymous said...

this is stupid. yeah if your child is between say 8 and 12 then its alright, but once they hit 13 and start turning into a teenager this will go against you. its definately too tight and many other adults i know ive shown this page to them and most of them disagree with it.
yeah no talking to strangers is a good idea, and the age and public profile. but censor photos, and watch what you say.... when teenagers (and I mean teenagers, usually kids younger then 13 arent on facebook...)so anyway when teenagers are teenagers they pick up things from there friends. so there will be swearing and strange photos that we think are 'inappropriate' but to them are just normal. get oiver it your not a teenager of today, and treating them like this will make them rebel against you. if you want to be a good parent give her a little freedom. my 13 year old daughter, she has over 400 friends I ask if she knows them all and she replies with there all from school and mutual friends which surprisingly I do believe. yes she swears, not much but she does. so does every adult right?! im not a stalking parent watching absolutely everything she does. I trust her, and give her her privacy. she has her own passwords and ofcourse if i didnt trust her things would be different . dont judge me on this, but I can understand how a teenager would feel under these rules.

PFC said...

The logic you are using is the same logic I used when I was a teenager. If everyone else is swearing and posting strange photos it is OK for your teenager? That logic doesn't fly now that I am an adult. If they don't hear it from their parents who then? Don't tell me you are one of those parents that have given up, or worse, that lets their teachers in school raise them.

ashish mahajan said...

I like your blog post. Keep on writing this type of great stuff. I'll make sure to follow up on your blog in the future.
facebook use by teenagers in india

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