Monday, September 27, 2010

Teaching Our Children

So recently a friend of my daughter's from Berkeley asked to "friend" me on Facebook, wouldn't be such a big deal except that the girls are eleven and Facebook policies are clear that you must be thirteen to be on Facebook.  I see that her mom is on Facebook.  I ignored the request. 

It raised for me the question though of what it means when we knowingly allow our children to break the rules, to lie about one's birthday to get on Facebook.  This is not the first time that one of our daughter's friends is on Facebook with the full blessing of the parent.

I don't consider myself a very upright parent but I am already in the dog-house with my daughter because I won't let her lie about her age to get on Facebook. What does it say to our children when we tell them it is ok to lie about their age to get on Facebook?  Maybe not such a big deal but what happens when they start lying about other things..things we would not give our blessing to? What happens when they start lying to us?  How then do we tell them that it is wrong to get a fake id so they can buy alcohol or cigarettes?  After all those age policies are arbitrary as well.

I am not a big fan of the slippery slope theory and I don't want to raise a child with unquestioning obedience to authority. Yet this trend among some of my daughter's peers is deeply troubling to me.  I want some sort of balance between unquestioned respect for rules and authority and blatant disregard for rules and authority.  Also does my respect for Facebook policies around age extend to me turning the children in to Facebook?

As it is much of the time navigating ethical and parenting decisions is not easy or straight-forward, even when you know where you stand.

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