ISSUES: The Facebook Sword Cuts Both Ways

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Infographic originally appeared on the zdnet blog Igeneration Click to see full size

Since teenagers were first allowed on facebook, parents have been wanting to be their friends, and teens have been resisting.

From the parent side, there are fears that if they don’t know what their kids are up to, then clearly the kids will run amok.  Fear of illegal activity, sex-related escapades, sexting, satan-worshop, drugs– Fear of the unknown and the possible “Dangers of the Internet” makes parents want to oversee everything their kids are doing online, and especially on Facebook.

A parent might logically reason,”If you don’t have anything to hide, then why can’t I see what you are doing on Facebook?”

From the teen side, there are issues of invasion of privacy, and a lack of trust and respect. And the fear that if your parents are connected, they’ll post stuff that will embarass you.

A teen might rightfully argue,  “Hey, I’m nearly old enough to be an adult.  I deserve the right of privacy, and you need to trust that I can make good decisions.”

These are some of the issues that we’ll be discussing in our upcoming Digital Family Summit in Philadelphia June  29-July 1.

See the sidebar on the right for some great statistics and thoughts about that (sidebar courtesy of lab42 and zdnet)

While we don’t want to get into the wrong or right of this issue, as both sides have valid points, we do want to point out that the Facebook sword can cut both ways.

In the episode of Modern Family that aired March 14 (Season 3, Episode 18, “Send Out the Clowns”), the last part of the episode displays this perfectly.  One of the sub-plots of the episode is that the Mom (Clare) has been trying to “Friend” her two daughters Haley & Alex to connect with her on Facebook.  They keep on ducking her, because they are afraid she is going to embarass them.  At the end of the episode, they finally friend her, and this is what happens

(this is a Flash embed of the show from Hulu– if it doesn’t work, I’ll describe it underneath.  And this clip starts at 21:45 in case it gives you the full episode.)

They originally think that their Mom will embarass them, and they are resigned to that fact,  but it turns out quite quickly that an old college friend of Clare’s has tagged her on her wall from a drunken New Orleans spring break in 1990, and it is actually Clare who is chagrined and embarassed by stuff that she did 20 years ago. (And furthermore, doesn’t quite understand how it happened, and how to untag)

At the end she is yelling, “Tear down the Wall.  Tear down the Wall”

So Parents, be careful what you wish for, and teens, maybe letting your parents in might not be such a bad thing after all!

RELATED POSTS:

http://www.commonsensemedia.org/advice-for-parents/facebook-parents

http://myparentsjoinedfacebook.com/

http://facebookforparents.org/

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 Adam Gertsacov is the co-founder and co-organizer of Digital Family Summit.  He wears many hats, including those of a professional clown, an author and publisher, an artist/educator, a non-profit administrator, a P.T. Barnum impersonator, a flea circus impresario, and the esteemed hat of the Clown Laureate of Greenbelt, Maryland.  

In his copious freetime, he blogs at http://www.clownlink.com and http://www.dadapalooza.com, as well as a few other places.
You can find out more about his clown work at http://www.acmeclown.com
Filed under: Issues & Ideas

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