A Recent Graduate's Thoughts on Facebook

Monday, May 16, 2011

In honor of all the graduations going on this month, I thought I would share with you what one recent college graduate (I happen to know) said to me the other day. Unprompted, she said, "I think it is awful how parents post so many pictures of their kids on Facebook. Kids are growing up with their entire lives documented. It's creepy! They don't even get a say in it. All these pictures floating around of them. . . I hope Facebook is not around by the time I have kids."

Jaw dropped. Shocked.

This was the same girl who told me only four years earlier that her roommate had a "serious problem." Her roommate was posting things on Facebook about her personal life - boys she was dating, places she was going - and her evil stepmother was keeping tabs on her through the Facebook account. Duh-dah-duuuuh! Freshman Horror!

I did not have a Facebook account back then. I barely had a personal blog. I certainly did not have A Work in Progress or spend 1/10 of the the time online that I do now. So my response was quick and to the point, "Why don't you tell your roommate to get off Facebook? That would solve the problem."

Jaw dropped. Shocked.

Get off Facebook?! She might as well not breathe.

And now, four years later, a complete 180. What happened?

I don't know, but I've got to tell you, I found it all extremely refreshing. I thought this young lady was part of THAT generation. The generation that cannot remember life before cell phones, the one that texts while sleeping and posts pictures online without a second thought. I thought they were wearing technology like a second skin.

Maybe not?

Maybe it is not just that Facebook (which I enjoy, by the way) has become so popular that it is now uncool among a certain crowd; maybe it is that this certain crowd is growing up. Maybe they have had half of their lives documented online, and they don't particularly like it.

I'm not sure how to explain her 180, but I can tell you this: I have personal guidelines for when and where I will share photos of my children. I thought they were strict, but thanks to a certain young lady, they just got stricter.

What do you think? How can we put parameters around online exposure of our kids? Do we have a moral obligation to do so? Do our children have a right to privacy that we must protect?

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16 Responses to “A Recent Graduate's Thoughts on Facebook”

  1. that's a great sign, ha!  it really is something to consider - how much information should be shared (if any at all) about our children.  i do have a family blog that i've been writing on since our eldest (now 6) joined our family.  it's essentially an on-line photo album sharing what we've been up to as a family. it's been nice to have to share with long distance friends and family, but i've considered off and on making it private for the very reasons you suggested. 

    it will be interesting to see if/how all this public information shared about individuals as children and young adults via blogs and Facebook will effect them as adults attempting to enter the work force

  2. Heidi, I agree.  I have a personal blog too that I've been keeping since our oldest was born (4 years ago).  It is our online photo album, and I made it private last year.  I definitely lost some readers by doing so but I feel better knowing exactly who is keeping up with my kids now.  

    PS  I saw that sign in a store back in January and snapped a picture with my phone.  I knew it would come in handy one day :)  

  3.  I only post positive photos of my kids, but I am seriously considering making one of those lists so that only certain people can see my photos. I already have it set to "only friends," but I'm thinking that maybe I need to limit even more from there.  500+ people don't really need to be seeing pics of my kids.

  4. I am popping over from Gg - Notes on the Journey to say thanks from the bottom of my heart for your recent support during my dad's open heart surgery. He is doing so well.
     Over 60 comments with prayers and well wishes, including yours. Such sweetness. It helped me not feel quite so alone, having recently moved to Chicago.

  5. kids are bound to deem uncool anything that is taken over by the "rents". Facebook isn't just for the kids anymore. They will move on to something else. as for the pics on facebook...it's reisky. i have always thought that ppl put too many pics of their little ones up.

  6.  As a parent of two tweens I have made a few fb mistakes of embarrassing them without meaning to. I thought it was a positive complimentary picture or post, they thought it was too revealing. Last year we came to an agreement.  My FB is about me, and if I want to even hint that I have children I need their permission. It sure has slowed down my posting!

  7. I don't have kids, so I haven't tackled this one yet.  I will say this, I think long and hard before I talk about anyone else on my blog.  I usually have nicknames which I first thought were corny, but now I get.  My family loves me, but they just asked not to be referred to by name.  And with search engines I get that.  And the only person I "tell on" is me.  But as I said I'm not married and I don't have kids I want to brag about.  Judging from the number of times  I blogged about my beloved Stinkerbell, I will probably bore readers to death about my kids.  So no real answers here, but I do think that these are questions worth asking.  I will say however that I do not want my kids on FB until late high school for that very reason as well as opportunities to be bullied or (Lord  help them if I find out) to bully.   And I'm pretty judicious as to what I post there. 

  8. Oh, Glenda.  I am so, so glad to hear this.  Thank you for the update.  I thought of you over the weekend as we were in Chicago visiting my brother.  Friday's weather was amazing - we put on sunscreen in the morning, then went home for coats after lunch!  Thinking of you.

  9.  I try to ask my daughter before I post anything with her name attached.  When my daughter was younger, I read everything she wrote on facebook (she knew it) and used it as a learning tool of allowing God to be a part of each area of life--even facebook.  We also discussed what her friend list was posting. 

    Good topic.


  10.  good points!  I'm sure we will see and hear more of this in the years to come.  I can see both sides and at times I struggle with all of the online stuff..technology that now seems to rob so much of our " time " from life.  There are pros and cons for sure.xo

  11. WOW!  I had never thought of it that way.  I am with you regarding my strictness on what I post.  Usually just quick photos to show my grandmother hundreds of miles away.  Nothing regular and I only share with my friends (privacy options).  This is something to remember that these photos are out there, as well as our comments.  I know I read some of my cousins status and wonder how they could put that much info about themselves on the internet.  Something to ponder more now.....

  12. What a great post!  I always ask my son's permission before I post something of them.  Even my prodigal, (who is coming back step by step)  which I have been writing about, book and blog, I asked his permission to print about him.  I told him I would never print what he didn't want me to.  I think permission is the key and to respect others wishes.  When I post pictures, it's mainly for family and friends back home who do not get to see us more than one week a year.  
    You brought up a good subject and one for us all to ponder on.

  13. It reminds me of when we were growing up . . . my dad always asked our permission before he told a story about us or our family in his Sunday sermon. It was good.

  14. Wow, you've made me think again about the guidelines I have for my Fb, and if they are enough.
    Sorry I'm so late for SDG

  15. I do share some photos of my children with my whole friends list, but not all of them.  I actually created a special list of my family members and close friends, and I share all of my photos with them.  My husband says I put too many pictures up, so I'm working on saving my photos on the computer instead of on FB... but I think he only says that because he hates getting his picture taken...  ;)

  16. ThethingsiammadeofJuly 11, 2011 at 10:50 PM

    Sometimes I feel like the only person on FB without 500 friends, but I have kept the list short so that I can share pictures of my kids without worrying...since keeping family and close friends connected with the kids is why I joined FB. But last year a family friend posted some pictures of her 6 year old daughter that made me very uncomfortable - like why were these even taken uncomfortable. You can never be to careful. Protecting our children means protecting images of them, too...As parents we have a responsibility to protect our children!