Appropriate Uses for Facebook

Appropriate Uses for Facebook
Facebook is one of those things about which people have very strong opinions. Some people love it, some hate it, but few are ambivalent. Most people tend to think that it has its place. For mothers, Facebook is something of a Godsend. It is an instantaneous way to share pictures of our sons and their accomplishments. It is a way to connect with other moms when we are feeling our most isolated. It is a way to find other moms who parent the way we do, even if we live in an area where there are no moms remotely like us at all.

Is there a down side to Facebook, though? Yes, it is a time suck. Anyone who has ever spent any time on it at all knows that! Are there times when we perhaps share too much of a good thing or share the wrong things altogether? How does that kind of sharing affect our sons and our families?

If you are the parent of an infant, then it is not too likely that you will share so much that it will negatively affect your son. Your lamentations about your son’s never ending constipation will probably not embarrass him or be something you come to regret sharing. What if your son is older, though?
Sometimes we forget just how small Facebook makes the world. That world of moms you came to rely on when your son was a toddler has now been joined by (gasp!) people your son actually knows! His teacher, his coach, his neighbors. So when your ten year-old son is diagnosed with ADHD, OCD, ODD, or any one of a host of other alphabet soup disorders, your first inclination to turn to Facebook for support may not be the right one. Consider who your son may not want to know what he is dealing with. Realize that his problems now have a much more direct impact on him than they once did.

What is the best way to handle Facebook and your son’s privacy, then? Consider using the “groups” feature Facebook provides. Partition your friends into different groups. Set your core friends into one group – those people who you really do tell everything: family, close friends, etc. These are the people with whom you can share that personal news about your son. Separate those people you only know because of your son into another group: teachers, coaches, scout leaders. These people probably do not need to be privy to most of the personal details of your son’s (or your!) life. Continue creating such groups, making it easier for you to decide how to share all of the various aspects of your life on Facebook. Your son will thank you, and other members of your family likely will, too. Best of all, you are setting a great example for your son to follow once he gets a Facebook account of his own.

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This content was written by Laura Delgado, Ph.D.. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Laura Delgado, Ph.D. for details.