Does Facebook Make Mean Girls, Meaner?

I am the last great resister.  Well, at least according to my oldest slightly dramatic completely normal daughter.  Up until this week I have flat out refused to allow my almost 13 year old to “get” facebook.  Even as the compliments were thrown at me: “Please Best Mom in the world!”  “You are AWESOME”  “You so don’t look 40 Mom”.  (Okay that last one might have helped, that and she turns 13 this week so facebook thinks the kid is old enough to have an account)

So why am I anti- facebook for my kids when I boast 3600 Facebook friends, love them all and am a tad addicted to the site? 

I think it’s kind of evil!  

It breeds insecurity. 

Creates opportunities for jealousy.  You can quickly feel left out, left behind and forgotten. 

Discourages true communication between peers. 

It makes mean girls….meaner?  You know that girl in High School who was always Look at me!  Look at me! (because they were the prettiest, the smartest, have the most stuff and were clearly having more fun then you?  Facebook gives them a chance to virtually rub it in your face, crow it from….well their status updates.  All. The. Time. )  I know some of these unthinking kinda obnoxious peeps are exaggerating or just being braggy and boastful, but will my 13 year old daughter see this pathetic cry for attention for what it is? 

If I continue to be a hold out (a serious contradiction for a social media addict) what kind of message is that?  Do as I say, not as I do?  I am so not that Mama.  Besides, she is truly one of the last “non-facebookers” in grade 7.  Am I hurting her socially?  Is this holding her back?  Am I a big fat meanie? 

Facebook is supposed to help my daughter stay in touch with her girlfriends…uh maybe even some boys, but what if instead it makes her jealous, anxious, stressed and sad.  What if those mean girls she has encountered in real life take a stab at her in cyberspace?

I know I can’t protect her forever, but gee, like life isn’t hard enough already.  Sigh.  This Mom thing doesn’t get any easier does it. 

Decision made.  I caved.  Rules were set, warnings were given.  Mean girls watch out cause this social media Mama has her eye on you!

Wish us much luck…it’s going to be an interesting ride.



Comments

  1. I read a long article in Redbook about children on facebook. They basically said it’s okay to let them join (when they’re old enough) but to set rules and such, like you did. But reading about the mean things kids do on facebook? I don’t look forward to the day my daughter wants to join the internet world.

  2. facebook is a demon…i slayed mine over a year ago…i also know many much younger that have it…and it is not good as they dont know how to handle it…

  3. I don’t think parents who keep their kids away from social media are hurting them. I know a few girls whose moms have forbidden it. They are extremely popular and well liked.

    My son is one of the few who isn’t on FB. He’s 12. I’ve explained to him that he would have to lie in order to have a FB account. He’s too young and they don’t allow it. All his friends who are on FB have lied. Is that the kind of person he wants to be? I explained the protection aspect to him and he seems to get it. I did allow him to get a Twitter account recently. There isn’t a minimum age and I feel like it’s less clique-y. I can see anything he says and anything that’s said to him. But so can you. Befriend your daughter and monitor everything going on.

    Good luck. I know this is in my future too but I’m going to hold out as long as possible.

  4. I’m glad I’m not there with my kiddo yet, but I know the day is coming, and I totally dread it.

    I’m in my mid 30s and I still feel the “mean girl” syndrome showing its claws on FB sometimes.

    Good luck to you!

  5. I’m so glad that when I was in high school the “internet” didn’t exist (well it existed, but, no one had access to it, no one was using it – it was the 90s).

    But, in some ways, maybe it can be good, because it will be easier to spot those “mean girls”, and the rest of the population can band together against them?

    grade 7 was the beginning of awkward, and not something I am looking forward to.

  6. One of the things I suggest to the parents I work with is to set very strict guidelines, and tell them that they must Friend you. I know many of my clients do have another FB page their parents don’t know about, but your daughter sounds like a good egg.

    I recently had a friend, who is a social media GIANT, quit FB because she was reading about all types of things going on with women in her church, and she was being left out. She realized she just didn’t have a thick enough skin for it not to hurt her, so she quit. Which is crazy to me, because she is a very popular and beloved blogger.

  7. What a hard decision.

    I remember dealing with mean girls at school- and it was just that- at school. Or maybe the phone. But now with texting and fb and twitter… it’s like you can’t escape from it if you wanted to. Kids have it so much harder now.

  8. As long as you have guidelines and monitor it, I think it’s ok to allow her to do it.

  9. I took my daughter’s acct down a few weeks ago. She is 16. I recently let her rejoin but I know her password and I am her “friend” on there. I limit her time on FB b/c it can be all consuming!

  10. I am very thankful that it didn’t exist when I was in highschool. Imagine seeing pics of your friends at something that you were not invited to?
    Very evil.

  11. I think Kristi has the right idea here. I have lots of friends with teenagers, and the parents have Facebook accounts just to moniter what the kids are up to. Now you are a “cool” mom, as well as a cautious one! 🙂

  12. I am that mom. I can join because I am an old who has been through the riggers of socially maturing. No, thy won’t understand my stance and that’s ok. They will when they’re older. If my kids want to interact with friends, call them on the phone and gather face to face. These social sites have fostered an inexcusable behavior of non-communication and respect and responsibility that has already gone too far. People at work read their FB “friends”‘ updates and they’re ridiculous. I searched for one ridiculous update on my news feed and had not one. I was proud of me and my friends. I sound so old but I can’t help it.

  13. I was about to say let her but with rules. My kids are not old enough but my god daughter just turned 15 and her mom has the rule that mom has to have the password to access account whenever she wants. I also think if it gets out of hand then you can shut her off. You know…. ground her from facebook.

  14. My 10yr old has been asking to join facebook for about a year now.
    I’ve heard the same excuse “all my friends have it.”
    I’m holding out like you did. When we do finally make the jump, there will deffinately be some rules set up. You’re deffinately smart in setting up rules for your daughter.

  15. Oh this is a tough one! I hope that by the time my boys are old enough for this stuff computers are illegal!

  16. I’m so with you. I wouldn’t let me son join, either, at that age. But, his best friend set up an acct for him without our permission, and I absolutely blew my stack!!! My first reaction was for him to immediately delete it. I then called his father, thinking maybe he’d talk me down from the ledge. Wrong! He was even more upset than I was! After we both calmed down, we decided that as long as we had his password and could monitor what was going on, he could have it. Quite frankly, I’m on his FB 10 times more than he is! I “stalk” his friends pages, just to see what they’re up to, which I know drives him crazy, but TOO BAD! He almost NEVER goes on FB. Maybe it’s because he knows I check it. I don’t know, and I don’t care, I’m just glad he’s not addicted like so many others I know, including many ADULTS I know!

  17. No, sweets, this Mom thing does NOT get any easier – that I can promise. Good luck and monitor that (and any other online) accounts – but then, I know you will.

  18. One of my first grade students shared during morning meeting that for Christmas she got a Facebook account. She is 6. Really? What happened to Barbie dolls and Easy Bake Ovens???

    My daughter is 15 and she hasn’t asked for one
    (yet) and I am happy about that.

  19. I think for that age it does bread mean girls. That’s such a young age for people to be sharing everything.

  20. It is scary, isn’t it? Our babies online. I think she will do great : )

  21. Oh man, I have no idea what I would do. I love FB just cause I miss my family so much being states away and I connect that way but I don’t know what I would do if my daughter was old enough and wanted it too. Ugh. Good luck with everything! XO

  22. This is a great post. Facebook is a virtual high school with no boundaries. I personally would allow her a page but not without significant limitations: amount of time spent and monitoring.

  23. It really is a scary step!!! It is good you set guidelines and she knows you care about her heart in this situation. Ughhh…facebook can be hurtful for 44 year olds too. 🙂

  24. I’ve been out of the Facebook loop for 2 years. I found it to be a little too ‘highschool’. I know of people who let their kids join at an even earlier age and am glad you hung in there as long as you did. I think 13 is a good age to join, but be watchful like you intend, cause there’s some stuff you wouldn’t want your girl to find out about on social media. People, both young and old, can be mean – and social media can amplify it.

  25. I don’t think you’re a big meanie. I was a hold-out too. I finally let my son, but the rule is, I have his password, and can access at any time if I so choose. I also have the authority to de-friend any of his friends at any time, on his behalf. Only had to do that once – and it was a perpetually F-bomb dropping punk.

    When he first got on I was paranoid and was checking his stuff all the time. But I realized that I had a good kid, with good friends and that I didn’t need to worry. I know it is different with girls though, and so far my 11 year old daughter says she thinks FB is dumb and doesn’t ever want to get one. I doubt this opinion will stick, but I’m enjoying it for now!

  26. ahh Steph you are such a good mom! I just let meg get it 2 days ago, she just turned 13. Rules are set and you better believe I will be monitoring… Hugs.

  27. My daughter is 18 and I have seen so many negative things “nice girls” say on Facebook I am appalled. It’s not just the mean girls who feel that saying horrible things on social media is ok. My daughter allows me access to her account – but she’s the one who tells me what’s going on. I wish more parents monitored their children’s online activity.

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