Facebook, Friends, and my Third Soldier Son
Okay, this is a bit of a stretch but I’ve decided that by calling my youngest son my “third” soldier, even though he is only 13 and not even thinking about the army yet…I can get away with writing this here on a blog about being a soldier’s mother.
My youngest son and I have been having an ongoing discussion about his opening a Facebook account. He says that 80% of his friends have one; I’m filled with concern for all the people who could contact him. I think 13 is too young…he thinks I’m being silly. I’m sure I’m over-reacting, sure that I’ll give in because he does know the dangers. A few years ago, an Israeli teenager met a girl online. They arranged to meet. She was Palestinian; he was Israeli. It was romantic, it was forbidden, it was also a trap. He was murdered by her boyfriend when he went to meet her at a pre-arranged rendezvous.
For now, it’s a point of negotiation.
“Will you let me be one of your friends?” I ask, wanting to confirm that I will be among his contacts and can keep an eye on him remotely.
He hedges, “You’ll always be my mother.”
And then his final comment – why he should have Facebook…as if his joining it would preclude my having my own account and contacts. “You have Twitter. I want my own.”
There is an innocence there that still touches my heart and calls to me to protect and be on guard. If only we could keep them like this.
I have a 15 year old with a facebook account and an 11 year old who I think is too young. 13 is on the cusp. And Israeli kids seem to advance faster than American kids. However, I have one rule, even for my 15 year old…I have to be facebook “friend” and the minute I’m not, I take away all internet privileges, not just facebook. I tell them it not to be nosey, but it’s for their safety and protection, which it is.
I won’t take part in neither your son’s side nor yours. This is my own experience on Facebook and I hope that it can help you to take the best decision for him.
I had this “good friend” at school whom I trust entirely. She didn’t have an internet connection then and I would often let her surf on my facebook account to play or chat at home. One day, another friend of mine came to ask me how come I had two profiles. Well no need to tell you the long story that came afterwards but finally, I knew that it was her. She tried to be like “me”. Freaky, isn’t it ? and fortunately not more serious.
If ever he creates one, tell him to be careful on the friends he adds. He should know each of them personally.
We can’t really know how a person is however , isn’t it ?
My boys do not have facebook accounts, but brother-in-law insisted that if his children wanted one they were to friend him and he would have complete access. He watches their pictures and checks their friends and posts. I also have complete access to my son’s email accounts. The younger one is not allowed to chat because I can’t have realtime access and cyberbullying is a real problem as well as the sickos on line.The rule is simple, friend mom or dad or no account. It’s not negotiable just like, eating your veggies, bedtime or homework. Your insistence is not unusual. I aso think its more prevalent than our children’s friends will admit.
I think 13 is very young. Facebook is very dangerous, aside from the far fetched chance of meeting up with harmful characters. There is so much garbage- like horrible ads, quizes, photos etc.- on facebook, and way too much freedom. (like the rest of the www) in general you gotta be very self-disciplined.
BTW my Mom (may she live long and be well!) is my friend on FB and im 21!! LOL! We were so proud that our Mom is so computer savvy, we just had to show off…….
My 12 year old wanted a facebook account last year
I let him open one with 2 conditions –
1. That every “friend” on facebook is someone he knows in real life – either a relative, a classmate, or someone from Bnei Akiva.
2. That we (his parents) are able to access his Facebook account from time-to-time.
In addition we keep the kid’s computer in the family room so he has no privacy when using the computer
IMO 13 is too young for facebook. Those kidz should spent as little time on computers as possible, it’s not good for ’em anyway. And please don’t call the little one “soldier” (at least not at this age), it sounds very militant… Like you’re actually glad that he’s a boy so that he can be a soldier… I mean it almost sounds like those Hamas young “martyrs”…
Well, the vote is still out. Haven’t decided yet. Without question, if he is allowed an account, it will be with much supervision. Thanks to all of you for the many ideas and restrictions – some I hadn’t even considered and plan to implement.
Finally, to anonymous – as I explained, or at least I had hoped that I did, I don’t really ever refer to my youngest son as a soldier and don’t consider him one by any and all definitions of the word. I used this term here only to sort of slip in this discussion here.
No, our culture doesn’t promote using and abusing children this way. My son will remain the child, the young man he is and will become for several more years.
Yes, the day will come, God willing, when he will be a soldier – but as I have learned with Elie these past few years – I have to take one day at a time, one day, one need, one challenge.