L'il Red and I got into a little sparring match last night over facebook -- I busted her snooping around my account and she asked me again for one of her own. I repeated my rule: not till you're older.
Then she went ahead and bombed me: her friends have accounts. And this wasn't your ordinary "but everybody else is doing it" rebuttal.
She was actually able to show me her classmates' facebook profiles.
Let me repeat that: There are second and third graders on facebook right now.
I gotta say, dude, it was creepy seeing profile pics for eight and nine year olds I know in real life. When I repeated myself -- NOT TILL YOU'RE OLDER, DAMMIT -- she complained about the other parents who said it was fine. That's when I pulled out the, "well, if those parents say it's okay, then they're even breaking rules" line.
Did that have even an iota of impact on her desolate mood? No. And people, this family is a rule-biding family, her father included. Telling her those are the rules and explaining the reasons for them has always been enough to placate my spawn. Not this time. *headthunk*
I don't think rules are always good, but I play by them and I find ethical ways to circumvent them if I think they're stupid or arbitrary, but facebook's 13-year-olds-and-up rule is a damn good one.
I do not want my kid accepting friend requests from whoever. I do not want her getting inbox messages from anyone, spam, scam, or otherwise. She's already a master googler. That's enough for now. And there will be absolutely no negotiation on this (although I will sit down with the kid and hear her out and then discusss why we do what we do).
When she's older and more sure of her personal boundaries, I have no problem with her going online. I want to be there to hold her hand as she does it too, as she learns to navigate the virtual world where anonymous words are slung without a second thought. That's totally fine; it's a skill she's going to have to learn eventually. But the time isn't now, not when she's still growing into her personality.
But I can't get this out of my head. Kids on facebook?! I'm not completely naive. I know my kid is growing up as part of the generation that has no concept of privacy or being unplugged, but this is completely ridiculous.