Mom, Can I Have A Facebook? {repeat 1000 times}

Kaia has been asking for a Facebook page for some time now. It was easy before she turned 13. Facebook's rule is you have to be 13 to have a Facebook page. I follow the rules. Especially when they benefit my agenda. She couldn't argue it much. She tried but I just kept referring back to The Rules.

In August Kaia turned 13. She has asked {over 1000 times I'm sure} if now she can have a Facebook page. I drag my feet with kids and technology. Maybe not as much as others, but I do hesitate. When Kaia got a cell phone, she had to wait one whole year before texting was added to it. And I ate my words when we added the text plan because I was adamant that our family would not be a texting family. There are pros + cons to texting and I am a fan now. Not a huge fan...but a fan. I just feel that as a parent some control is lost when our children text vs. picking up the phone and have a conversation. Hearing that conversation, the direction it is going, the tone and words used in those conversations. Not to mention the lost art of conversing. That's a whole other topic. But while we are talking kids, cell phones + texting we do have some rules with regard to that topic.

Rule Number 1
. Never text while an adult is talking to you. If an adult is talking to you, you should be looking them in the eye.

Rule Number 2. Cell phone gets placed on kitchen counter at 9:00 pm. You shouldn't be texting or talking on the phone after that time. You should be trying to go to sleep.

Rule Number 3. No texting boys {you like} first. They must text you first, then you can respond. The same rule applied in my home, but with the phone. I was never allowed to call a boy. I could talk to boys if they called me, or return their phone call if I wasn't home but I was never to call a boy first. My mom always said, 'If a boy like YOU he will call.' I'm not sure I entirely believe that statement, but I don't want my girl bugging a boy that isn't interested in her.

Rule Number 4. You are never allowed to delete texts without our approval. If we pick up your phone {while it is on the counter after 9:00 pm} to check content of texts, because we are the parents and are allowed to do that, and texts are erased, the phone is taken away. If texts need to be deleted for space, come and get approval.

Rule Number 5. Never 'play text' with another person's cell phone. This happened to Kaia a few weeks ago. Actually it is happening even with her friends and is NOT OK with me. Note to self...make new rule number 6....use a password on your phone. A boy grabbed Kaia's phone, sent out a random text to everyone that said, "hey sexy". Problem was, it went to our employee. Kaia has his number in her phone for emergencies and it was completely inappropriate and embarrassing. It was a good lesson for Kaia and I wish other parents would take more time to teach their children cell phone etiquette.

Now with regards to the title of this blog...."Mom, Can I Have a Facebook?'. We caved last night. I got sick of hearing the question really. And while caving I decided that with the responsibility of being online, would come a new set of rules. So we had a mini Family Home Evening lesson last night where our family talked about safe and clean online practices. We then signed a Family Safe + Clean Media Pledge. It can be found here. It is wonderful and brought about a wonderful discussion in our home last night using 'what if' scenarios.

Only Rule in addition to the ones listed in the Clean + Safe Media Pledge that we signed is....With the exception of family members, Kaia is not allowed to request friends that are adults. If an adult requests her as a friend, and she knows them, then she can accept.

So Kaia is the proud new owner of a Facebook Page and she is beaming. She has also earned it with a great attitude of helping around the house. I told her when she has a good attitude and is pleasant to be around, it really does make us want and feel like doing nice things for her too!

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  1. I'm sure technology will change again in the 5 years (eeeeeeek!) before my oldest girl turns 13, but these are GREAT rules that I will definitely remember when we're laying down the law for our teens.

  2. love the rules... I recently had a patient who had a horrible experience with facebook gone wrong... thank you for being a watchful and involved and loving parent.

  3. Love Love Love - all of it. I am going to print these rules out and hold on to them until we need them. I will be coming to you then for updated ones!

  4. April, you are doing a great job of teaching your kids respect, etiquette, safety, etc.. I too am going to print these out and keep them for when my kids are a little older. You should write a parenting book!

  5. Ditto to all the above comments. Great work, Mom!

  6. ooo, april! you sound like one of those "mean" mamas like me! totally kidding, of course! I so wish other parents would be more aware of what the heck their kids are doing. My oldest is only 8, almost 9...but i will put all these great phone/fb tips in the back of my mind till that time comes. way to be, mama!!

  7. I love your rule #3 - I wish my parents had the rule! I am so going to have it with Shelby...I will tell her she can thank a friend from the blogging world - she will love it when she turns 13. I have friends who have kids that are 9 and have facebooks - I can stand it - there is too much going on that they do not need to know about yet. Your rules are great and I am sure she will be just fine.

  8. Excellent! I love it. Nick is almost 12 and I have told him not to even bother asking for FB before he is 13. His friends are all on there by lying about their age and I do NOT approve. They often send me friend requests and I think, "Are you serious?"

    You are my parenting idol April!!

  9. Great post and your rules are spot on. I'll be sure to remember your post, and flag it accordingly for a couple of years from now!

  10. i love this april. william JUST asked tonight if he could have a facebook page. i said no because he's not old enough (lucky me. unfortunately that luck will eventually run out.) then he said "why don't you just lie on my age?" clearly he doesn't deserve a facebook page. hahaha.

    love your texting rules too. we have a 16 and 17 year old who have texting blocked on their phone. one reason is that they just recently/will recently become drivers and the thought of them reading a text while driving (or sending a text) freaks us out!! not to mention, i just hate the whole texting thing. like you. they tell us we're archaic, we tell them to suck it. no, not really.

    it's hard to be a parent, yes?!

  11. I love these rules!!!
    My close friend has let her kids have facebook pages or myspace pages and they were all very young. Her kids listen to music, see movies and shows and converations that are all very inappropriate (in my opinion) for their age. They are far older than they need to be... and lost out on a lot (again, in my opinion) of the joys of being a child. My SIL is the same way with my newphew as you are with your children. Although he's 15 and still doesn't have a facebook page... I dont think he asks for oen though. My nephew was really able to enjoy growing up... and now he's enjoying growing into being a teen... he seems to value things mroe and has a very open/close relationship with his parents.

    Big kudos to you for doing what is right for your kids!

  12. Our rule is that Annabelle has to be Facebook "friends" with both mom and dad, so we can easily see what she is posting, etc. We also know her password so we can see her complete FB page whenever we want.

    Note about parents about accepting Friend requests from kids they know. I actually think that can be a good thing. You get to see what they are posting. It's a little window into a part of their lives. I personally never post anything that I wouldn't be ashamed to have my Grandma read, so I'm not worried about them reading MY posts.

  13. April, I just wanted to let you know that I LOVE this post. These rules are very similar to the rules we have for our 14 & 15 yr old daughters, and I just appreciate you sharing your voice. I think it is so important to set guidelines for our children.

    Being a parent is hard. Being the parent without guidelines is even harder.


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