Just had the nearest thing I've had to a blazing row with my otherwise laid back 15YO daughter. My stance is that she is welcome to physical privacy - for example if she wants to keep a diary I wouldn't dream of reading it - but I do expect to be on her social networks where she is interacting semi-pubicly. Specifically I am concerned about her being exposed to low self esteem girls/ anorexia worship type stuff.
<disclaimer: I don't have children so could well be talking out of my arse here>
Yes, I think you are. I think your concern about a potential risk outweighs any benefit that could emerge from this, and the risk for you is that you see things you don't want to see even in her interactions with friends. I would imagine that sustaining what I guess is a positive and open conversation with her at home is more important than expecting to be on her Facebook/Twitter/Instagram to police her interactions, unless you have very real/evidenced concerns about her involvement with the things you mention above.
It isn't hugely different to her sitting chatting with her friends, is it? Do you expect to be there as well?
I have my parents on FB, but then I'm 33. But even that causes misunderstandings - my Mum has no idea what a "frape" is, and thus when some silly stuff appeared on my profile as a result of me leaving my phone lying around, I very quickly got a phone call to ask what it was all about...slightly awkward. Even more so for someone of that age.
Daughterchild has just turned 13, yesterday in fact, and so is now allowed facebook. I wouldn't dream of insisting on being a friend, nor would I add her to my friends list - way too many close to the bone jokes, adult humour and occasional sweary rants!
The arrangement I have with her ever since she's had her own email address, BBM, etc. is that I reserve the right to look if I am concerned about anything. This means knowing her passwords, but never using them except in her presence so anything I'd like clarified can be discussed there and then, face-to-face.
I've never felt the need to exercise that right, but would do IF I were concerned about who she was chatting to..
From your daughter's perspective, it'll probably feel like you're intruding on her chatting to her friends about how drunk each other got, and who kissed who, with pictures of gatherings and parties and things.
To OP, thinking back to my teenage years when I thought my parents were control freak mentalists I would have gone berserk if they had done the old tech equivalent and said they wanted to listen in on my phone conversations with friends. Perhaps an apology is in order, where you could also state in a low key non confrontational way, why you are concerned?
In reply to iksander: Yes your being overbearing. You should talk to her about online safety, bullying, other negative influences. Also about how she acts online, how what she says and does can have consequences. Talk to her but don't just tell her not to do stuff, but tell her why. If what she hears from you makes sence to her, the more likelyhood is that she will be safe and act properly online.
Also if you get it right, when she is thinking of doing something online and she isn't too sure what to do, if she ends up thinking what would you want her to/ not to do and then act in a way that you would be happy about, it will be like being omnipresent without having to read teenage girls dreadful ramblings on FB ;-)
A nasty-sounding but common among young people term ("facebook rape", but shortened to "frape", probably because it sounds a lot less nasty) for putting something on your profile without you knowing as a payback for being careless with your passwords or phone, essentially.
The classic (and indeed the one that applied in this case) is putting something like "I'm gay", though they can be more elaborate.
> Specifically I am concerned about her being exposed to low self esteem girls/ anorexia worship type stuff.
Ask yourself the question of what exactly would you do if you discovered she was hanging out with low self esteem girls/ anorexia worship types and how do you think she would react to it?
Maybe a more grown up approach would be to discuss your fears to her. She is approaching adulthood so giving her more control whilst showing you still care for and support her is surely a more positive thing to do and will hopefully make you closer.
To keep on with your current policy of control will only drive her away and at this age, she won't come back.
> (In reply to Bobling)
> The classic (and indeed the one that applied in this case) is putting something like "I'm gay", though they can be more elaborate.
The classy prankster, on gaining access to their friend's facebook account, goes into their setting and changes their birthday to some time next week. People are incredibly unlikely to notice this until the "big day" arrives and they suddenly get deluged by unexpected birthday greetings from people who've had a "today is such-and-such's birthday" notification pop up.
> I think it is, her IRL friends are not anonymous - they have a real world relationships with the real world social responsibilities that go with it.
> If she was sitting in the front room with a group of skeletal teenagers with scars on their arms that she'd never met before, I probably would want to be in the room.
Sorry but has no one picked up on this? Teenagers are largely speaking no different to adults in their use of FB etc. e.g. your daughter is not going to have a grouping of people she doesn't know offline specifically for self harm or skinny issues. Where you've gotten this idea from god only knows though it's unlikely to have any bearing on reality. AND the other thing is when it comes to technology the majority of the time your teenagers are smarter and better at it than you are. So if she was/is really as inclined as you are afraid of no doubt then she'll be communicating on forums, chatrooms or similar for such things which you won't know about and no doubt in a manner you're unlikely to find out about anyway.
In summary your expectation breaks trust with your daughter and is a little bit over suspicious. If she wants to do what you're afraid of odds are she'll find a way of doing it without you knowing.
Caveat: Of course the above are only the case unless there aren't any underlying issues which you're choosing not to mention. In which case FB issues are likely the least of your concerns.
In reply to Frank4short: >Teenagers are largely speaking no different to adults in their use of FB etc. e.g. your daughter is not going to have a grouping of people she doesn't know offline specifically for self harm or skinny issues.
>AND the other thing is when it comes to technology the majority of the time your teenagers are smarter and better at it than you are.
Agree with all that the important thing is having the discussion with my daughter, not the monitoring of her activity and influences. However, if I hadn't caught sight of her Tumblr page I would have been none the wiser to the stuff she is exposing herself to.
In reply to Frank4short:
AND the other thing is when it comes to technology the majority of the time your teenagers are smarter and better at it than you are.
This is my main reason for thinking that education about the dangers is a better approach than surveillance. I'd be worried if my kids couldn't manage to put me on a limited profile by the time they're teenagers. I suspect the 7 year old could do it now given access to FB in the first place.
I do know a few parents who've insisted on it until child is old enough to legitimately have a FB account - ie kids have wanted one at 10/11, as friends have, and parents have said OK, but you have to have me as your friend until you're really old enough to have your own account.
I'm not on facebook, and don't have a 15 year old kid, and when I was a 15 year old kid facebook (or, for that matter, the internet) didn't exist.
However I would consider any parent insisting on being on a kids social networks at age 15 as being somewhat controlling and overbearing. Not surprised your daughter did her nut.
Oh, and to the OP, low self esteem and anorexia is not something you "catch" off others with the same problem, in my experience. If its something you are worried about what I would suggest is you do a lot of reading up on the causes, symptoms and effects (it may well calm you down a bit!) and if such symptoms arrive then deal with and support her then.
> ...... is that I reserve the right to look if I am concerned about anything. This means knowing her passwords, ......
I understand your approach but just wonder how knowing her passwords actually helps?
Presumably what this really means is you sit her down and expect her to log in, in your presence (which she may or may not choose to do) - I assume that left to her own devices she can instantly (if she wishes) change those passwords that you know and bar straight confontation later on when you try to go in to look at something theres little you can do about it?
I'm going to go against the flow of this thread and say I don't think you are being over-bearing.
My daughter is 12 and isn't a member of any social networks other than a kids profile on Ravelry that is closely monitored by my wife and she has a fan fiction page, again we're involved with that.
When she reaches 13 then I'll let her have a facebook account but either her mum or I (or both) will be friends with her. Firstly I don't think she should be going into these things without guidance and secondly we have a few wankers in our family and any interaction with those people will be strictly controlled if not blocked entirely. I don't want her inadverdently adding them to her friends list.
I also have filters set up so she can't get on to anything untoward (porn as an example) and I believe its my responsibility as a parent to make sure she doesn't leap into these things without guidance.
Fortunately the schools seem to be pretty good in educating kids on Social Media and online bullying and R is very open with us. For now! The sullen silences and random door slamming seems to have started already, the joys of adolescence!
I work in IT and part of my job is monitoring our social media accounts, I'd like to think I'm pretty up to speed on these things. However rather than beat R with a 'thou shalt not' stick, I've tried to be pretty open about the dangers of the web whilst also being at pains to show how good it is too.
Actually the worst issue I have is her trusting that everything on wikipedia is gospel truth! Always check your sources.
> (In reply to iksander)
> we have a few wankers in our family and any interaction with those people will be strictly controlled if not blocked entirely. I don't want her inadverdently adding them to her friends list.
Wow, now that is controlling! My dad also had (has) issues with some of his family but I couldn't imagine being forbidden as a kid to contact them.
I'm from the mindset that kids are mostly smart enough to decide their own lives. Which would either make me a terrible parent or an enlightened one depending upon your school of thought.
In reply to iksander:
My daughter has had a facebook account since she was 10 and my son since he was 9. Much easier to be on their friends lists at younger ages. My daughter is 14 1/2 now and is more than happy to have me on her fb friends. She's a good kid, bright, with her head screwed on and we have a laugh commenting on each others' walls every now and then. I'm actually really proud of her for some of the thoughts she's put on her status and she's got a good set of friends. She only adds people to friends on fb that she has met in real life. She's also on instagram and twitter but I don't bother with those. I trust her and trust that she's got enough savvy not to get in trouble.
The only problem is I have to watch what I put on my wall!
Personally I don't use any social networks (I know, it shows ) but MrsD uses facebook quite a lot shared with my two twenty something step children and our 13 year old daughter. Sometimes its the only way they choose to communicate with us !
Ah, but that's another issue entirely. That's saying that exposure to western media, promarily western TV, can lead to young girs having unrealistic expectations of their body and hence issues with low self esteem, poor body image and eating disorders. This I would agree with.
Specifically: "By comparing rates of eating disorders, a condition highly subject to social influences, among the girls, the team determined that those exposed to television were 60% more likely to display abnormal eating habits than those without such exposure.".
The article goes on to say that in an environment where the children have no direct exposure to western media, then second hand exposure through social networks may have an analogous effect. OK, it's a bit of a leap, but I'll accept it.
However, unless your daughter is living in an unconnected part of the world with no TV and their only exposure to western media is via social networks, then that article is utterly irrelevent.
For what its worth, self-harm and associated fun and games are more to do with taking control of your life from others, or so I've been told by suffers and ex-sufferers. I.e. "Daddy controls everything I do but he cannot force me to eat". Basically retreating from a world where things are inflicted on you to a world where *you* control what occurs, whether it be self-harm or weight control.
There's lots of other stuff, especially re- self harm (razors, etc) which involves causing yourself pain to demonstrate to yourself that you can still feel emotion and/or to block out emotion, but there's a common theme.
> For what its worth, self-harm and associated fun and games are more to do with taking control of your life from others, or so I've been told by suffers and ex-sufferers. I.e. "Daddy controls everything I do but he cannot force me to eat". Basically retreating from a world where things are inflicted on you to a world where *you* control what occurs, whether it be self-harm or weight control.
Of course, the tendency of a parent when they find out a kid has an eating disorder or self-harms is to go control-freak-nuts, which of course just creates a nice feedback loop and makes the problem worse.
Food for thought, privacy settings on fb are simple to control and it's easy enough to dump one person (or both parents) into a group that can only see specific things you choose to share with them. Kids aren't stupid, especially when it comes to tech.
> (In reply to Toby S)
> Just .. whoa.
> Food for thought, privacy settings on fb are simple to control and it's easy enough to dump one person (or both parents) into a group that can only see specific things you choose to share with them. Kids aren't stupid, especially when it comes to tech.
I'm fully aware of that. And I can assure you I can out-tech her any day of the week.
why the specific concern about anorexia? bullying and possibly making contact with people she shouldn't would have been my first thoughts. yes, I can see that teenage girls may push each other towards unhealthy body images and unhealthy relationships with food (although I feel there is a difference between that and true anorexia) but you can't catch anorexia off the internet, and if she and her friends are developing bad relationships with food they'll discuss it anywhere. if you're concerned about that it's something you need to discuss with her and possibly the school.
In reply to iksander:
>...I do expect to be on her social networks... Am I being overbearing?
Yes, I'm sorry, but I think that's a step too far that could be counterproductive. I wouldn't do it: instead I'd  talk with her about on-line dangers,  apologize to her, and  tell her I wouldn't do it again and keep my word.
It's not easy bringing up kids, is it. Lots of luck with your daughter.
Even if you were friends with her on facebook, you might not see everything she gets up to on there. My niece is my friend on facebook, but I know that she just sets up groups, and I am not in those groups, so I don't get to see the stuff in those. She then does all her real friend discussion in those groups, so that it is hidden from me.
If there is anything in life that she wants to hide from you, then she will always find a way to do it.
In reply to iksander: i have my son as a 'friend' on social networking. Ive had to tell him off and remove a photo that i thought was unsavoury. Hes now 17 but this happened when he was 16. No row ensued. I just told him to remove or i'd report it then told him why.
> (In reply to iksander)
> Personally I don't use any social networks.
I was very much of the same view, until I realised that it was a useful way to keep in touch with what is going on with our family in Australia, and our grown up 'kids' when they travel abroad. You might only go on one a week, month or year, it is your choice.
For example , If you can't make it to a family event like a wedding, no worries ,the youngsters who are there will upload photos and videos almost as it happens, not exactly like being there, but it is better than nothing.
The trick is to rule FB ,and not let FB rule your life.
> (In reply to Cthulhu)
> I understand your approach but just wonder how knowing her passwords actually helps?
> Presumably what this really means is you sit her down and expect her to log in, in your presence (which she may or may not choose to do) - I assume that left to her own devices she can instantly (if she wishes) change those passwords that you know and bar straight confontation later on when you try to go in to look at something theres little you can do about it?
I don't think this approach would always work with every teenager, but as I understand it in this case it is based on trust in both directions and there is no reason for it not to work.
As for little that you can do about it, if I told my child that I expected them to do something, they agreed to it and then didn't, then yes, there would be a confrontation, followed by a sanction. Removal of laptop, mobile, extra washing up, whatever, not to mention the good old "I'm very disappointed, how can I trust you, why would I let you go out with your friends" conversation.
Make it easy for kids to understand their choices and the reasoning behind your wishes, make it easier for them to make good choices, reward good choices and make their life more uncomfortable if they make bad choices. Simples.
Is this a joke?
My daughter is 7 - I have no idea what she's going to be like in 7 or 8 years time (Maybe just an inkling) one thing I do know for definite though is that Daddy Ent will be a million miles away from any of her social networking.
> (In reply to Frank4short) > Agree with all that the important thing is having the discussion with my daughter, not the monitoring of her activity and influences. However, if I hadn't caught sight of her Tumblr page I would have been none the wiser to the stuff she is exposing herself to.
Sometimes you can just explore stuff on the internet, and decide it's weird and messed up and you'd have been better not having looked. It may be the same for your daughter, and what you saw on her Tumblr?
In reply to iksander: Yet to have children so cant speak from experience but I would definitely imagine there are some things that as a parent you would not want to see based on the sort of things I still put on there :P not really sure what sort of valuable insight it would even provide you into your daughters life. Facebook also do a pretty good job of protecting under 18s you would do better to check that her privacy settings are such that things like her photos and possibly even profile isn't visible to just anyone on facebook.
i) I have always been a "friend" of my daughters on facebook, but she doesn't post much on it
ii) This is about Tumblr - where she spends a *lot* of time, and doesn't want me as a "follower"
iii) She is a skinny girl who asks me *at leaast* once a day if her thighs look fat and won't accept any reassurances about her appearance.
iv) The content I saw on her Tumblr was a combination of anorexia-worship and suicide themed poems
I'm sure I blundered here and alientaed her and I certainly agree that the conversation is more important surveillance, but I would have had no idea that she was interested to any extent in these kind of things.
In reply to iksander: What's for sure is that bringing up kids is hard and the world has changed since we were kids ourselves. I worry about the bullying of kids on social networks - it's so easy, so visible to everyone else and so hurtful (mind you, getting punched in the face by the abnormally physically advanced Adam Townsend every day for about 2 months was no walk in the park. Oh how I laughed when I heard that he'd had his big toe chopped off in an accident...).
In reply to iksander: When my (now17yr old) son was about 13, he wanted FB so I said OK as long as I am your friend. He was OK with that, and still is happy with it. My 12 year old wants to set up an FB account, and I've said yes, but the same deal as your brother. My worry was the possibility of cyber-bullying. As others have said, you have to watch what you write, but the same goes for these forums (they are in effect a social network, so anyone on here saying I don't do social networks...). My view is that anything you write anywhere on the internet could be read by anyone, so if you're not happy with that, don't write it! Keeping an eye on your kids' FB pages is useful as they may need reminding of this occasionally!
really, do YOU want to??? whilst scaning for leads on eating disorders youre going to be subject to the infinite gibber that teenage girls fill the world with. half will be inane teenage blah blah and the rest unintelligible girl-speak.
save yourself from it, theres better ways of monitoring her for the negative side of teen-dom - actual real conversation.
its important for kids to build their own worlds - us parents are outdated models, too clunky to ride along. it will mess with her more to feel observed and monitored than to let her have her own world and to just communicate with you 'normally'.
youre not being overbearing - just a parent feeling the divide. in the 60s it was tv, in the 80s it was video games...
> iii) She is a skinny girl who asks me *at leaast* once a day if her thighs look fat and won't accept any reassurances about her appearance.
> iv) The content I saw on her Tumblr was a combination of anorexia-worship and suicide themed poems
hmm. in my experience anorexia is a secretive illness born out of deep unhappiness, not something that would be discussed like this, although social networking wasn't around when I gained that education. it's my understanding that this sort of anorexia worship and suicide talk can (somewhat stupidly) be 'cool' for teenage girls too, and that many of them now worry about their weight. I think what I'm trying to say is that even if she's trying to hide it from you the general openness would make me worry less about her as an individual, but I would maybe pass your concerns on to the school so that the group of girls in general can be watched/something can maybe raised to the while class. might be easier than you talking to her yourself and her getting defensive, angry etc.
just my thoughts/suggestion (I don't have kids but I was a teenage girl and I do have some knowledge of this general area)
Personally I'd rather be on my daughters FB page with her consent, being aware of whats going on but biting my tongue if I see something that bothers me, rather than having a go at her and risking her de-friending me (so then I wouldn't see anything of what is going on)