10 Tips for Kid Facebook Safety


I’ve noticed a new trend — younger and younger kids are on Facebook and they are trying to Friend me. At times these kids are as young as 8 and they are usually kids of my friends or relatives or friends of Ainsley’s.

I don’t Friend kids and I think all adults should strongly consider whether they should or not. (Personally, I don’t allow Ainsley to have a Facebook page for the reasons below, but that’s a parent’s call.)

  •  If you are my Facebook Friend then you probably know that I am likely to repost an off-color joke, not-for-kids essays that I might publish on The Girl Revolution, say something that might offend the kids parents or post an article on sexuality or some other issue that isn’t meant for a child audience. I don’t particularly want to change my FB habits.
  • There are several hundred people on my FB page that I don’t personally know. They are people that I have networked with online. They are people who know me from this blog. They are people who have Friended me because I said something funny on one of their friend’s posts. These people often make inappropriate-for-children comments on my posts and the kids would read them.
  • Any one of my Friends could be a child predator and could use my page to scout for kids. You never know. People are always shocked when they find out someone they know is a child molester. Someone could see a kid comment or like one of my posts or sift through my Friends list and ask a kid to Friend them.
  • As much as we try to educate them, I don’t think kids are sophisticated enough to reject Friend requests, especially if the person seems innocuous and is flattering to them.
  • Child predators often pose as kids and make friends with kids. Kids are not sophisticated enough to discern between a real kid and a fake kid. Sometimes parents aren’t either. These people are well-practiced in what they do.
  • I’m not convinced that most parents are proactive enough in monitoring their kids online behavior.
  • I don’t want to be responsible kids’ Internet safety, except my own.
  • I don’t want to be a negative or questionable influence in a kid’s life. As I said, I don’t want to censor myself for kids. If an adult is offended by my comments then I trust them to UnFriend me or block my comments. I don’t trust kids to be smart enough to be offended by inappropriate content.
  • As a parent, I would be concerned if my children were friending a bunch of adults, save Grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins.
  • I don’t particularly want to engage with children online. I enjoy the conversation of adults.


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Techie Kid

Ainsley saved enough money to buy herself a mini laptop computer. She’s been emailing her friends and cousins, since we moved from Texas.

I didn’t want her emailing from my new Macbook. Nor did I want her using my computer to play Justin Beiber songs all day long and surfing Justin Beiber YouTube videos. So, I encouraged her to save her money and buy her own.

I am inclined to pay her for doing chores that I adamantly dislike – vacuuming for one. Can’t stand it. Bathrooms don’t bother me so much, but I get too much on my plate and need someone to help me out before we entertain guests.

So, she saved, for about a year, and bought a new knock-off on ebay a few weeks ago. The trouble is, buying a mini-laptop because it is cute and pink is an amateur mistake. She’s used to the lightening fast speed of my computer, so her slow as a turtle laptop has proved to be a disappointment. The other day I caught her checking her email on my computer, and changing my Pandora station to Justin Beiber. Annoying.

She has been talking about selling her new mini, for $200. I try to explain that once you open a computer package, the sell price – the fair market value – plummets, not rises. So, she wants to lower the price to $130 (she paid $105 including tax).

She’s saving for a faster computer now. (She mentioned that if someone wants to donate one – a fast one, a cute one – that she’d be happy to accept such a gift for her upcoming birthday Oct. 9.)

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Nix Nick

I banned Nickelodeon myself about a month ago. I enjoyed iCarly, but they they started playing less nice shows like Victorious, which seemed to be a bunch of mean girl “you’re not my friend” banter and I got sick of the attitude of Drake and Josh. Mainly, my kid watched them, had an attitude with me that I got very, very sick of. I can’t prove that her attitude was caused by Nickelodeon’s programming, but I don’t have to prove it. I just have to intuit or feel like it’s a problem and that’s good enough – because I’m the mom.

I’ll probably never turn it back on in our house because of the below email from Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood which sites terribly poor judgement about what is good for children and makes it obvious that Nick is a predator who considers my children and my dollars their prey. No F’ing way. The inappropriateness of their Internet gaming is sickening and disturbing in a very gender-oriented way. I shouldn’t even have to boycott a child-oriented company for putting up “peeping Tom” and “keep women out of Congress” and “inflict more pain” websites. They should just have a few moms at the corporate table saying, “Hell NO! Are you out of your demented fucking mind?” It’s too late for them to retrieve one damn cent from my children – this is a permanent lifelong ban for terribly poor judgment and it’s irrevocable. I don’t trust you Nick.

This from the CFCC email, it is quoted:

We’re making a difference. Last week, Nickelodeon removed links to AddictingGames.com from the preschool websites under its NickJr.com umbrella, including Dora the Explorer, Backyardigans, and Wonder Pets.

More than 7,000 of you demanded that Nickelodeon stop promoting its Addicting Games website to children–and there are signs that Nick is finally getting the message.  But we need you to keep the pressure on.  Two Nickelodeon websites for preschoolers–Nick Jr. Boost and Nick Jr. Arcade–continue to link to the website, which includes some highly sexualized and horrifically violent games.  And Nick is actually revving up its promotion of Addicting Games to children.  On Saturday June 19th, Nickelodeon TV will air the Addicting Games Showdown at 10:00 AM–prime kids’ viewing time.

Will you take a moment to thank Nickelodeon for removing the links to Addicting Games from Nick Jr. …and demand that they stop promoting Addicting Games to all children?

Nickelodeon has also removed a couple of the games that CCFC highlighted, like Perry the Sneak, but the site continues to feature games that are inappropriate for children, such as:

  • Nancy Balls: “You can try to keep women out of congress, but it’s going to be really difficult.  Take their shoes away and collect guns.  That’s how to be a MAN.”
  • Torture Chamber III: “The object of Torture Chamber is to cause as much pain as possible to your victim before he dies.  Doing so awards pain points, and unlocks new forms of punishment.”
  • Highway Pursuit: “Robbing the bank was the easy part: now you have to protect the getaway car! Shoot those jerks [cops] who want their money back.”
  • You Da Sperm: “What has this woman been eating that there are apparently jellyfish inside her uterus? Take Sammy the Sperm through the inner canals that is woman, and avoid the stingy jellyfish.” (The game’s soundtrack is a moaning woman).

It is clear that Nick knows that children are playing these games; CCFC found advertising for Nickelodeon’s popular pre-teen show iCarly on You Da Sperm and a Scholastic book for pre-teens on Highway Pursuit.  You can find more examples of the egregious games CCFC found last week at Addicting Games–and who is advertising on them–here.

We’re pleased that Nick removed the links from NickJr.com.  That’s a start, but it’s not enough.   CCFC won’t stop our Addicting Games campaign until Nickelodeon stops promoting violent and sexualized games to children.  That’s why Nick needs to hear from you today.  And please share this action alert with friends and family.

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Google Buzz Internet Safety

As the Internet explodes every parent can fall behind.

Read this article, Google Buzz and Kids, from one mother who realized her young daughter and her friends were posting on Google Buzz, without realizing they were posting to the whole world. Some of them were even carrying on conversations and relationships with strangers.

Imagine parents (and kids) checking out their Buzz accounts to find that “iorgyinbathrooms” is following them, which is exactly what happened with my child’s account! Charlene Li recounts.

Not Cool.

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Girl360.net has potential to connect girls, ages 9 to 12, to historical women who have made a difference in the world.

We’re taking a fresh look at what some of the world’s fiercest women and girls have done or are doing, discovering the backstories behind our favorite boundary-pushers. We want to know who they are, how they did it and – newsflash! — what they were like when they, too, were tweens.

They choose a Girl-of-the-Month and do a feature interview with her. This month is Kendall Ciesemier, who founded of Kids Caring for Kids, a non-profit fundraiser for African AIDS, when she was only 11 years old.

Girl360 also features Herstory, a collection of book reviews with strong girl characters.

The travel section of the website focuses on girls, right now it’s Chicago. Stops include the WNBA team The Chicago Sky, Jane Adam’s Hull-House Museum, an art gallery featuring the work of women artists, female hot chocolate superstar chefs, and an aroma bar. Next month: San Francisco!

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