Yesterday morning I opened my laptop to find this note from Katie, in which she argues yet again about us not letting her have a Facebook account (click for a larger image or read the transcript below):
Here’s what it says:
DO NOT THROW THIS AWAY!!! [underlined three times]
Of course you know I REALLY REALLY want a Facebook account. One reason is because I’m too young. Give me at least two more reasons why I shouldn’t have a Facebook account besides [underlined three times] me being too young: (you can list more reasons)
(Give back as soon as filled out) [circled!] Love, Katie [smiley]
This was my first reaction:
Facebook terms of service say users must be 13 or older. So there.
My second reaction:
2. I’m your mom.
Want more reasons?
3. I’m your mom.
4. I’m your mom.
5-infinity. I’m your mom.
My third reaction, and possibly my final one:
I don’t want you to grow up any faster than you already are. I want you to enjoy being a kid. You’re at the tail end of the innocence that goes with grade school years, and I want that to last as long as it can—not just for my sake, but for yours. I know you don’t completely understand that right now, but someday you will. [And you’ll thank me.]
I don’t want to expose you to the icky parts of the Internet—the things that come with putting personal info out there—just yet. The creep factor, the safety factor, the bullying factor, the stupidity factor (making threats that could get you in trouble, posting inappropriate photos, etc.) … you don’t understand the real depth of all that yet, and I don’t want to monitor you to the degree I think would be necessary right now.
You already text and email… isn’t that enough for now? [PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be enough for now and drop this Facebook thing, because your texting and emailing freaks me out enough already…]
There’s a reason Facebook users are supposed to be 13 or older: there’s a maturity required that kids younger than 13 simply do not have. A lot of kids don’t even have it at 13. We’re your parents, and we have to set boundaries. It’s like leaving you home by yourself when I run to the store—I didn’t do that until I knew you could handle it (and I won’t leave Jack alone until he’s 18, when he can handle it). One of the cool things about getting older is that you’re better able to handle grown-up things. They will come to you when you’re ready, and as your parents, we decide when that is.
To have a Facebook account before you’re 13 would require you to lie about your age. For your entire life, I’ve taught you that lying is wrong. To let you lie to get something you shouldn’t have sends a message I don’t want to give you.
Here’s a selfish reason: I don’t want to censor myself. If we’re Facebook friends—and we damn well will be, when you’re finally on Facebook—I have to be careful of the things I say/post. I don’t want to do that, which is why I don’t have any little friends on FB. Right now it’s my place, where I can be myself. If you’re reading everything I write, INDEPENDENT JEN CEASES TO EXIST. ;)
Even though I feel strongly about all those things, it’s still so hard for me to tell Katie NO. I appreciate that she’s asking me for valid reasons—it says something about her questioning rules and I respect that—but I think I’ve still gotta play the Mom card with this one.