"..a bardy view!"

facebook? Time for a face-pack!

Should parents befriend their children's facebook? It's a topic on the BBC News Magazine website, and my answer is clear and concise. No!

In fact, if I had my way I would ban the insidious and shallow excuse for social interaction now. Fini, kaput, gone, dead, and buried.

So what are my objections? First of all I don't want to see photos of my daughters posing provocatively for all and sundry. Call me a prude, but if I can see them, so can millions of others. The argument of privacy settings doesn't hold water, because one friend leads to another, and the network expands to meet the needs of the curious.

Read "friend" for "link". A link, to an event, to a picture, to a discussion, to similar minded naïve young people and full circle – ergo, back to what you don't want to see.

I'm not saying my kids are naive, because in normal day to day activities ie life, they appear perfectly level headed, intelligent, articulate  and responsible. Yet these seemingly natural aspects of the human condition disappear entirely once they appear on facebook.

I'm fortunate that during their early years the 2nd generataion web phenomena didn't exist, otherwise I would have torn my hair out with worry. I thought things were bad then, but if I was a young parent now I would feel that I had lost complete control. Control? Well, parents need that aspect over their children, and for all the arguments we are not friends to our children, we are parents. Period!

Of course my children are adults now, and what they do on facebook is their business, but invariably, and no doubt unwittingly, they have managed to spread their circle of friends to aunts, uncles, cousins, and a host of virtual "friends" who they will never really know nor meet, and all of them by hook or by crook are wrapped in the bubble.

Their real friends are equally naive and do the same things, and this fuels the perpetual purpose of facebook. As a bemused account holder of the platform (soon to destroy), it is inevitable my relatives will have some link with my own offspring, and lo and behold, the circle is complete.

Whoever thought of this is seriously disturbed and dangerous.

But it is not just the fact that everyone seems to think that facebook is the most natural thing in the world, it is the potential for danger and exploitation, be it from criminals or governments. Indeed, its difficult to tell one from the other in a world where everyone has access to personal information.

Lets look at the pros: A mother with a son away at university, or on holiday, or working far away can keep up with her child's activity. Someone with an interest or cause can find like minded individuals. Someone who wants to show photos at Christmas or birthdays can do so to all their friends and family around the world. Granny can follow her grandchildren. Opinionated people can spread their thoughts to all of the above.

The cons: Social interaction has failed. The article I referred to earlier highlights a family that never interacted together, but communicated on facebook. They never looked each other eye to eye. Even the siblings only spoke to each other on facebook.

The media be it radio or television, newspapers and magazines encourages facebook following. The obvious results are speech deficiency, poor grammar, no articulation, ill thought argument, and "text" speak. The advocates profess that this ensures the survival of the English language and that it will not die like Latin.

OMG f de tink dat dn wer doomd bro.

Employers now look to facebook to check out the character of their applicants. The police look to facebook likewise for analysis of suspects. Google can target advertising to those who show particular interests. The FBI, CID, CIA KGB et al can find out information with one click.

Paedophiles and other sexual perverts can trawl through thousands of pages to find a victim; thieves can find out properties which will be empty, party goers can trash a pad with ease, and marriages can be ruined by the careless desire of a partner to seek out past relationships. Riots can be planned, activists can make secret rendezvous, religious extremists can find a home and receive nurturing and conditioning. Gangs use it to keep in touch with their members, and it is a platform for the violent to show off, before and after imprisonement.

facebook is new. It has the power to cause incalculable damage. It fuels the ignorant and nurtures the liberal. It ferments dissent, and for every good cause it may broadcast there is a despicable undercurrent lurking and feeding from it.

Yes, its great to keep in touch with your friends and relations, but there are other less damaging ways to do that. How about writing a letter, or finding a site like Virtual Tourist or Travelblog. Email or Yahoo messenger is still a great way to communicate.

facebook fundementally is the tool for instant gratification, in a world which has lost sense and sensibility. It is the tool for instant attention and suspect, misguided fame and following.

I do not want to be a friend of my children. I want to be a responsible father, honed with experience to advise them while I am still alive.

You do not need to be a facebook friend to love and care for them. facebook furnishes fly by night, fairweather friends, but unlike in the real world, they will be there forever in the virtual one.That is a worrying prospect.

Its time to put a face-mask on facebook.


December 14, 2010 - Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Education, facebook, General, Politics, Weblogs | ,


  1. For once I’m going to disagree with you although I fully understand where you are coming from. ‘Fairweather’, friends can be found in the real world as well. As to parents and kids, therein once more come balances. My kids are adults now, two have friended me and one hasn’t. I seldom if ever go and look into their goings on, occasionally yes.
    You say you do not want to be friends with your children, but a responsible father? Well my kids are adults now and I think it’s a great shame if you can’t be friends with them? I’m trusting that when they were children I had installed in them the attributes that lead to being a stable member of society. In fact I’m sure of it.
    With my ‘personal’ circumstances I find it the easiest way to communicate and am only sorry I never found or used it earlier. Doesn’t it just boil down to using a bit of common sense? In other words, when something more personal needs to be said, you send a private message, instead of splashing it for all to see?
    Tally ho old chap and congratulations on retaining the Ashes with such aplomb.


    Comment by Spook Moor | January 17, 2011 | Reply

  2. Hi Kevin. I may have been a little over critical, but my point is clear. It’s horses for courses and I know it is very beneficial for many folk, I’m just expressing my concerns. Sure I am friends to my children, but it is a paternal friendship, and that’s how I like to keep it. I’m just pleased that when they were growing up I didn’t have to worry about social networking sites. Not sure how I would cope if it was today. Great to hear from you as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Bar De Ness | January 18, 2011 | Reply

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