At 13 years old, my older son asked me over and over why he couldn’t have a Facebook account. For a year I managed to convince him to wait a little longer. I wanted to be certain he was ready for the responsibility—and I wanted to make sure I was ready, too.
Last month my son turned fourteen and he is now in the minority as a 9th grader who still doesn’t have a Facebook account. “It’s starting to look weird,” he told me recently. “People ask me to friend them on Facebook and I have to tell them I don’t have an account.” The way he says it, you would think he was admitting to his fellow classmates that he rides a camel to school instead of the bus—and maybe they look at him as if that’s what he had said.
High school is difficult enough, even for a well-liked child, and I believe my son is now sufficiently mature, so I’ll be sitting down with him soon to open a Facebook account. However, this privilege isn’t being given without some rules. Here are a few things my son is agreeing to in exchange for a Facebook account, (as well as a few promises I’m making, too.)
Read Related: Is Your Child Ready for Facebook?
Facebook Rules For My Teen (That You Might Want to Consider for Yours)
1. He must friend me.
2. I will have his account password and my son accepts that I can log in at any time.
3. We will set up privacy settings together that keep him safe.
4. Facebook is not to be used until after homework is completed, (and then only 30 minutes per day.)
5. Facebook may not be used while at school via cell phone. This one is easy to enforce because we don’t have the data plan active on our phones right now.
6. There will be no inappropriate behavior, which includes: gossiping (even in private messages), getting involved in drama with other kids, inappropriate language or photos, objectification of women, or insulting others.
7. I will approve all friend requests on a case-by-case basis. He is not to friend people he does not know.
To be fair, I came up with a few rules for myself. I will not friend his friends. I will not abuse the fact that I have access by unnecessarily spying on him. I will not embarrass him by posting on his wall.
What rules do you have for your teenager on Facebook?