Don’t let children use Facebook as a platform for venting or gossiping about the family.
It should come as no surprise to anyone these days, but careless comments on Facebook can get you in trouble. The same goes for your kids who may be using social media sites to vent about their frustrations with parents or to gossip about family members.
There’s no practical way to kick your kids off of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites, nor are they likely to stop texting. As computer and cell phone technology continues to evolve, children and teens will find new ways to communicate with each other, if even in stealth.
Still, you can set some ground rules in your household. Rule 1: Do not discuss your family issues with the world; discuss them with your family.
As many family lawyers know, parents involved in a child custody or visitation case frequently pick up “dirt” and other little dirty secrets from each other’s Facebook pages or from the kids’ Myspace pages. Imagine your son making a reference to “what Daddy’s new girlfriend wore around the house last night.” What if the child’s mother never knew that Dad had a new girlfriend? What if she wanted to make an issue out of how scantily dressed the new girlfriend is? What if your daughter complained online that “it’s another long night, left alone, by myself…” Wouldn’t you expect the non-custodial parent to question why the child is being left alone, at perhaps a very late hour?
Since social media sites provide such useful evidence these days, parents should make every reasonable effort to control the evidence that enters cyberspace. Admonish children NOT to use Facebook and other sites as a venting grounds about family matters. Better safe than sorry.