‘Facebook has changed our social DNA,” Time magazine declared. And we can’t deny it. Mark Zuckerberg’s social-networking site has changed the world in a lot of ways—the way people communicate, the way they stay in touch with friends, what they choose to share and keep to themselves. We wondered—has it changed the way people raise their kids, too?
We asked parents and here’s what they had to say:
“Parenting in the time of Facebook definitely has its pros and cons. While it’s easy to get resources and information on parenting and child rearing, the challenge is learning how to filter the information. Facebook is also a venue for moms and dads to be virtual stage parents, posting pictures and stories of the latest milestones of their kids.
“As all parents are competitive when it comes to their kids (even when they don’t admit it, haha), there is this tendency to compare and sometimes expect more from the little ones. I am guilty of this sometimes so I often have to remind myself to relax and enjoy each day with Ava.” —Rosanne, mom of one
“I always bring my phone so when my little monsters do something new, I can document it and upload to Facebook. I make sure I never take my eyes off them. I’m always with them.” —Michelle, mom of two
“I stalk my daughters, hahaha! Seriously, I check their walls every now and then and they know that I do. Also, they cannot ‘unfriend’ or ‘hide’ from me.” —Annie, mom of two
“As much as possible wala nga dapat siyang access sa Facebook eh. But my 12-year-old son was persistent. Nagsisisi ako na ginawan ko siya ng account. Now I try to regulate his usage and I make sure he doesn’t add strangers as friends.” —Tess, mom of two
“I always tell my daughter that Facebook is a social network that reflects not just who you are in person but also in the virtual world, so be responsible for anything you post.” —Czen, mom of one
“I consider myself still a newbie at parenting, and with Facebook at the tip of my fingers, I am able to seek and compare notes from other parent friends. It’s been my lifeline together with other parenting websites while I am away from peers in Manila. With Facebook, no distance nor time zone can keep me away from getting and giving realistic advice about baby feeding, potty training, or the best home remedy for any baby or toddler ‘hiccups.’” —Kit Arines-Santos, mom of two
“In this day and age with an amazing social-networking tool like Facebook, I am able to run my business with a lot of free advertising opportunities and at the same time interact with my clientele and potential customers. Being a parent often requires undivided attention. The best time for me to be on Facebook is when the kids are in school…or when everyone is sleeping. Luckily, smartphones are very handy so that I can Facebook on the go, or cook dinner, or sit and wait for my girls to finish dance lessons and still be engaged with my target market and be available to clientele when necessary. But family ALWAYS comes first.” —Carol, mom of four
“Facebook worries me. As a mom, I worry if I am posting too much information about my kids. All these adorable pics of them—will they hate me for broadcasting them later on when they’re a little older? I worry about my teenage daughter. Is she posting too much? Is Facebook developing in her a need for other people’s validation? Will she grow up knowing the value of privacy?” —Monina, mom of four
“I’m not on Facebook but my kids can’t stop talking about it so I’m making it my mission to finally join in 2012.” —Dan, dad of two
“As a parent in the time of Facebook, I need to be discreet and open-minded so my children will not be offended and afraid. For me it’s a good chance to find out about the activities of your children and how they have a good time. Facebook for me is just for fun, it’s no big deal.” —Aquarian mom, mom of three
“I’m ‘friends’ with my kids on Facebook, although my youngest ‘unfriended’ me and her dad. She said her classmates are not friends with their parents, anyway.
“But I think she was just annoyed or embarrassed that we (her dad and I) post on her wall or tag her on our posts. With that experience, we learned to keep a safe distance from her two siblings. By being ‘friends’ with them, we can keep an eye on their activities and interests.” —Andrea, mom of three
“Facebook has brought me closer to my teenage son. He’s really quiet around the house but on Facebook he’s more vocal. It’s been a good way for me to know what he’s thinking.” —Victoria, mom of one
“My kids were the ones who made my account. We had to go through a very long tutoring process before I got the hang of it. I like Facebook, it’s a great way to stay in touch with my loved ones. But I also try not to interfere too much in my kids’ Facebook pages. They know the rules anyway—no strangers, no expletives and show respect all the time, on the Internet and in real life.” —Evelyn, mom of two
“I think Facebook is a waste of time, and my kids know that’s how I feel about it.” —Raul, dad of two
“Being a first-time mom who is very much into social-networking sites, I feel that I become more up-to-date with trends in parenting, and at the same time affirm myself with certain practices that I employ as a parent through FB. It is easier to practice a more modern style of parenting because FB helps me bridge the gap with the present generation, as I get to see and partly understand their likes and interests through their posts.” —Cesca Amurao, mom of one
“It’s a lot easier to keep track of what my son is doing, who his friends are, what he does with his friends, because most of the info is on his wall on Facebook. I can read his conversations with his friends or look at photos of him with them. I can even follow stuff he submits to group pages, see how the rest of his peers react to either a drawing he’s made or an article/story he has written.
“I appreciate the fact that because of Facebook, I am getting to know my teenager a lot better. The only disadvantage is that he is on the social-networking site most of the time and would rather be Facebooking with his friends than going out with family. This is the new tambayan for teenagers, I guess. So, it’s also a struggle to tell my son sometimes to limit Facebook.” —Mindy, mom of one
“I try to get involved with his activities and interests through Facebook. My son is 12 and is part of his school’s basketball team. I created a fan page for his varsity team and there I am able to connect with my son, his teammates, coaches and other parents as well. One of the things I want instill is the value of making long-lasting friendships, and I think Facebook is helping me do this.” —Yvette Joyce S. David, mom of two
“I refuse to let my kids join Facebook until they’re 18. It’s been a cause of dispute in the house, but I remain firm.” —Joey, dad of three