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Friday, April 6, 2012

Should he Facebook?

My younger son wants a Facebook page.

I have it. Now he wants it.


I suppose I knew this day would arrive, but I truly expected his age to be in the double digits before it happened. Just for the record, I want to be clear: HE IS ONLY EIGHT!

He's a gamer, this child, and I'm blaming the whole notion of joining Facebook on his iPad, where he saw an evil little notice one day while playing Angry Birds.

"Mom! You have to mark this date on your calendar!" He said to me one day. "Angry Birds is coming to FACEBOOK!"

Good Golly, if I heard about Angry Birds on Facebook once after that declaration then I heard it a bazillion times. Angry birds on Facebook. Angry Birds on Facebook. Facebook. Facebook. You can just log into your Facebook, mom. Then you can get Angry Birds. Don't forget! Angry Birds. On your Facebook account, mom. Angry Birds.

BE QUIET!

Don't worry, that was just my inner voice. It yells at this kid a lot, particularly when he grabs onto an idea and is absolutely relentless in expressing it.

I don't care about Angry Birds. Sorry, friends. I do enjoy the game. It's just hard to kill pigs when you are doing grunt work with kids. By contrast, our son really, really cares about the game. Seriously. He's a geek about many games and can tell you far more than you would think imaginable about them, but Angry Birds?

Oh, Angry Birds is special. And, I guess the Facebook version of Angry Birds have some unique featers? Ooohhh, even more enticing for him!!

One day, I did the unthinkable. I logged into my Facebook account, I found that darned game, and I let him play. He was creating an avatar as I left the room, and I couldn't shake the feeling of dread. Letting my child into my Facebook account? At eight?

What's next, sex, drugs and rock & roll?

Before anyone even says anything, c'mon, My account's got nuthin' to hide. I'm a mom. This is all I do. All day. Every day. No secret lives are going on with this gal. But, I don't know, some people out there in computer world I'm not so sure about.

What I am sure about is how a child with high functioning autism can latch onto an idea and absolutely drag his mother into the ground discussing it. Letting him onto Facebook would feed the wild beast--at least until it develops a taste for something else.

Oh, dear, like Farmville.

Have I mentioned that he doesn't know anything about any of the other games on Facebook? Hm, letting him have his own unsearch-able, un-friendable account: Best Idea Ever or Run Away While I Still Can?

I think I already have my answer. What's yours?

This entry was written in response to the letter prompt "F" in the A to Z Challenge April 2012.

31 comments:

  1. Oh Amy-- I'll be honest-- my older daughter-- the one with an ASD-- she wanted a Facebook account at 11, to play Farm Town. Yes, I gave in--but not before I totally set up her privacy wall so freaking find no one could search her. Then she wanted to know why she couldn't find neighbors--well because Mom didn't let her have any friends. So I conned about 12 family members into a)getting a facebook b)playing Farm Town c)Friending my daughter. d)requesting to be her neighbor on Farm Town.

    Then about a month later-- I have all these addicts in my family and my daughter lost interest!! I'm to blame. All MY FAULT. It's okay-- we all survived.

    I guess from my perspective-it wasn't the end of the world. LOL.

    Cheers, Jenn
    http://www.wine-n-chat.com

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    1. Oh Jenn..that's HYSTERICAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  2. Okay that should have said, "...so freaking high" not find. LOL. :)

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    1. Jenn, Yes! I can then see the next step. Our son loves his out-of-state cousins. He'll want to "friend" them. And then, what about his aunt? And his uncle? Other relatives? Yes. They are already on FB. But if we take that step, then we lift some of the protections. HE'S EIGHT. ugh. Walking away right now. I'm going to avoid. Avoid. Avoid.

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  3. my son is 8 and I no more would let him have an FB page at this age than I would a phone, though he might request both. He loves computer stuff too, but that's why I like the Nintendo DS; you can turn off the internet. great parental controls. And when they finish games, you trade them in for new used ones.

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    1. Thanks for the reply.

      I'm filing this under, "Things I would never do if I had a typical kid." We have a Dsi. We don't have the 3D, although he belongs to a gaming club and plays with them regularly. Wii. IPad. Whatever he can get his hands on here or there. (No xbox, etc. yet)

      Words cannot describe the intense interest a spectrum kid can have with technical things. He devours them and moves on to the next.

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  4. I'm so glad my kids are grown. The world wasn't uncomplicated while they were growing up, but there are definitely things that today's parents have to address that I didn't. Yay for being old!

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    1. In the end, I don't think that I can go there, but it definitely is a different world--and it happened pretty fast! You aren't old!

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  5. I don't think facebook is appropriate for kids of 8. Don't know if it would lend some relief to your day in dealing with his autism or not, but it's a can of worms that I don't think I'd want to open up. So if you are keeping score, my vote's a no. Goodluck with the decision!

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    1. I'm nervous about where it would go next, I'll admit.

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  6. i guess if you are monitoring it, should be okay and if it isn't than deal with it then---happy facebooking :)

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    1. Lol! I love fb.

      Monitoring anything is hard in this house, though...

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  7. I agree with Sandra Tyler. The DS is a great idea. If you don't want a 3DS (the newest version that plays 3D games, about $170.00) There are other versions that are cheaper. If have any questions, feel free to ask me.

    My son wants a FB account too, but I'm making him wait until he's 13, which is this July. But he's been bugging me for one for years.

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    1. He's kind of "over" his Ds right now. The ipad's apps are pretty accessible. I think that's the allure for him.

      Doesn't fb have an age restriction of 13, anyway?

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  8. He might enjoy it..maybe find a hobby he loves..he could take pics and upload and be so proud..maybe he will find his voice in the written word :0)

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    1. Brenda, hope you read this. You should check out "Snapshots by Sam Maloney" on Facebook. It's a boy that goes to the same school as our older son. He has a keen photographer's eye and is a great example of how facebook hi-lights his talent and not his diability. Indeed, it actually has helped him with his reading, spelling and self-esteem.

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  9. My kiddo is all about angry birds too. I use it only in times of duress. So far I've been able to shield him from knowing he can actually play it on the computer/facebook. But there will come a day...probably around "O" in the challenge, where Mama is gonna need a few minutes, and I'll crack. Keep us updated on your decision.

    Sex, drugs and rock n' roll. Hahaha, love it!

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    1. Now, see? THAT'S what I'm talking about! I LUUUVVV an occupied child!!!!

      One more week of this, Cari, and I'm going to be certifiable.

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  10. What's this gaming club you mentioned? It sounds like a great idea. I wish we had one. Perhaps they can talk to him about staying safe on facebook?

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    1. There is a local autism support/programming group in my area that created a club for kids on the spectrum who have this heightened issue. It's lead by two fascilitators and works on social skills through that common interest. Let me know if you would like more information. I could give you a link or a contact person.

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    2. You're an amazing Mom to find all of these local supports to help your son. These doctors and psychologist, etc. don't seem to be connected to groups like this. Bless you!

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  11. Look on the bright side, at least is wasn't Mob Wars!! :\

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    1. Does that still exist? Wow. I remember how people were with that! I actually hid it from my news feed. lol! I obviously didn't play...

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  12. My kids are 6 and 11 and I don't think it is necessary for either one of them to be on face book. One of my friends has all her kids on face book and they are young simply so they can play the games. I don't think Face Book should offer all these games because little kids then get hooked and lured into other things. There are enough video games out there without kids invading face book too.

    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com/

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    1. You make a good point about the purpose of offering these games.

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  13. One word answer - No.
    Several word answer: quite apart from the fact that kids have to be 13 to have a FB a/c (and that's too young IMO), there are plenty of other resources/games available for them which they can play without being on FB.

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    1. Particularly since he has an iPad, which his ENTIRE family bought him for his birthday last year. I think I'm going to milk that one for as long as I can. The kicker about FB is that the Angry Birds version is a little different. Hm. Too bad, I think.

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  14. May I just say to all of you: HE'S EIGHT!! LOL!!! My mind is still spinning!

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  15. Okay, breathe. He is 8. He is too young for a FB account. Period. Angry birds is a great game and available on his iPad. You are not solving a problem by giving him access to FB, you are creating one. There is nothing good about giving him something that he is obsessed about with all the negatives that could come from it. No. He isn't old enough to meet the guidelines, not your fault, when you are 13, we will talk about it. Rules are rules. Sorry. Oh, and by the way, it is the same game you already have and they will always be coming out with new ones that work on your iPad. End. No.

    So, I am on the absolutely not side of this one, in case I wasn't clear enough.

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  16. Amy, I have a suggestion...My eight year old got a 3DS for Christmas. It's really cool and has a broad range of games to play. It's portable and he STILL loves it! lol

    If he has Angry Birds on his ipad, he probably doesn't need FB. My David loves Angry Birds! I downloaded the app on my Android for him. :o)

    p.s. My daughter is 13, and I won't let her have a FB acct. Am I mean or what!

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  17. great post ... recently my friend 7 year requested me on FB . I swore it was a bogus account because how could a 7 yr old have FB but it was him LOL She quickly explained that he wanted to play words with friends with me and add me as a neighbor on farmville so I added him BUT he is blocked from my wall and status'...I do not want to aid in the corruption of a 7yr old hahaha...

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