BJ Fogg, director of Stanford University’s Persuasive Technology Lab, announced this week a free, noncredit course called “Facebook for Parents.” Fogg is teaching the class with his sister, Linda Fogg Phillips, and they have also created the site Facebook for Parents.
Their basis advice to parents is to sign up for Facebook, friend your kids, then Facebook-stalk them. As generic advice for parents of Facebooking kids of all ages, this strikes me as paranoid overkill–especially for parents of college kids. Wouldn’t the equivalent real life parenting advice be “Join your kid’s fraternity/sorority, get to know their frat brothers, go to the parties and watch them interact.” Does Facebook really pose more extensive dangers to our kids than real life interaction?
How about we teach our kids how to behave responsibly online and give them increasing freedom to do so as they mature?
That strategy has worked for me for both real life freedom and online freedom. I’m friends with my kid on FB, but we have a tacit understanding that we don’t pay too much attention to each other there.