Monday, July 12, 2010

Facebook & Censoring

I don't have a Facebook account, so I'm asking all of you - do you censor Facebook connections? If so, how do you do it?

I keep reading, and listening to people, who are put out by having to "friend" someone that they don't really want to share their lives with, but have no idea how to do it in a nice way. They don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. In most cases it's young people who don't want the adults in their lives (or their parent's friends), to know what is going on in theirs. They want it to be about their social connections and not about family members knowing too much.

This would have been a problem for me in my younger years. It was much better that the adult members of my family only knew what was actually going on through gossip. Much safer. Had they known the truth, I'm sure they would have disowned me. In fact, I don't let most of my family members or social circle know about my blog, either. For the same reason. It wasn't that long ago that I was only known by my nom de plume "Lover of Life." It was a big step to add my name.

And, quite frankly, I really don't want to have blow by blow playbacks of what my children are up to. They don't tell me everything, which is just fine with me. (My father often said he didn't want to know what I was up to in my twenties. To the point of covering his ears and making "lalalalalalalala" noises, when I tried to over share.)

What is weird is when other people, out of the blue, tell me what my children are up to. I get kind of a creepy feeling. Kind of like - should they know what I don't? Even if I don't want to know it?

Which brings me back to Facebook. Is this an issue for you or your family members? And if so, how do you deal with it?


Cheryl Ann said...

Yes, indeed this IS an issue with me. Our grownup kids each have a Facebook account and, believe me, sometimes they post things that I just do NOT want to know about! On the other hand, they hardly ever check my account! I guess I'm too old and BORING for them! I have mixed feelings about Facebook.

Nancy said...

Cheryl Ann - I know what you mean about knowing too much - some things are better left unknown. You can sleep easier that way. :-)

Leah J. Utas said...

I only friend people I want to know about and I have unfriended one whose views were offensive.
You can set it to friends, friends of friends, or everybody, and you can hide someone's info and status reports if you don't want to know anything about them. The option is on every posting.
There comes a point when being nice just doesn't get the job done. If you have to, then either don't accept the friend request or unfriend them if you change your mind.

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

most friend requests that I get are from people that I'm OK with. some I'd rather not include - but I have some people that I just hide certain things from. You can set your status and wall posts to exclude certain people.

my children all have facebook accounts and so does my 80 year old mother. my kids keep it clean but some of my nieces and nephews do not - at which point my mother will tell them to clean up their language online. it's hilarious.

Brenda Susan said...

This is an issue with our home also. My adult (?) sons are my Friends on FB and yes they do post embarrassing stuff sometimes. Rocker Son lives a lifestyle opposite mine, so I have set his posts to "Hide" from me so I don't see them unless I am in the mood to be able to handle his crazy exploits.

He has told me that he sometimes stops a post with me in mind, I think thats a good thing. I don't apologize for being his conscience once in a while! Ha!

I also refrain from embarrassing him by not posting mushy stuff on his page, except once in a while when the mood strikes and I feel ornery!! lol

I love seeing Writer Sons posts because he lives out of state, is in love and shares our lifestyle...loves God. Those posts give me a lift.

Marguerite said...

I'm currently not on Facebook, for some of these very same reasons. Although you can set your account to include or exclude the people that you want to share your pages with, I found that some people were finding me anyway. And who knows how! Plus, the security on Facebook is breached quite often, and you can pick up viruses if you're not careful. Just too stressful! lol My kids were not on "my friends list", and I wasn't on theirs, either. I agree, there is such a thing as "too much information"!

Brian Miller said...

T and I both have FB accounts...if i dont want someone to be my friend i just dont accept the invite...if you get out of line, i delete you...ask me and i will tell you why...

Hilary said...

I have toyed with the idea of getting off Facebook entirely.....but my weaving studio has its own separate page, although I wonder if that is in any way helpful to my business at all.
I mostly 'lurk', and seldom comment....two of my daughters are on FB, but they are both not the type to post anything that I would find offensive.
Sometimes, though, I wonder......when is enough, enough?

otin said...

I have a facebook account, but I rarely go there. I never post anything and rarely comment, so I really don't have to censor myself. I do have issues where I don't want other people to see all of my friends so I do not make my friends visible to everyone.

~JarieLyn~ said...

I have a facebook account and I only accept people as friends if I know them. I post a few things here and there but nothing that would be embarrassing, (I hope) to my family memebers. I like having the FB account because I can stay connected with my friends and see all of their recent pictures, etc.

Kathryn said...

Nancy! I don't have a FB account either. My kids are 19 and 22, and they do things I'm not comfortable with. They then post pictures of their partying etc. Probably quite normal for their ages and the times we live in, but I don't need more stuff to worry about. I'm quite good enough at worrying about them all the time anyway. Oddly, or maybe not, their 85 year-old grandmother is their "friend". She enjoys lurking around and they forget she's there. She is one generation removed and not quite in to the active worrying, so she can handle it.
Other than that, I already spend waaaay to much time on the computer. If I were to join facebook I would be on it all the time, lose my job, alienate my husband, and...and...never shave my legs again!

Kathy G said...

I use Facebook, and I'm Friends with all of my children, nieces, and nephews; it's a good way to find out what they're all up to. None of them post offensive things, but Son #3 has pushed the envelope a couple of times. I rarely post anything on their wall, but use the messaging feature for the ones that don't respond to emails.

Anonymous said...


Amy said...

Nancy, You've rec'd great feedback on the perils of our digital age! My girls are in their early 30's and, of course, they are active on FaceBook. I'm on there, but I don't go on or comment very often at all. Sometimes I'll click "like." It's approval, but not quite a comment. I get nervous about all the photos and personal information out there, but they don't seem to mind.

The best advice I've rec'd and utilized is the "hide" feature. It will prevent hurt feelings and protect you from what you don't want to know - what a world we live in!

Rob-bear said...

I'm on facebook, as are both of our "adult" children, and a lot of their friends (many of whom I know).

Frankly, I find it a nuisance in most cases. So I rarely check it. I probably miss out on a few things, but important ones always find their way to me.

I only "friend" people I know. But as I rarely contact them, it's an exercise in "not much of anything."

lakeviewer said...

My children have Facebook accounts where I don't go. If they want to tell me something, they know where to find me. I know they read my blog, because some things slip in conversations, but it is my blog, not our family's journal. Somehow, we all need a place that is just our own.

Pauline said...

My daughters talked me into a FB account, explaining all my nieces and nephews and childhood friends were there. I love keeping in touch with all their lives as they are scattered all over the world. One nephew occasionaly makes a remark I don't like but he's always been like that and once my son posted about an accident I hadn't known about. He must have remembered too late that I would see it because the next day the phone rang with assurances he was fine.
All my FB Friends have invited me to be their Friends, I've just ignored a couple of invites and if I should run into them I will tell them why, for me it's strictly family and close friends. I link my blog to FB and most of my comments come from my nieces and nephews. I love the connection!

Deborah said...

Nancy, I use my account to keep in touch with my kids, for the most part. I see it as a kind of virtual kitchen, where kids and friends pass through, leaving a bit of info, humour, some comments - casual conversation of that sort. I simply ignore the friend requests that I'm not interested in - half the time people don't remember who they asked to be their 'friend' and won't even notice when nothing comes back!

I don't get too involved in commenting since it rarely comes across well in print. My kids asked me to be on Facebook, but if I were too obvious a presence, I think that would bug them.

I enjoy being able to keep up, more or less, with what they're up to, and while their occasional indiscretions make me wince, I know I was no better at their age.
Were it not for being far away from my kids, I wouldn't have Facebook, but in its way, it's unique and handy for my situation.

A Year on the Grill said...

Facebook and young people... TMI

It is starting to come back and haunt people, photos and words are now forever.

I have an account, but NEVER update it.

The Good Cook said...

Nancy - all my kids have facebook accounts and have for some time. When they first set them up they were younger and they HAD to "friend" me, now that they are a bit older I know what you mean about 'knowing too much' - but as long as they are not posting about potentially dangerous topics (or too much info about themselves) I practice "leave no trace".. that is I look, but do not actively comment.

However, if I read something disturbing I take it up with them - immediately. They are still young and naive and in "danger" zones - I feel it my parental responsibility to step in at times.

So far a "friending" people who send me requests - I just click ignore if these people are not close to me. No worries, no guilt. A lot of people just 'collect' friends without the real intention of 'following'. I also don't post anything on my blog OR my facebook that I don't want the world to see and advise my children to do the same.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

I have a facebook account, but rarely go on it. I dislike their so called privacy policy. My daughter and her friends, however, post stuff that is sometimes best kept to one's self!

DJan said...

I am on Facebook, too, and when I first got on I updated my status daily and loved finding out what' going on with family and friends. Now I miss days, don't have a daily update, but I do love to see what's going on with people I care about who don't live where I do. And pictures of babies and skydiving buddies are priceless.

I would be much more active if I didn't blog. I hide tiresome people from my news feed, and I notice that my young nieces and nephews don't show up in my feed, so they must not want their Aunt to be seeing what they're up to. Fine with me.

Pat said...

I have an account; although I'm not on it as often as most people. I do not friend people that I don't know.

My daughter has an account and I am friends with her. She tends to rant and rave about her job and that upsets me. I've told her not to do this and THAT upsets her. I've warned her a couple of times, and now I just don't comment (over the phone) about it.

I like to keep in touch with my nieces and nephews who are all over the country.

Land of shimp said...

Nancy, it is a complicated issue. I'm not on Facebook. I don't communicate briefly very often, and that's the stuff of Facebook.

So there's that, but there's also the issue of boundaries with kids. My son does have a Facebook page, but ...keeping in mind that he still does screwup in his life...I rely on my actual interaction with him to keep me abreast of things. When he was younger, things were different, but in order to grow into a responsible, self-sustaining person, there's going to be a bit of floundering on his part to get there. Or, at least there was on mine, and almost every one I know.

So there's that issue, not only do I not want to know everything, I think part of essential development of adult responsibility and maturity also comes from handling stuff without parental interference.

I don't know, and I admit I may simply be incorrect, but it seems that part of the "friend" dilemma lies in trying to find the balance of when it is no longer appropriate for either party (parent or child) to be as closely involved in the details of the child's life. To be autonomous as adults (the goal of raising kids) some withdrawing on both sides occurs, I think.

Sorry to go on here, but this is an issue that is really difficult for parents today. A couple of years back I was talking to a lawyer, whose own son had just graduated college, and was about to start law school. He talked about monitoring his son's bank account (being able to track him across town, by debit transaction, knowing where he was eating, spending his money), etc. etc. checking Facebook.

In almost the same breath he complained that when it came time to pick out a new car for the kid, the son wanted to remain at home, and said, "can't you just bring me home a green one?" rather than learn how to negotiate with the dealer, or even know about the car's inner workings. At the same time it was time to get the kid a new apartment near his law school, and the lawyer was frustrated. The boy wanted to sign a lease prior to finding his summer job, because "all the good ones will be gone if we wait".

Kind of a shockingly low level of maturity for a 23-year-old, college grad to be showing, I'd say. However, how much of that had to do with the fact that this nearly full grown man had yet to handle anything entirely by himself, up to and including balance his own bank account?

Now, that's just one (rather obviously) spoiled kid -- who is no longer a kid, by the way -- but his dad wasn't helping anything by constantly being involved at a level that had sort of arrested the kid's development.

A desire to know and be involved is one thing, but too often I think it's about trying to maintain a level of control that is no longer appropriate.

Please understand I am talking about older kids. i take no issue with the need to monitor a high school kid but beyond that, it can and sometimes does seem to not serve anyone well.

R. J. said...

I set up a Facebook account that I never use because it isn't a medium that appeals to me. I would not find the benefits worth the price one pays. I see too many pitfalls that I would rather avoid. Way too much information. I am a guarded, private person and the boomerang effect of giving out too much information or getting too much information doesn't work for me--not into spilling my guts. E-mail is much more to my taste.

Land of shimp said...

Synchronicity alert Nancy! Right now, even as I'm typing this, there is a piece on CNBC about how Facebook is being used in litigation...divorces, etc.

What makes that Synchronicity? After all, in the cable and internet age there is rarely a moment where Facebook isn't being discussed. But this was the first time I turned on the TV today, and frankly I don't watch much CNBC, the channel was still on the converter box from watching Squawk-box yesterday.

Felt like you had come to visit, really :-)

Land of shimp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Midlife Jobhunter said...

I just got a Facebook page not too long ago. So far not impressed and I'm completely worried about the access to it. Two of my kids befriended me and the youngest didn't. That's okay. I think he should have place to be himself.

Perhaps after having a blog for a year and a half and getting to know so many people in this world, Facebook seems like twitter, snippets of information I don't care to spend time reading. And, probably there is good reason why I don't have contact with all the people from my past. Like, I'm living in the present and those I wanted to remain friends with, I did.

Ranting - not sure I answered your question.

CrazyCris said...

Nancy, it took my sisters some convincing to get my parents and me on Facebook... what clinched it was playing online Scrabble games together! :p

We're all friends, don't hide much (that I know of), have pretty much all of the family in the US as "friends" as well (the younger and the older, all us cousins are in the 26-34 range), and about half my family in Spain is as well. Most of my friends are there, and it's been a grreat way to reconnect with old school friends. Since my family and friends are literally spread out across the world I really enjoy Facebook as a way to keep in touch, even if just a little bit! Particularly since I'm so bad at writing... :p

gayle said...

I love facebook!! Love the pictures! Love finding out that a student I taught in first grade just had a baby. I think it's great! However, if I had teens I would not want to know everything that they are saying back and forth to each other.

Erika C. said...

Thanks for starting this discussion. I am on Facebook too and at times it can be a real pain in the neck. Every time I go to the updates page I get a message that my e-mail address is not mine and I have to renew it and it sends a reminder to my e-mail. I have to just ignore it since no one has been able to help me with it.

My kids are still too young for Facebook but my friends with older kids definitely join as a way to monitor what their kids do there. I will do the same.

The benefit of Facebook for me is being able to catch up with friends who have moved in an easy way. ANd to reconnect with old friends with whom for whatever reason I had lost contact.

Like most everything in life, you have to take the good with the bad and so far, I have decided to stick with it.


susan said...

Someone invited me to facebook a couple of years ago and the only way I could leave a reply was to sign in as a member. The next thing I knew all sorts of people wanted to 'friend' me - some I knew from blogging and some I didn't know at all (who I suspected wanted to sell me something). The ones that made me say good-bye though were the people who have my address and phone number who haven't sent a return Christmas card in years. Hah!

Lori said...

I didn't get a facebook account for a long time but at my childrens and extended families persistance I finally did. I have my account settings all set to private and am only friends with people I feel comfortable with. What I like about it the most is seeing pictures and keeping up with what is going on. Just like blogging, I don't have as much time as I would like to spend on it. My kids and I are pretty close so they already tell me most things and for the most part they don't post things that bother me but if they did I would just stop reading it. Many of my childrens friends are my friends too but that is because they grew up in my daycare or hung out at our house growing up and we have a closeness.

I do understand your concerns though cause they were was the whole privacy thing. I am not big on the games on there at all and if people send me things I have no problem clicking ignore. :)

In all honesty, for the most part it has been a positive experience so far. :)

Linda Pendleton said...

I don't do Facebook either, and even though I have been told for professional reasons I should have...but I know exactly what you are talking about, Nancy...being told by others "what is going on with family." I don't like it either. Are we being picky?...I don't think so.... I don't like open (for the world to see) communication lines with family...I guess. Email is bad enough--and the phone is not picked up often enough to communicate in real time, it seems.

Nancy said...

Thank you all for leaving comments on this subject. It seems that people with teenagers need to keep an eye on what is going on in their lives, and I totally agree. I kept as close an eye as I could on my teenagers and the internet. At that time it was chat groups that had me worried. As for them now being adults, I feel less a need to monitor what is going on in their daily lives, preferring to know only what they choose to share. There have been times when I've been worried about them for one reason or another and inserted myself into their lives a bit more, but for the most part I think young adults should have some autonomy. I do like the idea of keeping up with friends and family, but I already spend a great deal of time on my computer through blogging. I'm not sure something else to follow is good for me at this time. I do like the idea of not allowing all of your posts to be seen by everyone. I think that saves feelings in the long run. I feel better about my children being able to do that, and I think I will ask them to just not have every post available to my friends and adult family members. It solves the problem of them knowing more about my family than I do - which, as I've said, creeps me out.

I do feel like I know much more about Facebook after your comments. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I was apprehensive about joining FB, and delayed it for a long time, until I get fed up with hearing about my new granddaughter from all these people I knew who had FB accounts. Now I am thrilled that I joined. Not only do I get to keep up with my daughter and granddaughter, but so many of my former students have friended me and fill me in on their lives.

I have had to unfriend one person who I really didn't know all that well, but she was friends with so many of my friends that I thought it would be ok. It wasn't.

I have to hide things like all the Farmville and games people play because I HATE game playing of any sort.

I have taken to just leaving friend requests that I'm not fond of. I don't ignore but I don't accept either. I just let them sit there. Sometimes I change my mind. I did that yesterday, with a former student, and I may be unfriending before the week is out because of the language I'm seeing.

FB has broadened my life in so many ways (talk about synchronicity) that I would not give it up just for the few poor experiences I've had.