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Those of you who read this blog or follow me on Twitter know that I have four sons, the oldest of which is 12.  We are tech lovers, each with an iPhone, an iTouch or an iPad.  My two oldest children have Facebook, email and Instagram accounts.  Some would argue that they are too young (and they might point out that they are in volation of Facebook's policy on young users).  I think it is terrific, and let me tell you why.

Today's young people are going to integrate technology and social media into their lives with or without our blessing.  I would prefer that they do it with me by their side.  I accept any friend on Facebook, and I love that I am friends with my sons' friends, former students and parents.  I don't (usually) post anything on Facebook that I would be uncomfortable sharing with them.  But more important than what I share with them is what they share with me.  Eighth grade poets, self-conscious girls changing their profile pictures daily, and sixth graders updating their relationship status. 

Isn't it better that Facebook be a safe place where we can all get to see a side of each other we may not have known before?  If we expect our children to wait unti their teenage years to begin using Facebook I am afraid that they will already begin putting up their "filters."  My young and sweet boys see social media for what it is;  A means of seeing what the people you care about are up to.  A way of staying connected to far-flung relatives and camp friends.

Of course there will come a time when our children will crave privacy.  They, like me, will have a private Twitter account, or a blog that their closest family and friends don't know about, and I am fine with that.  Part of growing up is separating oneself from one's parents and hometown.  It's the same thing kids have been doing in dorm rooms and summer camps for generations.  At some point everyone deserves the right to a public and private persona.

Until then, I will friend my sons on Facebook.  I will "like" their posts and pictures.  I will tease them in front of their online friends and make them roll their eyes IRL.




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