Facebook, Teens, Privacy and the end of COPPA


Recently I wrote about why I won’t be friending my children on Facebook and the rules of our house. I wrote about why kids don’t need adult friends online and access to our children.

The backlash was swift and severe. People just don’t agree with me and, as usual, I’m totally okay with that.

I have one suggestion for y’all while reading my blog. Understand that this is one document written by one woman. I’m not a lawmaker or a teacher at your child’s school. There’s a very good chance that I’m not even your neighbor. So before you get angry and offended that I’ve likened friending your child on Facebook to helicopter parenting take a breath and think about why I might have struck a nerve. If it doesn’t apply to you, move on.

In any event if your teen is on Facebook it’s the end of COPPA for you. Your children officially have identities that are being bought and sold. This is the price of free. I’m not saying it’s good or bad. I’m just saying the sky is blue and my daughter’s data is being bought and sold. It’s a big and profitable business.

Now, for those of you who got very upset with me on G+ and Facebook and told me that I was a horrible negligent mother because I don’t friend my daughter on Facebook I’d like to talk to you about some other ways you can effectively parent your children though the murky waters of social media.

You can sit with your children and go on Facebook with them. Point at the kids and say, ooh isn’t that Leah from Pre K? My daughter loves looking at everyone’s pictures and giving me updates on the kids, their lives, schools, camps and sports. It’s nice spending real time with kids.

You can be your child’s admin. This can take many forms from spot checking to screen sharing. When Jane was setting up her Facebook account she was upstairs on her computer and I was in my office with a computer set to screen share. She knew I had to see how she was setting the site up but she also knew she had to be supervised. Screen share is an AMAZING tool during the week for homework when two kids are asking for your help and you have just one working printer. It’s only creepy spying if your kids don’t know you’re using it… which is frankly just fine at younger ages.

You can add your child’s logon to your devices and check in periodically. You can parent 80 gazillion ways and do so very effectively.

What you cannot do is expect to see your child on Facebook and have a complete picture of who they are. Pay attention to them at home, at school, in the company of friend and, yes, on Facebook too. Parents aren’t “finding out” that their kids are depressed from social networks, parents are finding out that their kids are depressed/anxious/afraid/happy/successful from parenting.

Hopefully your child has been on the internet with you a lot and knows not to give away a ton of personal information. Don’t fill our family trees, enter home addresses, fan their school, friend anyone they haven’t met in real life… there’s a very long list.

Sitting with your child in front of a screen full of their peers might bring about interesting discussions like, “Oh I didn’t know she was a bikini model, that’s an interesting after school activity for a 14 year old.” or “Why don’t you spend more time with Hannah? She’s really turned into a sweet girl.”

Your children (and all of us) will enter too much data. It’s what we do, it’s a mistake everyone makes (expect my brother who could put the NSA to shame). Recently I hosted a luncheon for MyInfoGuardian.com and a few friends. Here are some great posts about how to get your information (and your child who is now sharing) off the internet.

Mamavation is giving away subscriptions…. HURRY!

JoAnn is not quite sure why anyone should worry.

Kim got chills when she saw the information that was being bought and sold around her identity.

Sarah makes a great point about changing passwords (and no “password” is NOT a password)

Romy reminds us that simply registering to vote releases our data.

Julie talks about dating and cybersecurity, something every man and woman should think of. 

Daphne has a great post about how much of her info is out there and mentions the money they lost to Maddoff

I Have Issues


Yesterday was a three restaurant day. I started my morning having Pho with Lolita, and then had a quick trip to Whole Foods. I paid for my groceries, and needed a pen to write a check (I know I’m a dinosaur) so I asked the checker for a pen, and he whipped one out from behind his ear. I held my hands up in the air like a burglary suspect who is finally being arrested. “I have issues,” I declared, “Can I use one of those pens?” And I sort of waved at the pile of pens next to the register. You know the ones, they don’t have hair and ear goo stuck to them.

I had some jeans to pick up in Beverly Hills, and my friend Jay was having The Sweets Truck come to his workplace, so I thought I’d swing by there, pick up some yummy desserts, and have a visit with Jay. I’m so pleased that I did. We met the nicest group of eight people who came from Mission Viejo in a giant limousine, they were celebrating a man named Lyn’s 50th birthday. I won’t tell you everything, but I did take video and as soon as I can get it uploaded I’ll share it in the sidebar.

Next was Alexander’s performance. The last two weeks he’s been at Day Jams, it’s a camp where the kids form a band, create their own song, their own posters, back stage passes, CD covers, and shirts. It’s a week long, and on the Friday they put on a concert. It is adorable times eighty bazillion.

After the concert Alexander had requested dinner at The Counter. We obliged and had hamburgers and wine, he had a hamburger with a strawberry milkshake.

While driving home I got a text from Kim Prince telling me that she was walking distance from my house with Jennifer and Lisa. I had Mr. G. drop me off for a drink with my friends, and we proceeded to get the worst service any restaurant could offer. Our server was VERY nice, she was apologetic about forgetting my wine, charged us for fewer drinks than we’d actually had, but she was busy sitting at the table next to us with three men. Yes. Really.

Somewhere after my ninety seventh glass of water (it’s been well over 100 degrees for the past three days) I noticed one of the other servers was wearing extremely low slung shorts. And by extremely low slung, I mean you can see ass crack when she’s NOT bending over. I’m pretty sure she felt sexy, but in a food setting I never want to see ass, that’s just me. I pointed it out to Lisa, who was like, “they’re not THAT low.” Because Lisa is a nicer person than I am. I promise you, there were absolutely no underwear involved.

About ten minutes later I was grabbing Lisa’s arm stage whispering, “fecal matter and food”, because the ass crack waitress had jammed her ticket book down the back of her pants right over her ass crack. At that point even Lisa agreed, “there is so much wrong with that I don’t know where to begin.” And yes, those food tickets that were smeared all over her butt, were torn off and handed to the cooks. Because what good is food without a little ass juice?

There isn’t a chance in hell that I’ll go back there. You know, apparently I have issues.

Did Anyone At Deca Get A Picture Of The Cupcakes?


Last night I went to a super fun party at Lucky Strike. Deca had their holiday party and can I just tell you that is a good looking group.

Anytime I’m with Rebecca I’m happy, Katie and Gina are great and I met some new folks too. Katie was telling me that she was there for the births of both of Kim Prince’s boys. I was screeching, I cannot imagine witnessing childbirth on purpose. If there had been a way for me to stay home, I would have.

Mostly though, there were cupcakes. Chef David Lawrence (who I was too shy to introduce myself to) made cupcakes that were mind blowing. Let me tell you a little bit about me and food. I don’t love overly sweet desserts. I don’t think that cupcakes are the cutest thing in the world, and I’d shoot myself before I’d wait in line for them at one of these ridiculous cupcake bake shops. Unless Chef Dave made them. They were that good.

Last night’s cupcakes were a chocolate cake that actually tasted like chocolate (not just sweet) they were dense but not heavy, springy but not soggy, and they sat on a layer of graham cracker crust (I’m assuming it’s graham crackers and butter crust like I make?). The cupcakes were then topped off with a marshmallow frosting that was shockingly good.

Party = great

Cupcakes = life changing event

Dave, would you please post a video so I can make these? If anyone has a picture of the cupcakes, can you share it with me?