Facebook Guide for Parents that just was released is exactly what the title implies. This is a straight-talking advice guide for parents which speaks to moms, dads, and legal guardians whether they are tech savvy themselves or not.
In simple and short chapters of the book, in language that parents will understand, adult readers will learn what Facebook is, how it works, and how to monitor your child's activity on this network. If I had been responsible for giving this book its title, though, I think I would have called it the "Must-Have Facebook Guide for Parents" because everyone who has kids living at home -- from pre-school age through high school -- should be required to read this.
In case you're wondering, the reason why I feel so strongly about this new book it's because I am a concerned and very involved parent of four kids: triplets who are almost 13, and big brother 14. I am also Internet safety for children advocate and a Certified Online Mom in The Online Mom Network Facebook and other social networks such as MySpace and Twitter are very much a part of your kids' and my kids' lives today.
The Internet used properly is a blessing for many of us. But, it is also potentially problematic, especially when talking about the very young, if parents don't stay current with the technological advances of today. Plain and simple: These Internet forces are not going to go away anytime soon. So, as care givers of children 18 years and younger, we need to empower ourselves by taking advantage of the resources such as this new book to better understand all the ins and outs of social networking to protect our youth. BTW (by the way), I also witnessed the common practice among any kids of having multiple Facebook accounts -- 1 that the parent knows about and 1 or more others that the child is holding secretly without mom or dad's knowledge.
Along with reading Facebook Guide for Parents from cover to cover several times, but prior to writing this review, I took a quick look at my own children's newly-set up Facebook pages as well as some of their friends. What I saw there really caught me off guard, especially when I noticed how many of my kids' friends have disregarded Facebook's minimum of age 13 to sign-up. In fact, I'd guess that many of these youngsters, some who signed up at age 7 or 8, have been on Facebook for years and their parents may not even know that they have existing accounts.
Even among those moms and dads who are aware of their child's Facebook page, I seriously doubt many of them have actually visited their own kid's page to take a look at who they have friended and what kinds of things they (and their friends) are posting on each other's walls. And, that's not even to mention parents -- of which I'd bet there are few -- who are vigilant about checking their kid's Facebook page not just once, but regularly, and then actually talking to their child if the adult notices something that just doesn't look right.
After thumbing through this down loadable, well-written e-book which includes views of exactly what you will see on your computer screen when clicking on various Facebook pages and functions (as well as watching the 12 companion videos that came with the book), I came to the conclusion that even I, one who considers herself somewhat tech-savvy, didn't know half what I should know about Facebook as a mom. This was truly a wake-up call for me as a parent.
This title is logically organized, starting in Chapter 1 which covers the basics. Here you'll be tutored on things such as setting up your own Facebook account (as well as how to work with your child on his or her own), creating a profile, uploading photos, and finding friends. Jumping forward to Chapter 8, you'll learn how to identify and report abuse, such as cyber bullying. And, in Chapter 12, you will learn about -- OMG (that's the acronym for oh my G-d, just in case you didn't know) -- "Unfriending," something that has been and continues to be at hotly debated topic particularly among teenagers. Finally, at the end of the book there is even a sample safe-use parent-child agreement contract form you can fill out with your son or daughter.
Though overall I'd say this book is quite good and useful, there are just a few things I think it may be lacking. For example, a detailed index in the back with all the key words and page numbers where parents can look things up quickly might make it easier to manage their kid's Facebook participation. Second, I think that it would be particularly useful for parents to have access to a resource section in a book like this with website links where parents/guardians can go to connect with organizations that might help to deal with things such as stalking and cyber-bullying or to find groups of caregivers that parents can meet and network with to get support for the problems they're dealing with. Lastly, having a glossary of terms and definitions for buzz words such as "wall," "friend," "unfriend," and "tagging" -- not to mention a list of at least the top 100 acronyms that kids currently use (BFF, BF, etc.) and what they stand for -- listed alphabetically, would no doubt, be another aid parents really would appreciate when navigating the murky waters of Facebook.
Facebook Guide for Parents is an essential parenting reference guide for the fast-paced cyber world we live in, a book that no household with any kids ages 3 - 18 who should be without. If my own experience with this publication so far is any indication -- one that you will constantly be referring back to again and again.
This title is available both as an Internet book download and as a soft cover spiral bound book which features more than 100 pages of step-by-step "how tos" for parents. Two of the three buying options available also come complete with 12 short videos to complement the reading materials.
Facebook Guide for Parents available exclusively from the publisher in three different format options
- Digital downloadable eBook and online access to tutorial videos. This purchase option includes online updates through 12/31/2010. $24.99
- One spiral bound guidebook PLUS one companion DVD delivered to your door This purchase version does NOT include online access, or any future updates. $34.99 plus S+H & applicable sales taxes
- One spiral bound guidebook PLUS one companion DVD delivered to your door PLUS online access to digital downloadable eBook and tutorial videos. This purchase option includes online updates through 12/31/2010. $44.99 plus S+H & applicable sales taxes