Many families use social networking sites such as Twitter & Facebook to stay in touch, but do these sites tear apart as many families as they bring together? Since the popularity of Facebook has literally exploded in the last few years, family members are finding a new way to fight with each other and air out their grievances. I know in my family alone, there are several family members who have argued on Facebook and are now no longer speaking at all.
The problem with sites like Facebook is that when you get mad at someone, you tend to write a nasty response before really thinking it through. When emotions are riding high it is easy to forget that the discussion you are having is visable to everyone on your friends list. If you don’t have privacy restrictions set up, then your comments can be available for the whole world to see.
I will admit that I personally have made errors of judgement, especially when I was new to Facebook. Although the things I said were true and heartfelt, they would have been better said in a private message rather than a public discussion. I have also had to learn to be really careful what I write about my foster children on social networking sites, since it is easy to cross that line and give away information that is restricted by privacy laws.
When you take in foster children and they become a big part of your life, you do want to share your experiences with friends and family, but if you aren’t careful, you could find yourself on the wrong side of the law. Again, this is something that I have learned through experience. Although I have never been in trouble for providing too much information about our foster kids, I have had social worker friends warn me to watch what I say and how I say it. Although at first I was a bit irritated with this advice, now I am so thankful to them for saving me from a potential disaster.
You also have to be careful when you have teenage foster children to follow your county’s rules about social networking sites. Some counties here in central Ohio don’t allow their wards to have any kind of social networking accounts, so make sure you know their policy. Some teenage foster children still go behind their foster parents’ backs and create accounts, but if you consciously let them create an account knowing that it is against your county’s rules, you could be the one to get in trouble.
Although maybe it’s a good idea to limit your child’s exposure to these sites anyhow. If adults find it hard to maintain good relationships on social networking sites, how much harder is it for teens to do so?