I awoke yesterday morning to a text message from a friend. She had attached a screenshot of a Facebook profile bearing my daughter’s name and asked if it was my kid. I responded that I didn’t know, but I would find out.
I immediately called my daughter downstairs. I asked her point blank if she was on Facebook. She denied it (of course). So I did what any parent would do: I demanded that she bring me her iPad for an inspection RIGHT THIS MINUTE.
I locked myself into my bedroom and began with her Safari history. It was what you’d probably imagine an 8 year old girl’s browsing history would be: Google searches of lyrics to Taylor Swift songs, the states in alphabetical order, Minecraft EVERYTHING. Facebook, though, wasn’t listed. Interesting.
I moved on to her inbox. We recently set up iCloud accounts for both kids, which includes an iCloud email address. (Previously, my daughter used my iCloud login on her iPad, so when she discovered iMessage and started sending texts to everyone in my contact list full of poop emojis and requests for Starbucks, they thought those messages were from me. Not cool, kid. Not cool.) And there it was, in her inbox: an email confirmation from Facebook.
OMG. MY KID IS ON FACEBOOK. SHE IS EIGHT!
I went straight to Facebook.com. There it was, logged in. No profile picture or activity, but her name and date of birth. The year? 1991. Say what?!? My 8 year old was suddenly 26 years old.
Since she had already denied having a Facebook account, I did what any concerned parent would do. Delete it immediately? No way! I sent my kid a friend request. And then I texted my husband and had him send her one, too. Nothing says “you got caught” like friend requests from Mommy and Daddy.
After that, I set up strict parental controls and gave her the iPad back. I didn’t say a word about the Facebook page. Neither did she. She asked if she was in trouble. I told her we would talk about it when her daddy got home. She went back to ridiculously annoying YouTube videos, and I continued with the laundry.
As the day went on, she accepted my friend request. Then she accepted my husband’s. Then apparently she received a friend request from my dad and accepted that, too. We still did not talk about it.
Fast forward to dinner. We were sitting over a home cooked meal that my kids were actually eating without complaints (that’s a whole other blog for another day). My husband asked my daughter about her day. Then we both thanked her for accepting our friend requests. Her eyes got big. Her face turned red. BUSTED!
We started by addressing the lying. Did she lie when I asked her if she was on Facebook? Did she have to lie about her birthday to set up the account? We talked about how lying is bad, how we need to be able to trust her, yada yada yada. You know the drill. I don’t need to tell you about lying.
Then we discussed internet safety, why she’s too young for Facebook, how if she does something like this again the iPad will be gone for good, etc. She knows that we will be checking her iPad frequently and unannounced. My son and the neighbor kid got a good lecture on how to be safe online, too. It was a fun dinner.
Y’all, I knew this day was coming. I knew she would want to be on Facebook and other forms of social media. I just really didn’t expect it quite this young. If parenting is this fun at 8, what’s it going to be like when she’s a teenager? Pray for us please.
P.S. Her account has been deleted.