Watch out: Your kids could visit your Facebook page

By Hoang Xuan, The writer is a journalist who lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Illustration photo shows "likes" on WhatsApp's Facebook page displayed on a laptop screen in Paris February 20. Photo: Reuters

Many people often post and joke about lewd stories and comments on Facebook without thinking about its harmful consequences. I am afraid their own children might be reading what they write.
Children can imitate adults and do things their parents never expect.
When I was a child, my parents used to leave me alone at home, locked, while they went to work. The children in the neighborhood would be playing happily while I had to look from my jail.
But one time my mother got me from school but had forgotten bringing the key to the gate. After making sure no one was looking, she quickly pulled the gate off its hinges and put it back after we sneaked in.
From then on I did the same whenever I was left alone at home, and went out to play with other kids. Sometimes I would get other children into my house the same way and play at my home. My parents did not know what I did.
Thinking about my childhood ploy, I realize we were lucky because times were gentler then. With the rampant thieving and robberies these days, we might be robbed or even killed if I do it now.
Children can do risky things because they are not aware of the dangers.
My serious short-sightedness is a good example of this. When I was a kid, we had electric supply only from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m every day. I was fond of reading and could read the whole night. I used to read up to dusk until I was unable to read anymore.
You may ask why I did not use a kerosene lamp. But I was only around seven and my parents did not allow me to use it for fear of being burned.
When I was 14, we had power three nights a week, but the kerosene lamp was still the main source of light. I used to turn the lamp to the lowest level and read until late, turning it off quickly when my parents came to make sure I was sleeping.
There are many other silly things that children do. Like when I turned the clock ahead by half an hour early so that my parents would leave the house early, leaving me alone.
But this is not to say we should totally supervise our children.
You cannot be sure your children do not know what you are posting on Facebook even if they are with you all the time or you always keep an eye on them when they use the computer. How about your children’s friends? They might read your posts and tell your children about your “funny” Facebook page.
Psychologists say children begin to reveal their personalities and hobbies and pay more attention to their environment at 10.
They could lie to their parents, not because they are bad but because they do not want to rely too much on their parents. They share things with their friends and sometimes prioritize friendships over their relationships with their parents.
I know about a group of office workers who often giggle about the Facebook posts of their boss’s daughter. She is a teenager and often shows her angers toward her parents on Facebook – like when she was treated unfairly, her father often asking her mother for money, how lonely she is, etc.
Her friends reply to her comments also by insulting adults. Many stories that should remain within four walls are being aired for the world to see. The office workers are also aware when some of them or their boss’s partner give him a ‘gift’ because his daughter takes a photo and puts it down clearly on Facebook.
Newspapers often write about the relationship between some women and their mother-in-law changing for the worse after they visited the other’s Facebook page.
Some women were furious after becoming aware that their daughter-in-law created a page just to list their “crimes.”
Some women felt cheated when their mothers-in-law who are nice to them in person discuss their bad habits on Facebook.
Some men discuss women lewdly with their friends on Facebook, thinking that it is harmless fun. But when their girlfriend comes to know about the comments, they separate because she cannot love a man who makes such cheap comments.
People often comment carelessly on Facebook and elsewhere on the Internet, thinking that people around them would never come to know about it. For them, the Internet is a virtual world where no one cares about others.
But, actually, behind every online account is a real person. Even when people use wrong personal information to conceal their identity, they can be identified thanks to modern technologies, and they would suffer for their random, careless, and lewd comments.
Let any word that you speak or write anywhere and at any time be clean and good!

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