OK – I admit it, I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. I can’t imagine that I am the only one out there who feels this way. As I have gathered many friends from the seven states I have lived in, I am beyond thrilled to have a ‘one stop shop’ to catch up with all of my friends. I have been able to reconnect and hear about the latest updates, whether a birth, marriage, death, or perhaps just a recent family outing. Facebook also provides the opportunity for open dialogue to take place about current events or social issues. It is interesting for me to learn more about my friend’s views, and I have the opportunity to share my thoughts and beliefs.
Unfortunately, though, all is not well in Facebook land. This past week I was unpleasantly surprised to view an indecent picture that a childhood friend had posted for all to see. As most of us are aware, pornography on Facebook has become a serious issue, and it can appear unexpectedly by a Facebook friend. I honestly did not believe that one of my friends would post something like that – but I was wrong.
The story does not end with pornography. Did you know that is has been reported:
Facebook is cited in 1 out of every 5 divorces in the United States, according to the Loyola University Health System. Furthermore, 81 percent of the country’s top divorce attorneys say they have seen an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence during the past five years, according to a recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). Last but not least, Facebook is the unrivaled leader for online divorce evidence with 66 percent citing it as the primary source, the AAML said.
So, do we do ‘an all or nothing’ approach and be forced to give up all that is good on Facebook?
I say no! – but we have to be smart about it. Here are four recommended ideas to keep a family-friendly Facebook page:
- The first step should be the advice given by some religious leaders and counselors, and that is to use your computers in open spaces. If computers are used with other people around, you will be less likely to say or do inappropriate things.
- Let someone else that you trust, such as a spouse, parent, or friend know your sign on and password. In my case, my husband can access my account. Unfortunately, we are all human and can be tempted to make wrong choices once in a while. My marriage and belief in family values is important to me; so I want to put safeguards in place.
- ‘Unfriend’ any of your friends that post inappropriate items that are not conducive to a family-friendly Facebook page.
- Only allow your children on Facebook if you are one of their friends and can see their Facebook page.
In the case of my childhood friend posting an indecent picture, I sent him a message that said that I needed to ‘unfriend’ him because my goal is to have a family-friendly Facebook page that anyone in my family could view, and explained to him that the picture he posted was offensive to me. I wished him the best with his future and then ‘unfriended’ him. Even though our friendship goes back for decades, I expected that he would be upset, not respond, and we would go our separate ways.
Two days later though I received a message back apologizing for posting the indecent picture and said that he had thought long and hard about his actions and realized that he had been caught up in what society thought was cool and acceptable. He thanked me for sharing my feelings and went on his Facebook page and apologized to all of his contacts for the offensive material and promised to keep a family-friendly page. He also mentioned that my comments made him think more about the example he wants to set for his own children and evaluated the man he really wants to be.
Now, I imagine that all stories wouldn’t turn out quite like this as some friends would get upset and never correspond again. To me, though, it is worth the chance. I am pleased with the outcome and that he respected me enough to value my opinion. I think much of the society gets caught up in the acceptance of pornography that they forget that it is not only unacceptable- but it tears families apart and degrades women. If we don’t speak up against it – then who will?
Click here to see some sobering pornography statistics.