Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Truth About Facebook Friends

I recently reevaluated my participation on the social networking internet forum called Facebook. For those who may not know, Facebook allows a participant to set up a home page, including photos, personal information and then allow "friends" to view your page and all of your information. Facebook is most often used to post opinions, family happenings and other trivial items of interest. Your "friends' can comment on your page and you can comment on theirs. Friends of friends may view all of your entries depending on the security selections you choose. Many also use Facebook to promote issues, organizations or to comment on current events. Some pride themselves in how many "friends" they have on Facebook. The current number of Facebook friends is displayed on each person's homepage. I just culled out my friends list so that only relatives and close friends are included. Some that I "de-friended" took it personally. I explained to those who inquired, that my friendship with them is not based on Facebook encounters, but real life.

I have always taught my daughters to know the difference between friends and acquaintances. This lesson was promoted by their propensity to refer to acquaintances as friends and afford them the same confidences. Often they knew very little about the acquaintances. Especially lacking was knowledge of a person's character and motives ."I am going to visit my friend," they would say. "Well what do you know about them?", I would ask. The reply was telling, "Uhhh..." When I allowed my daughter to have a Facebook page, my supervision in such matters became even more important. With whom were they allowing access to their photos, personal information and day-to-day activities?

Just yesterday I saw a post where a young, blond female publicly posted her private cell phone number and a place where she was going at a certain time. I had never heard of her, but she was a "friend" of one of my "friends". That information went out to 100's of people.Would she, under any other circumstances, share her private cell number, and where she was going to be at a certain time, with 100's of strangers? But on Facebook everyone is a friend, right? That conduct is a tragedy waiting to happen. I am amazed at how often I am asked a personal question on my open FB wall. I never answer and always delete the question immediately.

Parents, do you know what your children are sharing with the world? I once had to inform an Orthodox priest of the FB activities of his daughter, including the provocative photos and videos that were being posted of her and her boyfriend, many taken in her bedroom. Under what other circumstances could I have seen her lying on a bed with a  teenage boy or embraced in a passionate kiss in front of 100's of people in public? But on FB it is somehow acceptable? Those photos and videos now exist forever in cyberspace and out of the person's control.  Even those "innocent poses" such as two girls in an embrace, posing with pursed lips, doing the glamor thing, is viewed by 100's of people as erotic and provocative. They are easily captured and saved for anyone's personal or public use. Many of these posers list themselves as "Christians" or "Orthodox". One thing is for certain, they are acting foolishly and have not counted the cost of their actions.

Be as wise as serpents but as harmless as doves. Do not post or say anything on Facebook that you would not want your closest friends or family to see, or at least make your privacy settings more secure, because FB friends are not all...friends.


  1. Great post, Nathan and I do understand your decision.

    In Christ,

  2. Debbie Espen2:34 AM

    Wise advice.


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