Explaining Facebook to Kids

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My son is growing up really fast and like all kids his age, he is exposed a lot to the internet and it’s many parts that have almost taken over our life in it’s entirety. He is one smart boy who comes up with the best questions and they make me learn a lot. One of his latest questions is the reason for this post, he asked me “What is Facebook and why is everyone on it?”. You may think that this is an easy question, well, think again! Here is the rest of the chat for you. Maybe you can use it!

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So then, we sat down and started the chat. I asked him, “How do you chat with your friends at school?”. He told me, “When the teacher is around, we use signs and when she isn’t we use actual language.” I then asked him if there was a place where they all got together regularly and exchanged thoughts or ideas or had general chats. He told me that they do it during the breaks in their friends’ spot in the corridor or at the school grounds.I then asked him how the members of his group we added to the group. He told me that they had to be friends with at least three other guys in the group and should know their sign language and code words. They also had to be kids who did not get into trouble by doing funny or troublesome stuff.

My next question was about the topics that they discussed. He told me that they spoke about everything and as long as it was interesting, everyone was part of it. If it was boring, they moved to the next one. Sometimes they shared pictures of funny stuff that they had drawn or showed some funny moment on the grounds to each other and had hearty laughter all around! Then he stopped and said “Wait! I asked you a question and you are not answering it! What is with all these questions?”.

I told him that I was collecting his answers to make my answer, he looked at me and asked “Are you copying my answers?”! I assured him that I wasn’t doing that. Then I started giving him my answer. Here is how it went.

When you become 16 years old, there’s a guy called Mark Zuckerberg who gives you a place on the internet to meet and talk to your friends. This place is on the internet and is called Facebook. He started it as a place where all the kids in his college got together and ultimately, most of the civilized world got on it. We can chat about things there, share pictures, videos and other stuff. We can create groups of people to have secret discussions that others can’t see.We get to choose who our friends are, that way, strangers cannot know what we are talking about. There are no limits about how many words you can write or photos you can share there. All in all, it is like an extended version of your group spot on the internet.

He listened carefully, took all that in and slowly started another set of questions that made the conversation fantastic! Here they are

Q: Does Zuckerberg read and see everything I say?

A: He can but he doesn’t I guess!

Q: Can the other people on facebook who I do not know somehow get to see my stuff?

A: If you are not careful they can!

Q: If my photos are beautiful, can someone on FB steal them? Will I know if they do?

A: Yes they can, no you won’t know till it’s too late!

Q: If I say something witty, will someone else copy it?

A: It happens!

Q: In our group spot, we have no interruptions, is FB like that?

A: Nope, Zuck wants you to read and click on stuff randomly shown to you!

Q: Going back to the first question: Is Zuck going to copy and sell my stuff?

A: He can and he may! (I think he does)

Here is what he said after hearing all that. “Dad, I find this Facebook place to be slightly fishy, there seem to be rules for me and my friends but not for the guy who runs it. Also it sounds like a boring place, I know that there is Instagram for pictures and Twitter for thoughts, then why Facebook? I also see that your timeline has too many cats on it! I will pass on Facebook for now!”

Phew! I wish I was that smart!

Tell me what you think about Facebook!

Vinay

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Vinay

Avid blogger, crazy about gadgets and mobiles especially about Android powered devices! Tech is all you get out of me! You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter. To get in touch, simply drop a mail

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