Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Is Integrity Dead?

I know I'm going to offend all over the place by blogging about this, but it's really bugging me, so I just have to say it....

My twelve-year-old has been DYING to have a facebook account.  At first, I was more than hesitant just because of the whole social nature of it, but as she has grown a bit more in maturity, I have considered it.  Most of her cousins, aunts, uncles and even grandparents have accounts now, so I even thought it would be good for her.

So, I tried to sign her up.  On the registration page at the time, it said how facebook is for "everybody" and "anyone" can have an account with them.  We put in all of her information and were denied.  This cracked me up!  Facebook is for "everybody"...but you DJ!

It seems that she's not of the required age yet.  I, to be honest, am happy to not have to be the bad guy in this one.

From what I've heard, a person must be thirteen to have an account.  That will happen in September for her.  In the meantime, the question has come up as I knew it would, "Then why do all of my friends who are younger than me have facebook accounts?"

This sparked a great conversation in regard to integrity.  How do I tell my daughter that all of her friends and cousins are liars?  Okay, so this might be going to an extreme, but honestly, isn't that what it is?  Dishonesty?  In order to get past the registration page, one would have to lie about his/her age in order to get an account.  Most of those that I've questioned about this have admitted it.

I get the feeling that the rest of the world really doesn't give much of a rip about honesty any  more.  I mean, the leaders of countries and churches lie frequently, so why should Mr. or Ms. U.S. Citizen care either? 

What are parents teaching their children when they allow them to lie in order to have something as minor as a facebook page?  Is this just setting them up for future problems?  "But Maaahhhm, you let me do that before, why can't I do it now?"  When it's something big? 

I'm convinced that the reason the Hess family had to defend ourselves so strongly with the State of Oregon Department of Taxation in regard to the number of children we have is because someone along the line decided that integrity didn't matter.  This now affects us who are trying to be good people.

So, there you have it, me, on my soapbox.  I know there are so many ways one can be dishonest.  It's become a really gray area.  A friend and I were talking about downloading music for free, etc.  When everyone else does it, it becomes accepted and a way of life.  I really want to teach my children to walk uprightly.  To be above reproach.  Is it possible in this world we live in?

I tell you, I'm sure going to do my darnedest.  I hope that my children will be people that will always be able to be trusted, and I know that needs to start here and now--at home.


Janiece said...

Scoot over...
I am behind you all the way.
Integrity is now said to be "OLD FASHION"
I love that everyday at my son's Taekwondo Studio...that is one of the "tenets"
I so not know what will change that...mostly parents like you setting an example and not backing down...and NEVER saying "Oh they are just being kids"
See...I am totally on the box with you!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with everything you said! Keep up the good work on setting a great example for your children--it shows them that nothing (including a facebook account) is worth lying about.

Unknown said...


I am so glad I stumbled across your blog:) You have a new follower:)
I also wanted to invite you to stop by and check out my site for moms.
It is a small community of moms. Even though it is small it is still a great place:)

Tonya said...

I agree with you Julie. Rylie begged for an account and I finally gave in only to get that same message that she was denied. It was weird though because it didn't say why. Long story short, I let her lie about her age and I regret it. I personally think FB is fun but also a huge waste of time. And the kids Rylie and D.J's age are obsessed with it. And seem to spend hours and hours wasting their time on it. We have strict rules about it and Rylie isn't on it that often, but that's not the point. Looking back I should have just said no. I guess I feel like most of her wants lately have required no answers. All she asks for are things like a cell phone. NO. A lap top. NO. An i-pod touch. NO. And I'm sure there are more. Anyways, she begged and begged for a FB account and over and over again I said NO, then realized that I could set it all very private, so I caved, then realized the age issue. But when I should have pulled the plug at the age issue I went ahead and let her tweak her age. Yeah, probably not the smartest thing I could have done. You're on the right track, Julie. And it is up to us to teach our kiddos concepts like this at home when they are young. I made a mistake and now I will learn from it:0)

vaxhacker said...

I always find it awkward when faced with the "the other kids' parents let them do _______." line, especially when they're friends or family. But, our family has our standards and they have theirs, and I think it's best to stick to what's right.

Integrity, though, does sadly seem to be at odds with the way the world is going. People have always struggled between honesty and their own interests, or protecting themselves from embarrassment, or various things, from time to time, but there seemed to always be an assumption that you're *supposed* to be truthful and try your best to make the right choices. It just seems more and more like that sort of thing is "quaint", like a Norman Rockwell painting. Relegated to a past age of history.


Alesha said...

Good for you, you are a wonderful mom and I am always learning from you. Oh, yah and we got that whole thing for showing proof that we have the kids we have as well. I just don't get it all!

Janiece said...

I had to come back and see what kind of response you got... wow...
only 6!
You will be grateful someday for teaching your daughter such an important lesson.

Rachel Keppner said...

I am on the same page on this issue! I had to tell my son "No," as well, while explaining to him that some of his friends and cousins simply lied to get their accounts.

It's sad! But it's NOT okay to be people who behave dishonestly when we know better. How can we teach our children to be men and women of strong character when we show them by our examples that we aren't people of integrity ourselves?

Thank you for speaking up about this.

Unknown said...

Good for you! I have on daughter with an account (she's almost 14) and another waiting. I've simply told her she must wait till she's 13. I have a sister overseas in New Zealand and it would have been a neat way for her to connect, but I just couldn't lie. Couldn't. What would that be teaching her?

I'm glad I found your blog through the Mega Family Blog list. As a mom of seven it's always encouraging for me to link with other "large" families. Although, lol, mine doesn't seem that big!

Blessings to you!

Unknown said...

Julie, I don't think you are offending anyone, but I know I'm going to now. In defense of some parents who purposefully allow their children to use a different birthdate on Facebook:

The issue with the age is one of U.S. federal law. No one under the age of 13 is allowed to have an account anywhere online without parental permission.

I'm a volunteer administrator at wikihow.com and we solve this issue by blocking user accounts of anyone we can show is under the age of 13. The block expires as soon as they turn 13. The kids simply don't realize that the site is forbidden by law from allowing them to have an account, so we explain it to them and have a process whereby their parents can give their written permission - and then we remove the block. We have had some amazing young men and women writing and editing at the site years before they turned 13.

Disney websites (and similar kid-specific websites) have complicated systems where parents are sent an email and have to respond to give permission. I have no doubt Facebook could afford the programming hassle, but instead they have chosen to simply block accounts of anyone under age 13.

Thus, my choice: All three of my kids have my permission to use Facebook. My youngest is 12 and has had an account for about a year. Since Facebook does not offer any other way for me to give permission, he has my permission to use an older sibling's birthdate until he is 13.

I realize I'm disagreeing with everyone else here, but to me it's not simply an integrity issue. It's a software programming issue in which they are not allowing me the option that should be available under U.S. law to approve of my children using the site.

On the other hand, I have friends whose children went behind their backs and created Facebook accounts without parental permission. THAT is unquestionably an integrity issue.

I didn't say, "Oh, go on ahead and lie. No problem. Honesty is quaint and old-fashioned, and besides, everyone else is doing it!" No. He asked for permission. I explained it to him and gave my permission for him to use the site. If this makes me a person with no integrity, who is teaching my children to be men and women with no character, so be it.

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