Are you on Facebook? If you're a member and over thirty years of age, it's probably your first time belonging to an online social community.
Joining a social network creates all kinds of questions for people, especially if they're married. The news stories of Facebook-related promiscuity, affairs and divorces have been widespread and create concern.
As a result, some married Facebookers blindly jump into the online community without any set boundaries. Others tip-toe into the shallow end of the social network but don't get very far. And others avoid Facebook altogether. But just like most things in life, you learned everything you need to safeguard yourself, your spouse and your marriage on Facebook…in kindergarten.
1. Share – Exchange login information with your spouse. It's an important first step toward making Facebook a safe place…for both of you!
2. Practice Stranger Danger. The obvious parallel to this advice would seem to be avoid friending people you don't know. But the truth is the bigger threat to kids is the people they do know. On Facebook, requests from strangers should be declined. But so should friend requests from not-so strangers like former boyfriends and girlfriends, crushes and love interests.
3. Listen to that Voice Inside. If something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't. If you're uncomfortable with a particular Facebook friend or feature (e.g. chatting) listen to your gut and act accordingly.
4. Wash Your Hands. A simple but surefire way to reduce spreading germs and avoiding sickness is to wash one's hands. If you get a friend request from an old flame or have a Facebook friend who crosses the line, reduce the chances of these "invisible" threats by washing the soul and telling your spouse about it.
5. Think No, Go, Yell, Tell. Kids can be put in a situation they are uncomfortable with but don't know what to do. This four-step reminder is appropriate for any Facebook-related scenario where you don't know what to do. Think (and act) no. Log off. (No real reason to yell here.) And then talk with your spouse about how to handle it.
6. Don’t Play with Fire. There is something intriguing and alluring about fire. But disrespecting its destructive nature can result in irreparable damage and even death. Friending an old flame or sending a friend request to a past crush may seem harmless, but similar to the combustible chemical at the end of the matchstick, a combination of factors can cause seemingly snuffed out embers to flare up, burning you, engulfing your marriage and torching your future.
7. Stop, Drop and Roll. This reminder comes in handy when a person finds themselves on fire. As a married Facebooker, if you don't follow the "Don't Play with Fire" warning and increasingly feel emotionally connected to someone, heed the advice as if you're on fire…stop the activity, drop them by unfriending them, and roll your emotional energies into your marriage.
8. In an Emergency, Call for Help. Kids are taught to dial 9-1-1 because they may need help someday. If your Facebook experience has resulted in a marriage-threatening emergency…call for help now. Talk to a pastor, a counselor, a good friend (or all three) and get the help you and your spouse need and deserve.
See? Your kindergarten teacher knew more about life (online and offline) than she probably ever realized. And your marriage is the better for it.
Copyright © 2010 K. Jason and Kelli Krafsky - Permission granted to use and reproduce with proper source citation.