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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

Facebook for Parents

By Barry Myers

We write a lot about Facebook here at The Online Mom and rightfully so. If you have a child over the age of 13, it’s probably already a big part of their life. And, if you’re like millions of other parents out there, it might be becoming a big part of your life as well!

If you are a parent and want to better understand this incredibly popular social networking site, Stanford University – yes, that bastion of higher education based in Palo Alto, California – is offering to teach you how to use Facebook through a new introductory course called Facebook for Parents.

If you can’t make it to Palo Alto, they are offering three different online variations ranging from six weeks (six personalized videos and daily learning plans for $19) to three weeks (three personalized videos and daily learning plans for $14), to one “Super Fast Getting Started” video and learning guidelines for $9.

According to the website, the purpose of the class is to not just give parents the skills to keep their children safe, but to help them feel confident and up-to-date with social networking and how their kids use it. The class emphasizes “how to think” about Facebook more than “what to do” on Facebook. When you can think clearly about Facebook, so the theory goes, you are better prepared for whatever comes next for you and your child.

The class aims to show that the issues Facebook creates are not new issues for parents. People just need to apply their existing parenting skills in a new context. The goal is to help parents make the connection between what they already know and this new world of social networks.

Facebook for Parents is broken into the following four session:

  • Class 1 - The ABC’s of Facebook: New user to fanatic
  • Class 2 - Ten steps to protect loved ones on Facebook
  • Class 3 - Friending, posting & updating: Life skills for the future
  • Class 4 - Five ways to stay ahead of kids on Facebook

The class is taught by Dr. BJ Fogg, a psychologist and Director of the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University, and his sister Linda Phillips, a mom with kids from college age to 5th grade. It is not an official Stanford course, however, so don’t expect any college credits for completing it!

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