FOR Army families, Facebook was a revolution. We move about so often that it used to be impossible to keep in touch with everyone and there was nowhere to find out what your new patch was like.
Nowadays, with a couple of clicks we can see how much our friends’ kids have grown or find out what’s happening locally.
There are lots of Facebook groups that bring together Regular and Reserve families and parents who share the same housing area, unit or interests, helping members feel more involved.
It’s a great idea to invite your local Community Development Worker to join – they will be able to tell families what’s on at the community centre.
If you’ve joined one of these, please remember to be respectful to other users. Don’t:
- Trade insults – Facebook is no place for a public slanging match;
- Post rumours – what you think might be happening in theatre may alarm other families who have their soldier deployed;
- Complain without reporting a problem – give the welfare team or MHS a chance to respond first;
- Pass your opinion off as fact – this is particularly unfair to new users as others may not share your view on a school for example;
- Post security alerts – these will be issued officially by the MOD and not via Facebook;
- Gossip – it’s divisive and there may be no truth in what you’re saying;
- Post images without permission – particularly of other people’s children.
Facebook can be dangerous too. As Army families, we must always be mindful not to make our information available to any Tom, Dick or Harry. Switch your location settings off to be on the safe side and never make your profile public.
The MOD provides guidance for Service personnel on the best way to use social networking sites safely. Click on www.gov.uk and search for “Using social media”.