12/19/2011 05:51 pm ET Updated Feb 18, 2012

Obama's Daughters Banned From Facebook, Let's Not Generalize, Please!

The daughters of Barack Obama, the president of the United States of America, have been banned from Facebook. A decision one can understand and share. They are the daughters of the president and exposing their activities, friendships and habits is totally unsafe for someone in that role.

Also before Facebook was created, the people hired by royal families or actors and celebrities were in most cases obliged to sign an agreement, according to which, nothing of what they saw and heard had to leak out. Privacy.

Now, following Obama's veto, thousands of parents will get all excited, the same parents who until now did not dream of knowing who their children communicated with or befriended. But now if Obama does, it means it's the right and instructive thing to do. The veto will be imposed to everyone by default. Why? Because Obama said so. But he is a president, or better, the president of the world's most important nation. His own and his family's safety is put at risk every day.

Many teenagers face the risk of making bad encounters on the net. Especially minors, since cyberstalkers are countless. Yet this is not a matter of privacy, it's a matter of danger. There are 800 millions Facebook users in the world, of which 158 millions only in America, and they are not just teenagers but people of all ages and even people belonging to the same family. Fathers, mothers, and children. And everybody knows everything about everyone. One just needs to go to the right page and can easily "spy" on the parents or children's moves.

And now that Mark Zuckerberg has come up with the Timeline/Diary not only can we post all the latest news since we signed up, but also our entire life -- putting at risk untold truths or episodes. In my opinion it's like collective suicide, yet it's considered amazing by many. Why on earth should someone feel the need to expose all the good and bad events of one's life and spread them around the globe? For what reason? That's because nobody listens to them when they talk. This way, at last, they can make up an exciting and extravagant life or come across as a good girl from a well-off family after they have committed all possible illicit things, or as a great adventurer when the most exciting thing that happened to them was when they were fined for exceeding the speed limit?

All we have written since we first signed up is easily traceable, but also going back in time means unveiling one's personal secrets. And who is actually going to tell the truth about their life, apart from kids aged 8 to 12? In my opinion it will be diary of fabrication, of mythomaniacs and liars. But maybe it will be fun to read about people we know well, events that happened to others or simply made up.

It's an unstoppable process, just like forbidding Facebook to the children as a punishment for bad behavior or getting a bad mark at school. It's impossible. Once they would forbid you to go out with your friends and make you stay home. Simple, and with immediate effect. Now parents will lock up their children's computers but kids can still access their mobile phones, and if the parents take them away, they can still use a friend's phone and remain connected with everyone. A little control on the part of the parents will be enough, and let's not forget that many young people use Facebook also to do their homework or to keep updated when they are absent from school or need help with some subjects.

Forbidding the use of Facebook today means isolating the children and making them feel like outsiders. The right balance is fundamental, just like creating less virtual alternatives for the kids, like sports, music or other passions. Obama is right. His daughters are very young and his role is too important for him to end up in a community of unknowns through his daughters' online comments. But he is the president. Other parents would need a little more "face-to-face" interaction with their children. And virtuality shall still make its part. The good one.

From Franca Sozzani's blog on