What is FMyLife?
FMyLife is a site where Web users can submit humorous stories about bad things that happen to them. Submissions to the site must begin with "Today" and end with "FML" Before a short story is listed, it is judged by reviewers to prevent the posting of made-up, unfunny, or inappropriate stories.1 As you might have suspected, the F in the title does in fact stand for the F-word.
Example entry: Today, I went to the dentist. I got a new dentist who started out a conversation about school. She asked where I went to school and if I liked my principal. After I told her I thought he was full of himself, she said she was married to him. FML
FML has mobile web, Google Chrome widget, iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry applications that allow users to access the site from their cellular phones. The site lists explanations of these applications as well as download links.
FML began as an IRC channel and then became a microblog in January 2008. The concept of the site is credited to Maxine Valette 2. FML is an English version of a popular French website created by Maxine.
Concerns for Parents
- The site's title is obvious cause for alarm, but strangely, the site is not as objectionable as its title might suggest. Yes, there is inappropriate and crude content, but the actual f-word is nowhere to be found on the site.
- The site is divided into several sections. To FMyLife's credit, they have separated the stories with sexual content into the politely titled Intimacy category with the warning "The edgiest FMLs are in the "Intimacy" category only (but be warned: it's a jungle out there)." However, the stories in this category contain extremely explicit sexual material that no kids should be seeing (adults may want to avoid it as well--it's oversharing at its worst).
- Obviously, everything on the site is negative (though they're usually humorous as well). Laughing at others' misfortunes isn't necessarily something you want to encourage your kids to do on a regular basis.
How Can I Keep My Child Safe?
- Review the site and decide if it's appropriate for your kids. If not, block it from your computer.
- If you do choose to allow FMyLife in your home, be aware that the Intimacy section can't be separately blocked—you get all or nothing. If you can trust your child to stay on the main section of the site and are willing to use monitoring software to see where your kid is spending time online, you're ok. If this sounds unsafe or like too much work, blocking FMyLife is your best option.
- Because of the availability and simplicity to download, make sure to keep track of whether or not your child has downloaded the mobile app for FMyLife onto their mobile device.