Randi Zuckerberg wants to get children to step away from social media.

Randi Zuckerberg wants to get children to step away from social media. It's a potentially fraught familial position for a sibling of the Facebook founder to take but Mark Zuckerberg need not worry too much about his big sister's intentions.

For while on one hand she's encouraging younger ones to spend less time on-screen in her children's book Dot., on the other hand she's advocating older folk embrace the medium for its possibilities in the contrasting adult title Dot Complicated.

"In the beginning of childhood, tech/life balance should definitively err on the side of life," the former Facebook executive says. The mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old son, she wants kids to put aside electronic devices and go outside to play.

Dot Complicated encourages older generations to be more active personally and professionally on social media sites, not confining their personal networking to Facebook and professional activity to platforms such as LinkedIn.

The 31-year-old Generation Y elder says she and her colleagues "straddle" a generational divide, with there being a big difference in the online behaviour of so-called digital natives and people who grew up without the internet.

"We grew up in a generation without mobile phones and internet, and suddenly they came into our lives, maybe around university time," says Zuckerberg, who lives with her husband Brent Tworetzky, a fellow tech industry professional, and their son Asher in Silicon Valley, California.

"I have a strong memory of what it was like before all of this, and now I also have a strong memory of being on the front line creating a lot of this, and I think some of the biggest differences you have, the younger generation growing up is very, very comfortable with logging every detail of their lives online."

Generation X and Baby Boomers behave differently in online spaces to digital natives.

"An older generation, quite frankly, is more scared of listing a lot of aspects of their lives online; they're thinking a lot more around the privacy aspects of things, they less want to document every aspect of their lives and they don't necessarily want to see every moment of their friends' lives," she says.

"But we have been given this great gift, with social media. Suddenly all of us have found ourselves with our voices so much more powerful - our voices carry so much further - but with that gift comes a huge amount of responsibility that many of us have not stepped up to the plate to own, and we need to be responsible and accountable for the things we say."

Dot Complicated includes a number of tips for achieving tech/life balance in a family. The most controversial of these is to proactively secure a child's digital identity before birth - first Googling a child's proposed name, then registering emails and domain names. Another suggestion is to set up a safe sites list and house the family computer in a shared space.

The adult title is not without its critics. The New York Times called Zuckerberg's suggestion to disconnect from technology startling, while CNN dubbed the book lacking in depth and authenticity.

Dot Complicated is a Facebook memoir as well as a bevy of advice on navigating the web for one's social, family and personal life. It's easy to read and contains sensible advice.

Zuckerberg left Facebook in 2011 to establish what is now called Zuckerberg Media. She made the snap choice to leave after organising a high-profile Barack Obama campaign event on Facebook that April, less than two weeks before giving birth early to Asher.

In the two years since she departed the social network, she has worked with The United Nations Foundation, Cirque du Soleil, Clinton Global Initiative and the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Yet Zuckerberg says she feels a sense of responsibility carrying the Zuckerberg name.

"I feel both responsibility because of the last name I have but also because of the work I did at Facebook - now when I go out in the world and I speak to other mums, I speak to people around the world, I realise that while so many people use these social media platforms and love them, it has also caused some complications in people's lives and I feel responsibility to address some of those."

She says she finds it is both a blessing and a challenge to be the sibling of one of the most famous entrepreneurs in the world.

"It's definitely very challenging to live in someone else's very big shadow," Zuckerberg says.

"I am so proud of my brother and what he has done but I definitely feel a great pressure to prove myself on my own and I think in that way it has been a blessing for me too, because it has given me a bit more hunger and passion to pursue my dreams."

The West Australian

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