Parents – Don’t “Friend” Your Kids on Facebook

If your kids have Facebook pages, and you know about them, then you’ve probably either explicitly agreed to let them use the social network, or don’t care and are not worried about what is happening on there.

According to Facebook’s own data, as reported by Fox news, 1 in 3 mothers are friends with their teens on the site.

Facebook-like-thumb-upSince Facebook’s stated age limit is 13 years of age, we’re talking about teenagers. If you haven’t yet friended your teen on Facebook, you might want to consider not doing it. If you tried to friend your teen, and the request was not accepted, don’t worry too much about it. We’ve written before about whether parents should let teens use social media. If you follow your teen on Facebook with the intention of monitoring every post, like and comment, you’re probably on the wrong track for a few reasons:

Self-discovery – Like it or not, your kids need to grow up, and they are likely to do some of that growing up somewhere you are not.

They’ll go somewhere else – Facebook is one of dozens of social networks. If your teen knows you are watching on Facebook, he’ll go to Instagram or Twitter or some network you’ve never heard of to do the things he doesn’t want you to see. After all, most teen internet activity is harmless.

The right level of snooping – Checking in on your kid on Facebook is still snooping. You might think that as a parent, you have a right to snoop. I don’t disagree, but if you have taught your teen right from wrong, you’ve got to grant a little freedom and keep the checking up to a minimum. I assume you’re not checking every text message.

Teaching your kids right from wrong is more important than ever. Following their every more has never been more difficult; so don’t force your kids into evasive behavior that may only end up giving you false peace of mind. Teens have wised up to the fact that at least one of their parents is on Facebook. In our experience, most of the really bad teen behavior that we see online is not happening on Facebook, but on other networks, websites or apps.

Talk to your kids about using social media appropriately and by all means ask them what kinds of information they’re sharing and viewing. You can even Google them yourself to see what their online activity looks like and whether their privacy settings are correct, but don’t try to track their every move. You can’t. The bright side is that when they’re ready, they’ll send you a friend request.

 

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.

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