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Entries in friends (1)

Wednesday
Sep212011

Are you friends with your kids on Facebook?

When the topic turns to Facebook when parents get together, there is often one question everyone asks, “Are you friends with your kids on Facebook?”

Facebook owns their logo, not me. I plopped it here for visual interest.When you are friends with your kids on Facebook, there are a series of operating norms you must abide by.  One is overarching and universal:

DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, COMMENT ON ANYTHING YOU SEE.

Some children use Facebook to manage their public persona.  While they may not yet be fully comfortable in their own skin, on Facebook they can party harder, drive faster, and imbibe more than they actually do. 

In some cases, they may actually be using humor…there’s even a website of phrases,  Texts from Last Night, which actually has some really funny phrases.

Whether in Facebook, or in person, if you are Facebook friends with your kids you can never make a comment.  Making a comment is the quickest way to be “unfriended.”

My kids will tolerate a “Like” on a picture, provided the picture is of something they are proud of….

By the way, the same can be said of some of my adult friends.  I asked my friend what had provoked the following post expecting to hear how a teenager had pushed some buttons:

MY PROMISE TO MY CHILDREN
I am your parent 1st - your friend 2nd! I will stalk you, flip out on you, lecture you, drive you insane, be your worst nightmare and hunt you down like a bloodhound when needed because I LOVE YOU! When you understand this, I will know you are a responsible adult. You will NEVER find someone who loves, cares and worries about you more than I do! If you don’t hate me once in your life, I am not doing my job properly.

She laughed and said it just struck her as something she would say, and nothing specifically prompted the note. 

You can’t expect your kids to read what you post.  Post something about them, and inevitably they’ll hear about it.  Post something innocuous, and they’ll never see it.  Don’t assume all your sage Facebook posts get read.

One unexpected thing about being Facebook friends is often their friends will want to friend you.  I’m always touched with this happens.  When my kids grew up, they often had friends over to the house.  You get to know their friends.  As everyone goes off to college, Facebook is a nice way to stay in touch.  Now, some are buying houses, contemplating their own families, and it is fun to watch their continued growth.

If you are not Facebook friends, or get “unfriended,” in my experience it’s a matter of time before your status changes.  I would rather be Facebook friends than not, because it is another connection point.  Not being “friended” isn’t the end of the world.  You can’t use Facebook to pry or strongly intervene in their life.

Some on Facebook will put out a post, “This day is the worst ever,” not wanting a fix…only wanting to share.  No need for an intervention!

Facebook is an interesting tool, and anthropologists will have strong debates as to the usefulness to our society.  There is no question the younger generations use it widely, and understanding how they use it will help keep you “Facebook Friends.”

What have you found to be the secrets of Facebook friends?