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On being Facebook friends with your own kid

Categories: Bad Parenting


This is my reality. Two of my four kids are computer literate. They have both joined Facebook. And they have both friended me.

I decided long ago to treat Facebook and other social media outlets like slightly more-fun versions of a resume, meaning, no, uh, language more “colorful” than occasional outdated surferism exclamations of “Dude!” and “Awesome!” and no TMI overly-revealing stories abut drinking binges or losing my panties in an elevator or photos of my piercings and tats (seriously, are you falling for any of this?).

But I was not prepared for the kid thing.

Oh, there are perks. Reading about what’s up with my daughter, for instance, and seeing into her life a little from a perspective I wouldn’t have otherwise.  That part’s cool.

And seeing there on the right-hand sidebar that my son is now a fan of “I love my MOM.” That one brought tears to my eyes. I mean, he’s THIRTEEN.  Also the thing of being hit in the face by his virtual water pistol, THAT was a blast (and yeah, I totally got him back).

But … dude.

Didn’t they know that The Interwebs belong to ME? That I am the blogger, the writer, the purveyor of all things Social Media? Me! ME!  How dare they enter my personal domain!

It’s sort of like when I found out my mom had been reading my blog, and I remembered that I had said a certain word many many many times on that blog, a word my mom had never actually heard me utter. The word was there on my blog because of the *cough* anonymity of the internet. And then after my mom started referring to things she could only have known about by reading my blog, I realized that not only was I totally busted but also that I wasn’t maybe so anonymous after all.  The kids-on-Facebook thing is sort of like that.

Obviously, if your kids are like 3 and 5 they’re probably not on Facebook yet (please don’t let them be, please? Because imo if you can’t actually type you should not have a social media account named for you, and I SO am speaking to you, Ashton Kutcher!), so for you it’s not an issue.  Yet.  But devising a plan NOW is probably your best bet, because, dude.  It’s GOING to happen.  Facebook, Twitter, whatever.  My reality is your future.

So what’s it going to be?  What’s your reaction when your own kid wants to friend you on Facebook?  Changing your name and moving to Tahiti?  Friending them back and friending all THEIR friends so you can totally keep tabs on everything they do or say (no, I have NOT done this … yet)?  Or are you the cool mom?  Is your privacy invaded a little?  Do you change your posting habits so you don’t have to explain phrases like “beer o’clock” to your 11-year-old?

Me, well, I already played it pretty safe, so there wasn’t much to change.  My social media persona is tied to my work persona anyway. In other words, I’m boooring. (But go ahead and friend me. You know you wanna.)

But it’s still weird.  And I’m sort of toying with the Tahiti thing.

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5 comments so far...

  • I also find it very hard to play different hats with Facebook. My son who is 15 joined Facebook this year. At first, I wasn’t sure I wanted to friend him, but how could I not.

    I quickly learned that I could find out so much more about what happens at his school by checking out his profile. Pictures from the last dance? I NEVER would have seen those had I not found them on Facebook.

    The other ‘hats’ that I have trouble wearing on Facebook are trying to keep my Facebook friends who happen to be my friends separate from work ‘friends’. I was originally planning on using Facebook just for personal, but so many people for my business wanted to friend me. I started having a problem keeping things separate.

    I don’t want to get too sales-y to my non-work friends, but how do you keep a going relationship with business prospects when you only talk about your kids and your vacations?

    Something I just haven’t quite figured out yet.

    Kim Reddington  |  April 29th, 2009 at 11:39 am

  • I’m friends with my 15, 13, and 10 year old on Facebook — I’ve let that become my social outlet, and reserve LinkedIn for professional networking. I wrote something about it a while ago, but basically, for me, Facebook is to LinkedIn as writing your name on a scrap of paper is to handing someone your business card…

    Lylah  |  April 29th, 2009 at 8:24 pm

  • Yes with 2 of my children…both 25 yrs. and older. Never thought about kids as young as 10 yrs. on facebook…

    Eileen  |  April 30th, 2009 at 11:39 pm

  • Interesting…I have been having a sort of similar issue with Facebook. I LOVE it for keeping in touch with my friends. But I have resisted being “friends” with people who work FOR me. I am “friends” with my peers at work…that seems ok. Is it?
    Also, I am friends with my 18 year old niece who needs a “parent” but doesn’t want her own parents in that role…I can keep a “parental” eye on her through Facebook. Not sure if that’s ok?
    My kids are 7 and 10, so I’m not at the Facebook thing with them…but I anticipate that the Web will present all sorts of social conundrums that past generations didn’t have to deal with.

    Karla E  |  May 2nd, 2009 at 11:24 pm

  • I would friend my daughter only if she sent the request. She’s 9 months old now, so by the time she comes of age to start using a social network, I suspect Facebook will no longer be the website du jour. However, my mother added me on Facebook and I begrudgingly accepted. I’ve always tried keep my online image somewhat civil and mature. Recently, that’s become more difficult when my mother started commenting on various aspects of my profile, particularly pictures of my daughter. Her online grammar is equivalent of a 13-year-old. What do my more formal acquaintances and prospective employers think when my mother posts things like, “Heyyy gurl, what r u up 2?” and “awwwwww she is soo pretty in this one :) ima come n steal her”. I shouldn’t have to say this at my age (I’m 20), but wow, I am so embarrassed of my mother.

    Aarika  |  May 5th, 2009 at 7:07 pm