OMG, Mom! Parents on Facebook

Digital Family

If you’re reading this on a computer, there’s a good chance that you are one of the 500,000,000 or  1 in every 13.4 people on earth who uses Facebook.

A study we did earlier this year found that 73% of Facebook users have not friended their boss, which makes sense when there is more and more evidence that one bad status update can cost you your job.

So it it isn’t that surprising that even kids are selective about whom they associate with on the world’s most popular social network.

New research shows that the younger a child is, the more likely he or she is to hate the idea of being friends with his or her parents on Facebook. However, by the time they get to high school, being friends with mom or dad isn’t so lame. 56% of high school students, in one study, gave their parents full access to their profiles.

Personally, I think parents should become Facebook friends with their kids for two reasons:  1) your presence might give pause to the predators who could be following your kids, and 2) your presence might make your child think twice before posting something he or she shouldn’t.

Sean Sullivan, F-Secure Security Advisor and resident social media security expert, points out that bullying by peers on Facebook is a more common problem than stalking by sexual predators. Further, there aren’t too many teenagers alive who can’t figure out some way of avoiding parents on Facebook or any of the many other social networks teens flock to.

But Sean does see a value in parents joining Facebook. But instead of chasing your kid around the site, ask him or her to show you how to use it, specifically the privacy controls. “Based on that discussion, parents can make judgments about their children’s online behavior,” Sean says.

That’s a savvy idea.

Now, I want to get a little personal—if you don’t mind.  I’m wondering how many of you parents are Facebook friends with your kids. Also, how many of you are friends with your parents? Sorry, but the first poll is only for those of you who have kids.

Thanks for your time,

CC image credit:  Victor Bezrukov


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