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Should you be a Facebook friend with your teenager?

(35 Posts)
TriggersBroom Mon 10-Oct-11 15:00:44

DD is coming up to 13 and is getting geared up to have Facebook.

I know there is a whole debate on what age you should start on Facebook. But she's a sensible kid, and we've discussed appropriate usage.

Friends who already have kids on Facebook are facebook "friends" with their DC. Whilst it would be nice to see who she is befriending and chatting to, isn't that cramping their style/invading their privacy a bit.

Thoughts please?

bigTillyMint Mon 10-Oct-11 15:06:07

I will be DC's FB friend if and when DH agrees to let them have an account (DD is 12+ and starting to pester!)

I am my god-daughters friend, but I only see what she posts on her wall, obviously - not the insant messaging, so it's not really invading any privacy.

Sevenfold Mon 10-Oct-11 15:06:26

well I am, ds is 19 and we are fb friends(handy when i need gifts for sims lol)

TriggersBroom Mon 10-Oct-11 15:12:19

Good point about the instant messaging.

My view is that she shouldn't be putting anything on line that she wouldn't want me to see anyway.
Thanks for the responses.

AMumInScotland Mon 10-Oct-11 15:13:21

I think, as a parent, part of your job is to "cramp their style" which translates as "maintain some control over what they do until they are old enough to make their own choices". Certainly when they are 13, less when they are 16 if you don't have any specific worries about their decisions. And by 18 I'd hope you were only down as a friend because you get along ok, rather than to stop them being daft.

minsmum Mon 10-Oct-11 15:17:09

If you are going to be your childs friend you must not post anything on their wall, or their friends walls. My daughter defriended me for wishing her mate happy birthday.

Rivenwithoutabingle Mon 10-Oct-11 15:19:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AMumInScotland Mon 10-Oct-11 15:20:16

Good point minsmum - you are only there as an observer, not to interact with them or their mates. Remaining totally invisible is the best strategy.

pengymum Mon 10-Oct-11 15:20:41

In my view, you need to be fb friends AND have their passwords to email accounts, (which they cannot change without express permission) so that you can periodically check what is going on. In this day and age, you won't be able to control 100% what they see and do but it is better to have an idea about what is going on rather than be clueless and then find out something horrid. I agreed with my children that this was the only way they would have access and if they tried to have any secret accounts there would be serious repercussions. Anything that they would be embarrassed or ashamed for me to see, shouldn't be there!
They know that I do look from time to time. The privacy issue doesn't bother me - they are still children! Once they are 18 and responsible for themselves, I will back off... a bit grin
We seem to be chugging along ok so far.

Wants3 Mon 10-Oct-11 15:25:07

I have been my DS's friend since we all joined up. Lots of their friends then friend requested me ( I didn't ask for any of their friends). I don't see the chat but put comments on status's and photos. There have never been any problems as it was never done to ' keep an eye on you' as it were!

pengymum Mon 10-Oct-11 15:28:39

I am also friends with some of their friends (am friends with parents and they agreed this was good move) and nieces and nephews. As are my brothers and sisters. Makes sure that there are many eyes and ears to the ground! wink
We (adults)tend to keep pretty low profile, though we do wish them happy birthday and congratulations on achievements. My sister did tutt at some language tho! shock
No adults are to be friends, without express permission and only people that child knows in real life and has met first. So hopefully, no-one posing as child.

KarlaFromMoscowCentre Mon 10-Oct-11 15:29:50

I am my 13 year old's FB friend and I am starting to think it does inhibit him. Although maybe that's a good thing. I let him sign up at 11 and insisted on being his "friend" on the basis that he was underage and needed some supervision - now he's 13 it is maybe a bit much. But then he's friends with his adult siblings who will report back anything a bit iffy anyway - he has no escape from us.

tabulahrasa Mon 10-Oct-11 15:30:58

Well who else am I going to bully into sending me things in games? hmm

Rivenwithoutabingle Mon 10-Oct-11 15:33:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

theDudesmummy Mon 10-Oct-11 15:33:55

I only allowed my teenaged stepdaughters to get FB accounts in the first place if I was their friend.

Bossybritches22 Mon 10-Oct-11 15:34:52

Agree with pengymum

Mine were allowed accounts & I am NOT their friend but they have to let me have the passwords & do random checks. Now eldest is 16 I don't check as much.

But I also screw their security down so tight no-one can access them without permission. Go into settings & make sure it's friends only for everything. That way friends of friends can still be added but it's by invitation. Also I don't like them being tagged in photos & restrict what photos they add.

Too many teens have open or public settings & that's where problems start.

Bugsy2 Mon 10-Oct-11 15:34:55

I'm 42 & don't particularly want my mum to be my FB friend! At 13, I'd have been horrified. Depends on what kind of relationship you have though. A silent observer, in case something really shocking is happening, seems like a good idea.

pengymum Mon 10-Oct-11 15:49:56

also you can set it so that any messages/notifications are emailed to your email addy - then you don't have to access the actual fb but can see the 'chat' if you want to. I did this but don't always read them. Just every now and then.
All the kids round here have their parents and relatives as friends on fb - keeps the language decent all round too as you know that youngsters will see your posts. Not that we post much ourselves really.

CopingWellConsidering Mon 10-Oct-11 16:08:59

I'm friends with my 3 and have been ever since I joined 2 years ago.

They are 14, 16 & 18. I don't comment on my 2 younger DS's statuses as I sense they would be embarrassed by it. I just observe! But my 18 year old DD has never minded chatting to me on Facebook & I'm friends with several of her friends too.

I think it's nice to know what they're up to, but you need to be sensitive about how you respond or comment to them. If you criticise their choice of language, etc, then you may get unfriended!

TriggersBroom Mon 10-Oct-11 16:18:45

"I'm 42 & don't particularly want my mum to be my FB friend!"
Well, luckily my mum is a luddite. But ikwym.

"If you criticise their choice of language, etc, then you may get unfriended!"
grin. If I get unfriended, they may well lose access to my PC!

I do have passwords to email accounts but I don't "pry". Occasionally DD says it's OK to go on there when I want to print a recipe from her school or something, and I usually have a quick look to check I know all the names, but don't access particular messages.

Thanks for all the responses. I think I'll go with the consensus - befriend but keep a low profile.

mumeeee Mon 10-Oct-11 21:07:50

I have 3 DD's aged 24, 21 and 19. I'm only friends with the eldest other 2 don't like parents as friends. The 19 year old is at home and she says it's silly to be friends to with someone in the same house. If they were young teenagers then I might insist on being their. friend

figroll Mon 10-Oct-11 21:11:48

Remember not to play farmville, or they will delete you for spamming their wall!

royaljelly Mon 10-Oct-11 23:31:41

Definate yes, be there friend so you can discretely watch their posts. I would also say that you should know their passwords so from time to time you can monitor their messages. If they refuse deny access to Facebook in your home, (externally you may have no control), which will devestate them and also block it on their phone.

You do NOT have to let your child know that you have checked their messages / wall. I keep it to myself unless I see something worrying.

As teens expect some mild sexual humour, occasional swearing, and generally acting like a prat.

Only flag it with them if it starts to get out of hand ie: porn videos, offensive posts, bullying etc.

Do not send them game / app requests and don't post on their wall or they will find a way of blocking you / unfriending you because they will feel embarrassed.

You will also be able to monitor any bullying of your child which is often done through social networking sites.

In general you should have control over your teen / sub - teens internet access and usage but still allow them to feel they are completely free to make their own choices on what they view.

There are some programs that will block pornagraphic / unsuitable sites if your child has their own PC, some of these can be found online.

However nothing can surpass the act of actually going into your childs room or passing the family PC and asking what they are doing, ( as well as checking the history of sites visited, (either drop down box or favourites / tools - history on the toolbar)

You should also be aware that nothing online is completely foolproof and there is a chance that your child will view sexual or violent sites at some point and you should equip them with the knowledge of how to deal with this if they come across it by accident and also that if they deliberately attempt to view that this is unacceptable, ( propably won't work as well with teenage boys).

Other than that the internet is a great form of communication / information for teens - and it saves on your phone bill.

If you are not computer savvy then your local college and even high school may put on free classes so you know the basics and can keep your kids as safe as possible online.

fortyplus Mon 10-Oct-11 23:35:26

My two were only allowed to sign up to FB on condition I was a friend. Never ever post anything on their wall or make comments that their friends can see.

crystalglasses Mon 10-Oct-11 23:37:49

My dd asked me to be her fb friend a few years ago. I never comment on her fb or speak to her about it. I think she may have forgotten I even have access to it. I'm what's known as a lurker.

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