Facebook Friends–are you friends with your kids friends?

When Facebook first came about, I naturally signed up for an account for the simple but truthful reason that I am a geek. Well surprise, surprise didn’t my children follow suit soon after me. Apparently though, after years of teaching them the tricks of the trade, ripping the guts out of a computer (literally) and rebuilding, reformatting, using Microsoft Office, Photoshop, Illustrator, DOS (wow I am showing my age), Windows 3.1, ‘95, etc., and Linux, they were baffled that I knew about Facebook. Anyways, I digress. So my kids are on Facebook, and I naturally want to know what they are up to, so I start friending their friends. Out of three children, one thought I was a bit odd but allowed me to continue. This of course, was a number of years ago, and today I am still friends with my kid’s friends. Middle child, who is in University, actually has friends who friend me first. I chat, play Words With Friends, comment on photo’s, type out recipes, but generally stay out of the “I am your mom role”.

My whole point is, that because I started being friends with my kids friends when they were young, my kids didn’t think it was weird. I am now privy to their secret society, which quite a few parents aren’t, why? Because parents either are not interested, afraid to find out something they don’t want to know, not computer literate, or worst of all, too busy with their own life to even think they need to worry about what their kids are up to. You may not need to worry but you do need to know what your child is up to, or at least know how to set the security settings so your 13 year old is not chatting it up with some 40 year old (yes, this happens).

Being friends with my kids friends is sometimes awkward, obviously I overlook some stuff but some stuff, I don’t. When one of my kids has posted a picture that is not appropriate for whatever reason, I send them a quick text message, and the image is taken down. Of course all this depends on what type of relationship you have with your child, and how well you communicate with them. Hopefully your relationship is a good one and you can be friends with their friends. I mean, is it really any different when you chat their friends up at say a football or basketball game.

22 thoughts on “Facebook Friends–are you friends with your kids friends?

  1. Special Needs Mum

    No, I don’t want to be friends with my sons’ friends, they just write drivel! I am friends with my boys though, just to monitor them but I am not allowed to tag them. I also know their passwords in case they decide to put me on their ‘restricted’ list (when they find out about it!)
    Thanks for submitting your post to the Love All Blogs tech showcase!

    Reply
  2. Mammasaurus

    Yes I am! I am friends on FB with my older children and many of their friends. They add me, I chat to them but between you and me I just relish the opportunity to be able to keep a carefully watchful eye over my kids Facebook profiles!

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  3. Ruth Taylor (@audreyseptember)

    I guess my comments may have been misunderstood. I am a parent who cares deeply what my children are exposed to. Social media were not sufficiently developed for my elder two to be using FB etc at the age many of your kids are now. They were 16 and 18 respectively. At that time we only had a computer that was used in a communal family area, and we had had many discussions about safety on the internet. They also had basic phones without internet access. My step- daughter will be 13 next month and If she asks to use FB her father, myself, and his ex- wife will have to discuss with each other, and with her, the conditions under which she would be allowed to use it. Personally I would rather she understand from the outset that it should be something that should be visible to those who parent her for her own safety at this stage. Indeed she has had classes on this topic in school. What I do have an issue with is parents who do not keep up a dialogue with their kids about social media, and also those who permit their children to use it under the legal age. More than 50% of my step-daughter’s classmates have been on FB for a couple of years already and that is irresponsible. My view is that the use of social media should be open enough at a young age that there should be no need for “spying” or “hacking”. I am acquainted with several mothers whose over zealous “monitoring” of older teens may well push their kids into secretive type of behaviour to protect their privacy. At some point you need to trust your kids. Just keep up a good dialogue with them.

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    1. Catherine Burden

      I completely agree with you that parents need to keep an open dialogue with their kids about social media. Also parents should not be allowing their kids who are under 13 on Facebook, I know a few who do this, and have mentioned my disapproval. One parent said, oh she just plays games and doesn’t chat with anyone. I explained that her child was chatting with me, so her daughter did not get the point and really should not be on Facebook. I do see no problem with having the passwords for accounts with children who are just starting out on these sites, as a parent I want to make sure my child is safe and that outweighs quite a few things.

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  4. mummyglitzer

    Oh and for what it’s worth, if my son didn’t friend me on whatever social networking site I would attempt to hack his account; his safety is my top priority but I hope that being fairly internet savvy myself I can teach him about the dangers and that he would respect me enough to listen.

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    1. Catherine Burden

      Safety is top priority, something I have been over & over with my children. Now, they are older and they give me the same speech back particularly when I attend tweet-ups, they do not really like it. They do think it is a hoot that I have had video chats with new friends from across the ocean.

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  5. mummyglitzer

    I’ve no idea how I will handle this when the time comes but as H is only 22 (nearly 23!) months I am sure things will have changed even more by then!

    My sister joined FB when she was 13 but on the condition that she friended all of us (5 sisters and a brother) plus my Aunt whom is her guardian (although she doesn’t actually use it). It concerns me the number of “Friends” she has on there but she assures me that through her Christian youth camps, church things etc she has actually met all of those friends. Besides she is a mature 15 year old now.

    I don’t go on FB so much now myself, I am more a Twitter addict as you know! But I’d like to think I can have a healthy, open relationship with my son and indeed his friends.

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    1. Catherine Burden

      My children have been on Facebook for a number of years and the amount of Facebook friends they do have is astounding, school, soccer, etc. I am more cautious with who is my friend, though my ex-boyfriends from thirty odd years ago, friended me, which my husband finds quite funny.

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  6. Ruth Taylor (@audreyseptember)

    Really interesting topic! My boys are both on FB, but neither actually uses it a great deal. My eldest says that when you are coming to near to graduating it suddenly dawns on you that you should be very careful about the content you put out there. I never friended any of my boys’ mates but a few of them friended me which I find a little disconcerting.

    Recently this topic was discussed at my book club and I was very disturbed to find that a couple of the mums “hack” their teens FB accounts. They also go through their phones and read their texts! This is morally repugnant. I was brought up not to open another person’s mail and this is no different. It is like they don’t trust their kids.

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    1. Catherine Burden

      One of the benefits of Facebook is I found that my best friends daughter, when she was in grade nine was being bullied by quite a number of girls on Facebook. I consider this girl my niece, and likewise she refers to me as Aunt so I was able to easily discuss what these girls were doing. Thankfully she had told her mother (not computer literate) about the situation. My kids and her kids know I am there and have no problem with us being friends because of our relationship. I don’t comment on everything but if something is interesting or funny, for sure, and they do they same on my page.

      Hacking is a different story, but do we truly know their situation, maybe one or two, do have a real reason for concern?

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      1. Karen

        I feel the need to reply to the mother who has concerns about reading text and what not… If your kid is not paying for the phone/ computer the parents have a right to read the texts. Your (the parents) phone, your computer, your kid… you gotta do what you gotta do! My children are very very young, but if he wants me to BUY him a phone (and likely a smart phone at that) your damn right I’m going to make sure there is not bullying from or to him, no sexting, no drugs with my hard earned money… He can pay his own way for that crap.

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  7. chickenruby

    When we were in the uk I wasn’t allowed to be friends with my eldest on fb. Since moving he has added me so he can see my pictures on the condition I hide his updates and don’t friend his friends. However I also set both sets of parents up with accounts so they could see our pics and told them not to try and add the kids. This was ignored and my mum has been concerned with some comments to the extent she told people’s parents, despite me explaining why it was wrong to do so.

    I set my step son up with fb he rarely uses it despite being 22 I do have to PM him from time to time to ask him to remove content as his younger brothers are on their.

    I’ve always declined my friends children and my children’s mates. Eventually setting up twitter where very few people know who I am.

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    1. Catherine Burden

      I think the trick is to start when the kids are young, the get used to you being online. My oldest, 22, doesn’t use Facebook nearly as much as her sister and brother. We do play word games, and her friends also like to play games with me. These are friends I have known, since kindergarten. Since the two oldest are away at school, I find Facebook to be a wonderful way to keep in touch with both of them.

      It’s is sad that the other mom ignored and violated your trust. There are some adults who just don’t understand Facebook, and the whole different world kids live in today.

      As for Twitter, both girls do have accounts but the three of us, have agreed not to be friends here. My best girlfriend doesn’t have a Twitter account and actually thinks I am kinda crazy but at the same time, she also knows and is quite happy that I have an eye on her kids with Facebook. With my blog, my son can’t be bothered, and the two girls will read it from time to time but usually only if I tell them about a particular post because otherwise they know it is mom’s space.

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      1. chickenruby

        I have my 17yo son on twitter and unfortunately my niece found me through him which now means sister and mum have access to my blog it’s caused some major rows. I’ve told them to either get on twitter and join me or stop reading my tweets out of context. It’s the same as standing outside someone’s lounge and eavesdropping. I’ve locked my Facebook down now and hide their updates in my timeline so I can’t see their snide fb comments in response to my tweets. My son sees them and retaliates to defend me which causes further issues. I think their should be a ‘can you tell the difference between a joke?’ test before being allowed any access to social networking sites.

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        1. Catherine Burden

          I am sorry your blog has caused some problems. Having a test before allowing people access to social media sites, would probably exclude far too many people, but I agree join, to stop reading tweets out of context.

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  8. Karen

    I have no facebook so all my all evil doings and all evil friends are a secert!!! MUAHHAHAHA!

    Good post though! I agree wholeheartedly. I have taken your & other parents advice to heart for my own 2 little ones, when they are old enough for social media (whatever the craze may be in their time)

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    1. Catherine Burden

      Oh Karen sweetie, I know and have always known what you are up to, regardless of no Facebook page.

      I believe you are and will continue to be a wonderful mother for the simple reason, you are open-minded and off to a great start with the boys.

      Reply

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