My Teenager – My Facebook Friend. Reprint from Skirt! 2010

Sure, honey, you can have a Facebook account — but you have to friend me.

“NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)– According to Kaplan Test Prep’s latest survey* on social networking trends and practices among today’s teens, 35% of teens whose parents are on Facebook report that they are actually not online friends with them. Of that group, 38% say the reason they are not friends is because they’ve ignored mom or dad’s friend request.

. . . “Although for generations high school students have come to accept and even embrace their parents’ involvement in their academic work and the college admissions process, Facebook continues to be the new frontier in the ever evolving relationship between parent and child,” said Kristen Campbell, executive director, college prep programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “When a teen ignores a parent’s friend request, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are hiding something, but it could mean that this is one particular part of their life where they want to exert their independence. Alternatively, some parents and their children may actually mutually decide to keep their Facebook lives private from one another.”

Other key Kaplan Test Prep survey results:

  • 16% of teens who are friends with their parents on Facebook report that being friends with them was a pre-condition for being allowed to create their own profile.”

Well, yeah, Baby . . . let’s think this out.  She wants to go on Facebook to communicate with her friends, post pictures of them doing things together and in general, be cool.  Same reason I’m on Facebook.  But really, now, would she still be on the social networking site if I didn’t approve her privacy settings and she didn’t “friend” me in?  Uh, no.

If Princess-and-the-pea wants to communicate “privately” with her pals, they need to do it nose-to-nose snuggled down in the pillows at 2:00 a.m. during a sleepover.

Her on-line life, safety and reputation are a reality unlike any we faced as children.  Employers are increasingly asking for Facebook URLs and personal websites.  One mistake can live forever on the internet – Google never forgets.  So to that end, I’m going to shepherd her online activities the same way I shepherd her daily activities.  We don’t talk to strangers, we only say things we are proud of and we don’t do anything we wouldn’t do in front of mom.  Don’t like the rules?  Don’t do the activity.  It all seems so simple to me.


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