Monitoring of kids on Facebook works two ways

Published 9:35 am Monday, April 19, 2010

There was an article this week on MSN. The title was “Should you friend a parent on Facebook?” I think they’ve got it wrong. I think the headline should read “Should you friend your children on Facebook?”

The article highlighted a father and his son that were Facebook friends. The father posted pictures of his son from his son’s earlier years. The son did not appreciate having Dad post childhood pictures so he unfriended him.

Again I think the head line should read “Should you friend your children on Facebook?” I have a Facebook Page. I have two sons who approved me as their friend. One son gives me limited access and the other son lets me read whatever. I am not concerned about what they are posting. After all they are over 30 or perhaps one of them is closer to forty (ha, he doesn’t read my column so I can say that here and not on Facebook) so by this time it doesn’t matter what their mom thinks.

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Having your kids as friends on Facebook is a risk you take. After all they have known you all of their lives. They can tell stories. Those stories might not always be complementary since you possibly did yell at them once or twice in their lives. Those kids have pictures of us and since in their minds we have embarrassed them many times, there is the possibility that they will post those pictures and embarrass us. I hope I got rid of all the pictures of my hair in pink rollers with mud mask on my face.

It is hard being friends with old friends on Facebook when you have your kids looking on. After all our reminiscing might let them know too much about our lives before kids. If your kids are your facebook friends you might want to use code words when you talk about old boyfriends or girlfriends, parties you attended in your youth or other endeavors that they might misconstrue or not.

And then there is the fact that they think we are old and doddering and they have to look after us. After we post some of our fun activities like parachuting out of an airplane — no, I didn’t do that, but posting I did — would get this result: “You did what? You went where? You didn’t tell us that. You are too old to do that.” I got the same reaction to the possibility of a tattoo.

And then there is, “Why are you friends with that person?” Or, “That’s enough farming. You need to quit wasting your time. You are addicted.”

So you see the article got it wrong. It is the other way around. It is hazardous having your kids as friends on Facebook. There is also “Too much information, too much information.”

Seriously though, my kids have not unfriended me yet. I think that it is possible to have parents as friends on Facebook though probably not if your kids are teenagers. When my kids were teenagers I would not have wanted to be their Facebook friend. They probably would have been grounded for life if I found out all that they were doing that I did not know about. We always think we know what our kids are doing, but I suspect we would be shocked if we knew the whole truth. Being on Facebook with my teenagers would have been like sneaking into their room and snooping for their diaries or any other incriminating evidence they had left behind. Of course, I did not do that!

I enjoy having my adult children and their friends as my facebook friends. I enjoy their humor and their wit. I don’t always agree with what they say but there is freedom in knowing that I am not in charge of their lives anymore. Their wives and husbands are in charge of their lives and they will keep them in line.

I have a feeling it doesn’t matter who we share our Facebook information with anyway. Somehow, somewhere your information is out there and your parents and your kids and the whole world will know those secrets that you post. It’s like someone sneaking into your room, reading your diary and telling their best friend and swearing them to secrecy and then they tell their best friend and their best friend swears they won’t tell anyone while they are texting their other best friend. So Friend your kids and your parents. There are no secrets anymore.

“Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.” — Ben Franklin

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send e-mail to her at .Her blog is Listen to KBEW AM radio 1:30 p.m. Sundays for “Something About Nothing.”