Parents, Should You ‘Friend’ Your Kids on Facebook?

April 30, 2012

Protect your Teens on Facebook!  Facebook has become the new battleground for parents and teens –a place where teens are trying to gain more independence and parents are trying to keep them safe.  When it comes to ‘Friending’ your parents, not all teens are ready to click the “accept” button and feel having their parents become part of their online community is similar to having their parents read their diary.

Some parents are opting to not step foot onto this virtual battleground and are choosing to not even attempt to become Facebook ‘Friends’ with their children.  As a security expert, this is a move I do not endorse—in fact, I sit firmly in the camp that becoming your child’s Facebook ‘Friend’ is one of the key ways to keep them safe during their teen years.

Why?  Here are 3 reasons why it is important for parents to become Facebook ‘Friends’ with their teens:

It allows you to monitor your child’s online activity and conversations in a very real and honest way.  They know you are there, they invited you in—it is not as if you are sneaking into their room and looking through their drawers.

It helps deter the posting of inappropriate messages and photos.  Before a teen posts a message or photo they will be thinking ‘is this something I would want my mom or dad to see?’  If the answer is no, they won’t post it—keeping them from making what could be a very big mistake.  In addition, if you do see inappropriate messages or photos being posted, this is a great way to begin those somewhat hard conversations with your children.

You get valuable insight into what is happening in their offline world.  Not that you need (or want) to know how many times Susie broke up with Billy, but just seeing what your child is posting and/or is having posted to their page, gives you a glimpse into what is happening IRT (In Real Time).  This may explain changes in behavior and help encourage offline discussions.

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