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FACEBOOK Etiquette for Parents

By Jackie Burrell
Monday, September 8th, 2008 at 12:35 pm in Technology & Video Games.

Thinking about going on Facebook to keep in touch with your older teens and college kids? Tread carefully, say experts and teens. With parents flocking to Facebook in ever-increasing numbers, teens and college kids – most of whom are savvy about Internet safety and have been on Facebook long enough to feel that it is “their” playground not yours – are eyeballing these interlopers with some trepidation. Are you there to spy? Are you going to friend their friends? Or – horrors! – poke them?

So here’s a quick guide to Facebook etiquette for parents, courtesy of teens, college kids and wise parents and grandparents:

Friends: On Facebook, someone you invite to be your friend can accept, decline, or restrict you to a limited version of that person’s own profile. It’s less damaging to your ego if you talk with your teens before you try to “friend” them. It’s best, say seasoned parents, to wait to be invited by your teens. Friending your teen’s friends, without your teen’s explicit permission, imperils happy family relations.

Walls: If you wouldn’t holler it to your kid on the front steps of his school, don’t post it on his Facebook wall where his friends can read it. That said, if your teen or his friends are bantering with you on your wall, theirs are fair game.

Pokes: A Facebook “poke” is like a little “hi.” Don’t poke your teens’ friends.

Groups: Part of the fun of Facebook is joining groups of like-minded folks who adore Harry Potter or regard Morucci’s as the golden deity of Bay Area delis. Have fun with it, but be aware that anything you post on a group page can be seen by anyone, including your children’s friends.

And avoid family humiliation: Just in case it’s not obvious, don’t post pictures of yourself drunk, dressed scantily or otherwise engaged in dubious activities. Sometimes grown-ups do the stupidest things.

Click “comments” and add your own tips there.

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One Response to “FACEBOOK Etiquette for Parents”

  1. Nancy Brown Says:

    My 16yo stamped her feet and shouted, “I’m not going to Friend you.” When I told her that I had a FB account for my travel writing.

    Now that the dust has settled (and I promised not to chaperone at the Jr. Prom) she has friended me.

    I was trying to tell her about and she rolled her eyes at me.

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