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Are You "Friends" with Your Teen on Facebook?

Photo Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I don’t remember when I got Facebook — it was roughly three or four years ago. My parents didn’t get Facebook until late last year, and while both my parents are on Facebook, I’m not friends with either of them. Truth be told, even if they sent me a request, I wouldn’t accept it. I wouldn’t decline it because that’d just be rude — but I’d wait it out, hoping that they would forget that they sent me a request, or just didn’t notice that I didn’t appear in their friends list. I don’t have anything to hide; my Facebook is just a mess of One Direction and Pretty Little Liars articles, and pictures with friends. I rarely swear on Facebook, and all the pictures are innocent. I’m even friends with quite a few adults on Facebook, including people from work. Even so, though, I wouldn’t want my parents being able to see it — there’s just something about having my own “privacy” (away from my parents that is, because we all know the internet is anything but private) on social media that seems so necessary.

We teenagers these days seem to live in two different worlds. First, there’s our physical world, where we’re supervised by our parents and teachers, and have to adhere to certain expectations of behavior.  Second, there’s our virtual world, where there’s pretty much no rules, and everything we post, comment or upload is our own. While in the physical world there are immediate repercussions for our wrong-doings, the set of boundaries and rules for the virtual world aren’t as clearly defined. While we’re members in the physical world, we own their own virtual “space”‘; a space which is ours, controlled only by us, seemingly without any parental guidance.  We control what we upload, what we do with it, what we send out into this world.  It is when these two worlds collide — the physical and the virtual — that repercussions occur for bad decisions they make in the virtual world. 

While I can understand why parents would want to friend, follow, and keep an eye on what their kids are doing online, if my parents suddenly added me on Facebook, my first question would be “why?” Are they doing it simply because they want to be a part of my virtual world? Or, are they doing it because they don’t trust me in the virtual world?

We all know the Internet isn’t private, yet, for me, social media is private from my parents. Some semblance of privacy is a necessary part of growing up and becoming an adult. My parents know (well, at least they should,) that I’m not going to post anything on social media that I’ll regret. While I share a lot with my parents, there’s just stuff that is so mundane, that I see no reason why they should know about it.  My parents don’t need to know how often Harry Styles comes up in conversation between my friends and I, how often I’m tweeting about Dawson’s Creek, or how often my friend and I still talk about this guy who worked at a bakery near our dance studio in eighth grade. (Whom we named Freddie because neither of us had the guts to go and ask him his real name.) They know I like One Direction, they know I have an unhealthy obsession with television shows, they know my friend and I are crazy and can sometimes be idiots. Why do they need to be friends with me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter?

What about you? Are you friends with your child on Facebook? Do you follow them on Twitter? Why/ why not?

 

 

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