Etiquette When Befriending Your Child on a Social Network

by Claire Valenty on May 8, 2010

in Netiquette

netiquette friend child etiquette

Following the correct etiquette when befriending your child on a social network is very important in keeping that delicate balance between being in their life, but not spying on them.

You’re hip; you’re cool…or so you think, but, your teenage child may beg to differ and it will probably be with great reluctance that they accept your friend request on one of the many social networks out there.  I am over thirty years old and I have to think before each and every time I post something because I know my mom will get the update right along with my friends!  Sometimes, this is a good thing.  Sometimes, she probably could do without seeing me tagged in pictures demonstrating my excellent keg standing skills.  This article on etiquette when befriending your child on a social network will give you some good guidelines to ensure you don’t get dropped as a friend.

If you have a young child (in junior high or younger), then, most definitely, you should be their friend and monitor their usage.  Younger people are not always aware of the dangers of social networking.  Not only are there sexual predators out there preying on them, but, they may unwittingly post details about where they live and when the family is going on vacation, broadcasting to the world that the house will be empty, so, feel free to rob it!  If you do find your child fraternizing with someone who sounds suspiciously older or advertising your family’s comings and goings, whatever you do, do not broadcast your concern on their site.  Talk to them privately about it and voice your concerns.  Even if you are spending all of your spare time over analyzing every single post and picture on their site, do not let them know that.  Mention that you think you saw something on there that might be a concern.  Act like it’s not that big of a deal.  You have smart kids; they’ll recognize the issue and correct it.

Now, if you have older kids (in high school or college, or, heck, even my age), you are probably going to see and hear about them doing things you do not want to know about.  However, you have to take the good with the bad; social networking gives you an almost unfiltered look into your child’s life.  Again, never call them out about something on their site.  It’s embarrassing and will either get you blocked or deleted to prevent future problems.  If you see your child behaving in a way that you believe is horribly wrong (and pick your battles carefully here, as you will not win many of this and the more you complain, the less they’ll listen to you), then say you noticed a friend’s child doing the same thing as your child (without mentioning that you saw your child’s behavior) and that the mother must be disappointed because the pictures of her daughter making out with five random girls on her spring break trip might give off the wrong impression to the world and that those photos, unpublished, are floating around on the internet…forever.

At the end of the day, if your child wants to be your friend, count yourself lucky for being able to participate in that portion of their life.  If they don’t want to be your friend, count yourself lucky for not having to see what they’re really up to!

Photo: 123rf/Jack Hollingsworth

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