Facebook is probably already a huge part of your college kid’s life. Increasingly, parents are joining Facebook to connect with their own friends, co-workers and family members. But before you decide to friend your child, or even if you already have, here are 5 rules of Facebook etiquette for parents to think about:
1. Before you “friend” your son or daughter, talk about it with him or her. Let them know you won’t stalk them—and then don’t. This will help prevent your friend request from being ignored or worse yet, being left in friend limbo (not being accepted or rejected, therefore not giving you access to their page or the option to friend them again).
2. Exercise discretion when it comes to writing on their wall. Do wish them Happy Birthday or good luck on a test. Don’t remind them to take their medication or wear their retainer, those messages can be discussed in a personal message or on the phone.
3. Think before you post pictures of your child. Even if you have an adorable picture of your son naked in the tub when he was three, refrain from putting it online. If you do everyone will get a notification that there is a naked picture of your son on Facebook. Don’t be surprised if he untags himself or even unfriends you all together.
4. Also, think before commenting on pictures of your child, including those posted by one of their friends. If you see something you don’t like, don’t post a nasty message. Instead, take a minute and think about whether the picture is really risky in the long run, if it is then talk to them about it, offline. Remember you were that age once too; if it didn’t hurt you it won’t hurt them.
5. Lastly, do not friend your child’s friends. Even if you’ve known them since they were born, let them make the decision to friend you. If they do friend you, don’t go telling their parents about every status update and picture posted to their wall. No one likes a tattletale and you may find yourself being unfriended.
There is a site where kids can post messages that parents send to their kids’ Facebook pages, MyParentsJoinedFacebook.com, and unless you want your embarrassing and uncalled for Facebook posts on this site, be cool. Facebook can be a great way to stay in touch with your college kid, but if you stalk your child’s page you may lose a Facebook friend.
You can also find some helpful safety tips on the Facebook Family Safety Center.
What helpful advice or personal experience can you add?