Get Connected Online
Should you be facebook friends with your teen? Your kids are all about Facebook, but have you ever thought about getting your own account? Have you ever wondered what happened to old friends from high school, old jobs, college, old apartments, or anywhere else? Log on, and find out what they're up to.
Late at night when you really ought to be sleeping, do you ever find yourself wondering about that guy from chem you were sure would cure cancer? How about the friend you lost touch with years ago after sharing a dorm room for four years in college? Or the neighbor you were so close with when you had babies the same day?
It's natural to think about people who have mattered to us in some way. And while you might not necessarily want to have them over for a holiday dinner, it would be nice to know if they remember you, what they're doing these days, and what they spend their time thinking about.
If you think Facebook is for teens, you're right -- and wrong. It actually started at Harvard University, but there are plenty of respectable adults hanging out on the 'book these days. And while the teens may talk about Facebook a lot, the grown-ups are giving them a run for their money. Or status.
Maybe you're wondering why on earth anyone cares what you're doing right now this very second, and you can't imagine why you'd want to hear about anyone else's minute-by-minute escapades. Trust me, when you start being able to scan down a list of a few dozen friends and see what everyone's up to in just a moment, you will be hooked. Let's make a deal: try Facebook for one week. If you hate it, delete your account and never go back. If you love it, well, you're welcome.
When you register at Facebook, you have to provide your real and true information. Yes, you can use a secondary Gmail account if you want to, but you may ultimately want to switch back to your primary address. If you've changed your name, make sure to add your maiden name in your profile so your high school buds can find you more easily. And do everyone a favor and put a profile picture of yourself that is recognizable.
Look for your friends
Facebook will offer to search your contact list and connect you with friends that way. You can also manually search for anyone you want. So start typing, and see what comes up. Send out friend requests, and see who writes back. You'll quickly learn that if someone "ignores" your request, you won't know it -- you'll just be… ignored. Surprisingly, it stings.
At the same time, you'll find yourself getting friend requests. This is where you have to be careful. Do not, do not, do not accept friend requests from people you don't like. Just ignore them. If you actively dislike the person, or if the person is your mother, you'll need to block her. It's easy to do, and Facebook will give you the option when you ignore the friend request.
When you block someone, the two of you have no way of communicating on Facebook. Not only that, it's as if you don't exist for each other. They won't see any comments you make to anyone else, and if they search for your name, they won't find you. It's pretty cool, and it is reversible if you ever find forgiveness in your heart.
Should you friend your kids?
It's fine to be on Facebook, but your kids are not your friends, and they don't want to be your Facebook friend. Remember how you used to shoo them away from the table when you were hanging out with your girlfriends and you wanted to talk about anything important? That's how they feel. There are ways to keep tabs on your kids, but should this be one of them?