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.

Woman on ComputerLate 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.

Get connected

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?  

What are you thoughts on being facebook friends with your kids? Comment below!

Tags: teens and facebook teens online

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Comments on "Should moms be on Facebook?"

Shannon June 05, 2012 | 3:14 PM

I think you should be friends with your kids. Why not?? I use facebook to connect with both friends AND family. I'm friends with my parents, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I keep it simple - I don't overly post or put up inappropriate pictures. If you keep it fun and light-hearted there is no reason to not be friends with your kids.

Wendy June 27, 2009 | 1:30 PM

Oh Yeah right on..... I can't get my Daughter to invited me to be her best friend..... I had such good relationship w/ her When she was 13--Now she is 17 yrs old. I lost contact w/ her When she was w/ her father & hidden from me for 5 yrs. I finally found her--realized she moved somewhere w/out my knowledged her whereabout location living at that time. Her father & his ex-wife did brainwashed her brain for 5 yrs--it's gone relationship. They told her I didn't want her--Hell no way they are misunderstand bk then. She lost her good future w/ me.... I already promise her that We will have a new house....She doesn't want it. OKAY She decided to live w/ Foster. I told her GOOD LUCK. U know I am very painfully heart. HUH RIGHT HUH Facebook doesn't work at all.... Thanks for your comments there.

Canna-chan April 07, 2009 | 9:34 AM

Just a comment on the last section, when my mother joined facebook, it was so that she could keep up with us. And I was more than ready to freind her. Right now I'm in the process of trying to get my father onto Facebook!

Amy March 04, 2009 | 8:04 AM

To Shelly: After an account is created on Facebook, head over to settings-->notifications. The the notification settings page, you will see many different ways to be notified by email when something happens/occurs on the account. Configure this as you wish. Then, in your child's email account, you'll have to set up the filters. I use GMAIL to do this. You basically just want to filter any message that comes to your child's email account with the words "facebook" in them to your email address. With GMAIL it guides you through the process step by step when you click "create filter". If you don't have GMAIL, just read your FAQ guide on the email client. Hope that helps! You can also just use your email account, but I like to let my kids use their own, that way as they grow up, they can still use the page if they choose.

denise February 18, 2009 | 8:34 AM

I would say no because other love telling your story in stead of the straight from the horses mouth.we live in a country that bullys others to get ahead .we see it a lot in class room because no one put a cap on it.what happen to the I AM A LOVER NOT A FIGHTER..Or welcome to hotel cal.I sorry for having a pretty face.and ect.

Kim February 17, 2009 | 5:14 PM

Yes, I think it okay to be friends with your kids on facebook. I have enjoyed facebook more than they do. It becomes a common interest.

janice February 17, 2009 | 4:55 PM

Why wouldn't anyone NOT want to monitor their children and those that try to contact them? I also have "friended" my kids. Ages are 14, 18, 21. I wouldn't care what age they were. I watch the 14 y/o and keep in touch with my college age kids. I just feel that we can't be too safe when it comes to our children. At this point I don't trust anyone out there and want to see my children grow up as safely as possible.

Cathy February 17, 2009 | 3:56 PM

I am friends with my two "young adults". Both actually set me up on Facebook. Previously to them setting me up with my own account, I use to periodically stand behind them when they were on the computer. That was the condition of their even getting on. Neither complained given the fact that the computer they are using is not actually theirs. I have not been surprised or disturbed by what they have been putting out there, but I have seen some postings & photographs of their friends that I wonder if I should let their parents know about. So far, I haven't because my kids don't want it to come back on them. I have promised to keep them out of things and have dropped hints like telling them that I have an account myself and prior to having one, I would look over their shoulders, but the parents I have spoken to can't imagine doing that with their kids. Should I do more and break my promise to my kids? I am talking about underage drinking and beer pong so far. I'm still trying to figure out a way to get both accomplished.

shelly February 17, 2009 | 12:59 PM

I'd love to know how Amy did this "any alerts of updates, messages, etc - they receive on Facebook, sent to their email, which is then set up to send a copy to my email." As I would let my 11 year old have a facebook accoung if I knew how to do this. Then he could stop nagging me about it lol

paige February 17, 2009 | 11:39 AM

i have a facebook and myspace. i am 18 my mom got a myspace and for her to be a friend was not that big of a deal. i added teachers from school and my friends parents. so i dont think it is that big of a deal people think it is snooping in the child business well if you have noticed, every child likes to text there are things the cell phone companies have where parents can see all the childs text and i think that is wrong. if there is something on facebook your child dont want you to see, they will send personal messages so no one can see them. i dont think its that big of a deal unless your child is out doind drugs and stuff and dont want you to know, then yes they probably will not want to add you onto theirs.

JOAN KAAIHUE February 17, 2009 | 11:12 AM

I am a 65 year old grandmother and both my grand daughters are on Facebook and so am I. All of my other friends on Facebook are 50-75 years old so don't count us out yet!! We're not dead and enjoy Facebook just as much as anyone else. If anyone from Facebook management is reading this we would like to see more quizes and other stuff directed at seniors.

Holly Jahangiri February 17, 2009 | 8:22 AM

It's a balancing act. While my kids are not my "friends"(being their mother is far more important than being their "friend"), they are family, and much more important to me than any friend. Up to a certain age, I think it's important that they not feel entitled to absolute privacy, and that parents be involved and aware of what they're up to online so they're better able to guide and look out for them. When kids are mature enough to "fly solo," it would be wise to back away and let them set the tone for your online interaction. It's important that you not feel hurt or betrayed when they "unfriend" you on Facebook, for instance. That said, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my daughter had added me to her "Top Friends." When you make no effort to be "buddies" with your kids, and they choose to call you a friend anyway, that's nice. Would you refuse to be your child's friend if THEY sent the request? I think that would be hurtful. If you look at Facebook (and any other social networking site) as something similar to a mall - there are stores you like and stores your teen likes, and you can meet up later at the food court and talk about your day. Just because you're "friends" online doesn't mean you have to be joined at the hip and hang out in all the same places.

Sandra A Mahyles February 17, 2009 | 7:46 AM

I am 60 my children both in their 30's requested I join Facebook So I must disagree .Children and parents can be friends on face book in fact I have been asked my many of their friends to be a friend as well.

Sharon February 17, 2009 | 7:45 AM

I resisited even getting my own page for years but when my youngest went away to college I decided to. Since then the only people I have listed as my friends are relatives.I asked my daughter before I added her if she minded and she said to go ahead. We do chat thru Facebook on occasion but I could live without it. I assume she has other boards she goes to that are 'mom free' but since she's 19, I don't ask,

Nancy February 17, 2009 | 7:16 AM

There is a requirement for a child to be 13 years old to be on Facebook. Are these children under that age lying about their ages to have an account? Amy listed on here mentioned that her children are 11 and 12. Do you condone your children's misrepresenting their ages? They had to have listed a year of birth prior to their real birth year. What's next, fake IDs? I'm not judging, I have friends with tweens that are going through this same issue.

joyce February 17, 2009 | 7:12 AM

I joined Facebook just to monitor my kid's online activities, but have not befriended them. I just check occasionally. Most of the postings are pretty mindless and shallow, but haven't been out-of-line. Many offer support when teens are down, so I often see very positive, compassionate comments. I have enjoyed finding former classmates and current friends and sharing brief messages, so this has been an unexpected bonus for me. I don't think you can be too careful with kids online today and parents should be proactive whenever possible. Thanks for the article.

Amy February 17, 2009 | 6:57 AM

I disagree. Not only do I friend them, but I have their password and have any alerts of updates, messages, etc - they receive on Facebook, sent to their email, which is then set up to send a copy to my email. My kids (11 and 12) are fine with this, I only check into what is going on if they add a new friend or get a message that looks suspicious. They can try to shoo me a way all they want, but they know it's a losing battle. It's not about being their "friend", it's a bout them understanding, I want them to be safe. It's when they start trying to hide things, is when I will start to worry. I look at their friends profiles and wonder sometimes, do the parents even know some of the things their kids are posting and the types of pictures being put up?? There is nothing wrong with teaching your kids what is appropriate and what is not. I have a very open relationship with my children, because it's when the communication stops, that the problems begin. - ALM admin WebFloss

Heather February 17, 2009 | 6:46 AM

I have to say that I disagree and that you should be "friends" with your kids on facebook. You don't have to comment or interact but you should be able to see what they are up to and they shouldn't want you to not be there "friend" on FB because they shouldn't be doing anything wrong or that they wouldn't want you to know about. I actually think that FB can help parents relationships with their children because it opens up the communication lines.

Christine February 17, 2009 | 6:34 AM

I disagree about "not friending" your kids on facebook, in times such as these we need to have a watchful eye on what our "kids", "tweens", and "teens" are doing online and off. We need to have a good influence on the decisions that they make and need to be able to communicate about the things that are going on in their lives, we as responsible adults should be able to share things with our children openly and honestly. There's a severe lack of such things which is why the "next generation" is heading towards a downward spiral they way they are.

Debbie February 17, 2009 | 6:19 AM

My two daughters in college were hesitant at first to have me on Facebook but now they put up pictures for me and I send them gifts on Facebook. Their freinds don't even seem to mind!

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