So, you’ve finally convinced your teen to accept your friend request. What an exercise! So, what now? Do you immediately like their every post and start to scan and post all their old baby photos on their wall? NO, YOU DO NOT!!
Here are my top tips for remaining friends with your teen on Facebook.
(1) DO be VERY frugal with your Likes and Comments
When I was negotiating my Facebook ‘friendship’ with my teen boys, we agreed on some ground rules. I promised that I would never comment on their posts or photos or ‘like’ anything. I would remain in the background. It was important to all of us to make the boundaries very clear and for them to be assured that I wouldn’t embarrass them… well not on Facebook anyway!
However if your teen is comfortable with you commenting and ‘liking’ their posts, do it very sparingly. If you like everything, your teen will feel that you are monitoring their every move and may start to feel suffocated.
(2) DO NOT post on their Wall
If you need to discuss plans for the weekend or remind them of a doctors appointment, do NOT post reminders on their wall. All of their friends will see these domestic memos and let me assure you, your teen will not be impressed. If you need to send reminders or even words of encouragement, use their inbox.
(3) DO NOT tag them in family photos
This is very tempting particularly if you have managed to have all family members smiling simultaneously. But do not tag your teen. If they want their friends to see pics of the latest family reunion then they will share it.
(4) DO NOT friend ALL their friends
Friending all your teen’s friends could be a little stalkerish. By all means, send a friend request to their childhood bestie but leave their newer friends. It could be very embarrassing for your teen and may lead to the demise of your online friendship. However if one of your teen’s friends sends you a friend request then it is fine to accept it, although I would check with your teen first.
And avoid friending your teen’s teachers or workmates. Not only will you be labelled as the meddlesome parent but you are encroaching on your teen’s turf.
(5) DO NOT ask them to explain every photo or post
Do not analyse every one of your teen’s party photos or witty posts and do NOT ask for explanations. Accept that they need to have their own space. But the minute the pics and posts are inappropriate (drugs, drinking (if underage) or are a little too romantic) then you need to get involved ASAP. Talk to them about the importance of their digital reputation and the need for good decisions!!
I am a big believer in being friends with your child on Facebook. Not only does it give you some great insight into what makes your teen tick but in an instant you can see what is going on in their world. And this is invaluable. So don’t jeopardise it with unnecessary likes or embarrassing comments because there probably won’t be a second chance!
‘Till Next Time