Your Kids (Still) Don't Want to Be Facebook Friends

Filed under: In The News, Research Reveals: Teens

Do you think Mark Zuckerberg is friends with his parents on Facebook? Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP

We know it eats at you that your kid won't accept your friend request on Facebook, but our sincere advice is to snap out of it and get a life.

Just because your kid doesn't want you to be intimately involved in her online life doesn't mean she's doing something bad. Rather, it probably means she just wants you to respect her privacy. After all, how willing were you to let your parents eavesdrop on your telephone conversations when you were a teenager?

But take comfort in the fact that you're not the only one who can't stalk your kid online with permission. According to a survey released today by Kaplan Test Prep on social networking trends and practices among teens, 35 percent of teens whose parents are on Facebook say they are not online friends with their folks.

Of that group, 38 percent of teens say they've simply ignored Mom or Dad's friend requests, according to the survey, so don't believe it when your kid tells you he never received your friend request or poke.

And, in the age of helicopter parenting, 16 percent of teens who say they are friends with their parents on Facebook report that their parents forced them to friend them as a pre-condition for being allowed to create their own Facebook profiles.

However, there are some parents and children who mutually decide to keep their Facebook lives private from one another, a press release from Kaplan Test Prep points out. For some, the thought of their kids seeing any photos they may be tagged in from the '80s -- or even from last year's office holiday party -- is enough to encourage two-way online privacy.

Although teens may not want their parents poking around their online lives, 82 percent of them report that their mom and dad are either "very involved" (44 percent) or "somewhat involved" (38 percent) in their academic lives, according to survey results.

"Although for generations high school students have come to accept and even embrace their parents' involvement in their academic work and the college admissions process, Facebook continues to be the new frontier in the ever-evolving relationship between parent and child," Kristen Campbell, executive director of Kaplan Test Prep's college prep programs, says in the release.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.