Feature: Parenting

Friend Request: Parenting On Facebook

Author: Isabel McFadden
Published: April 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm

When their children are babies, parents use Facebook to share pictures of birthday parties, school projects and family events. On the other hand, what if your children are teenagers, old enough to post their own pictures and events? If you're like the majority of parents in the US, you would probably admit to secretly accessing your teen's profile to see what he or she is up to online.

According to a survey "Digital Coming of Age" by AVG, an online security firm, 6 out of 10 of the parents of 14-17 year olds admit that they secretly check their teen's accounts to see what they are doing online. Worldwide, that number is around fifty percent. The survey consulted over 4000 parents in 11 countries. In the US, a larger percentage, 72 percent, of parents maintain a presence in their teen's online life by friending them on Facebook. Both actions can be deliberate steps parents take to protect their children from online bullying, try to set continuous boundaries and acknowledge the role that social networks and online activity play in children's lives. Openly friending your child on Facebook is also a good way to keep a pulse on his/her life.

Parents, even those who secretly check their child's personal profile, are probably not stalking their child or their friends. Acknowledging and interacting with a child's online presence is simply becoming another facet of a parent's role.

Of course, teenagers are savvy enough to understand privacy settings and notifications and can set those to limit parental involvement (and awareness), but the level of engagement doesn't have to be invasive to be effective. In fact, most parents still have a positive view of their children's online activities. According to the AVG survey, only 20 percent of parents, believe that their kids access porn or illegal music online.

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Article Author: Isabel McFadden


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