Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Facebook Etiquette For Parents

This post was recently posted on Vicki Courtney, a blog with humorous and helpful advice for life with teenagers. Since Facebook is becoming a hit with parents and grandparents alike, this little bit of information was cute and helpful!

Adults, age 35 and up, are currently the fastest growing audience on Facebook. They are rushing over to join the fun. Which means their teens, who once had the place all to themselves, are cringing over the reality that the chaperons have arrived. In droves. As the younger users are trying to figure out the etiquette of whether or not they have to accept friend requests from Mom, Dad, Uncle Beryl, and even Grandma, parents are in great need of a few etiquette tips themselves. Here are ten tips that seem to be at the top of most teens’ wish lists. And yes, some of the tips (okay, a lot of them), I’ve learned the hard way…if you know what I mean

1. Do not post reminders on your child’s wall. This includes, but is not limited to: Reminders to wear their retainer at night, take the recycle bin out to the curb, or to remember their upcoming dermatologist appointment. In fact, just to be safe don’t post anything on your child’s wall except for perhaps, birthday wishes. And even that’s debatable. A simple “Happy Birthday” will suffice. Do not use terms of endearment in the greeting and do not send a Facebook gift. This includes the stuffed bear wearing an “I love Mom” t-shirt.

2. Do not comment on pictures of your child that are posted (tagged) by their friends. This includes, but is not limited to: Compliments about your daughter’s hair, gentle suggestions that your daughter may need to wear a bit more lip gloss, or a simple “Yikes” said in reference to one of your daughter’s friends showing a bit too much cleavage. These types of comments should fall into the private message category. Never forget that comments on pictures can be viewed by everyone on your daughter’s friend list, including the girl who is showing a bit too much cleavage.

3. Do not post pictures of your child on his/her wall. This especially includes, but is not limited to: Scanned family photos from a decade ago or baby pictures of your son playing dress-up in his dad’s suit. Doing so could result in your son’s college roommate using the above-mentioned baby picture as his profile picture in a week-long mockery campaign.

4. Do not upload footage of your child performing as a superstar in any sport or activity without first obtaining their permission. This includes footage of your son making a phenomenal one-handed catch during the homecoming football game that resulted in a run for a touchdown. We are all proud of our children, but excessive bragging (through videos, pictures, or status updates) should be doled out in moderation.

5. Do not use status message updates as a billboard for your teen’s poor choices. Unless that is, it’s funny and then it’s okay. The end goal should not be to publicly shame your teenager, but rather, to garner empathy from fellow parents of teens. Kinda like a big, giant Facebook support group for parents. “My teen just tested my last ounce of patience. Anyone know of any good boarding schools?” sounds much better than “My punk teen just shoplifted an energy drink from a convenience store. Pray he lives to see the sun come up tomorrow.”

6. Mushy Facebook status messages related to your spouse should be avoided at all costs. What child wouldn’t need intensive therapy after seeing Dad’s status message in the newsfeed: “My wife is a total hottie and I’m counting the days until our weekend get-away.” Ew, ew, ew. In fact, Dad’s entire friend list may need therapy after that one. Facebook PDA is unacceptable at any age, and even more so if you answer to the title “Mom” or “Dad.”

7. Never, ever, send a friend request to one of your child’s friends. It doesn’t matter if you were present at their birth, diapered their little bottoms, and count them as one of your very own. Wait for them to come to you. They may…or they may not. Even the good kids are worried about the lack of control they have over what others may say on their walls and don’t want the adults they know to think any less of them. Especially the ones they love.

8. Use discretion when uploading pictures of yourself. I don’t care if you are 50 years old and super proud of your six-pack abs – I promise you, your kids don’t want to see them. If you are going to play sand volleyball and there is a camera present, do the kiddos a favor and put a shirt on. If you are going to post pictures from the family beach trip, please wear a cover up. Modest is hottest. Yeah, and you might not ever want to repeat that cheesy slogan in the hearing of your kids or they’re guaranteed to pack up and run away from home. Forever.

9. Never say LOL. Actually, I was just made aware of this one recently after being royally chastised by one of my children for daring to say it in a comment. Not sure what is so offensive about saying LOL, but it clearly struck a nerve and I got this immediate reply: “Mom, NEVER say LOL again.” To which I promptly replied: “NP! IDK what I was thinking. TTYL!” It’s been a few weeks since I last heard from that child, but I’m pretty sure she’s been busy studying for mid-terms. LOL.

10. Last, but not least, never let on that you are stalking their page. Oh sure, you are going to be left with some questions from time to time or see some things that make you grumble. As long as you think they are making overall, good choices, resist the urge to correct every infraction you see. Of course, the exception to the rule is if you have reason to believe your child is headed down a dangerous path and an intervention is in order. Otherwise, pull back and give your child some wiggle room to grow up. And let’s all count our blessings that Facebook wasn’t around when we were teens!


  1. well now I need to send this to my mom! LOL.

  2. This is great! Sent this to all my 40 something friends that is on the facebook bandwagon..(with me : )

  3. Well said. I know I have been an offender :)

  4. Hilarious; but no less true.I promise to keep my dorkdom to a mlnlmum.


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