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Answers to Your College Questions

Should I be Facebook friends with my child?

Posted by on in New College Parent
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If you’re already your kid’s Facebook friend, you know it can be complicated at times. Being a friend to your child means seeing, hearing, and knowing more than you might want to see, hear, or know. When it comes to sending a request, it’s not like there’s an option to be your child’s “Facebook parent.” The only option is to be a “friend.” So before you consider sending that friend request to your son or daughter, make sure you know what you’re getting into. As a rule, NEVER publicly humiliate your child on Facebook—not cool.

The Truth about Being Your Kid’s Facebook Friend

Some of you can’t handle it. And I’m not being sarcastic.

Being your child’s Facebook friend means having access to his thoughts, feelings, friends, pictures, experiences, fears, moods, and ideas. It means seeing and hearing what his friends are saying, feeling, and doing. Being friends is a personal decision that involves a large degree of trust. Facebook is the equivalent of hanging out at the mall with his friends. While you have every right to go to the mall, few teenage sons and daughters want their moms and dads to hang out with them and chat with their friends. Being your child’s Facebook friend is not a parent’s right—it’s a privilege. A lot of parents get offended when they find out a son or daughter doesn’t want to be a Facebook friend. Before you take it personally, understand that not all parents are as cool as you. Some parents abuse their Facebook privileges.

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Harlan Cohen is the author of The Naked Roommate series of books and is one of the most widely read and respected syndicated advice columnists for people in their teens and twenties. His column, "Help Me, Harlan!," is distributed by King Features Syndicate. Harlan regularly tours high school and college campuses giving presentations to students, professionals, and parents. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Follow Harlan on Twitter @HarlanCohen.

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