Should You Force Your Kid to Be Your Facebook Friend?

Linda Sharps

My kids are too young for doing much with Facebook other than asking, "ARE DERE VIDEOS OF KITTYCATS ON DIS?" while simultaneously mashing Cheddar Bunnies into my laptop keyboard, but no matter how many times I stick my fingers in my ears and shout la la la la la they'll be 3 and 5 foreeeevvverrrr, I suppose I have to admit the day is fast approaching when they will want their own account.

Funny how utterly depressing of a thought that is. It's almost as if social networking is the absolute antithesis of childhood. Maybe I'll post that as my status for a while, see if anyone likes it.

For parents with older kids, navigating the murky Facebook waters can be a challenge. Do you monitor their activity? Do you limit how often they can log in? Do you check to see what the people in their network are talking about?

Do you force your kid to "friend" you? Even if doing so makes your kid stomp around shouting about how he HATES you and he DIDN'T ASK TO BE BORN?

Requiring your kid to accept your Facebook friend request is the latest tactic in the increasingly bizarre world of parental Facebook monitoring. I can see the logic: you're giving your child the freedom to dick around on Facebook, but with the caveat that you want to see what they're posting.

Of course, you'd probably need their password to make sure they haven't tinkered with their privacy controls to hide things from you. Or maybe you should be looking at their messages and chat logs, too? While you're at it, you should probably spell-check their status messages, approve any photos that get posted, and be the gatekeeper for anything they "like." (Acceptable: Ivy League Schools, Wholesome Summer Jobs, and Studyin' on a Saturday! Not acceptable: Skateboards, Gateway Drugs, Scat Porn.)

I have absolutely no idea where you draw the lines with kids and Facebook, and I suppose like anything else, it completely varies by household. What's okay for some families won't be for others, and all we can really do as parents is make our best guess and hope for the best.

Maybe I can just hope my kids won't want anything to do with Facebook, so I never have to experience the day when I tell my son, "YOUNG MAN, YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND OR

What do you think about making "be friends with Mom" a household rule for Facebook?

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