Help! My Parents Joined Facebook!
By Alison at University Language
Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011
Category: Student Life
Before you click to find out who it is, the potential candidates (that cute boy from your history class, that cool girl you partnered with in chemistry lab) race through your head.
All that anticipation can take a turn for the worse when you find out that your new Facebook friend request came from one of your parents. Eek! What to do?
To Add or Not to Add?
First of all, you have to decide whether you even want to accept your parent’s friend request. Most students spend a lot of time on Facebook so it’s important to be honest with yourself about how comfortable you are with parents-as-Facebook-friends.
It might seem totally lame to be Facebook friends with a parent but, honestly, a lot of people are. With more and more older people (sorry, mom!) getting to know social networking, it’s not so unusual to see parents on a Facebook friend list.
I even have friends who are Facebook friends with their grandparents. One friend of mine simply set some grandmother-friendly restrictions on her privacy settings – and her grandmother loves it because she gets to receive consistent updates about her granddaughter’s life.
Don’t reject your parent’s friend request due to fear of social stigma. It can even be sort of fun to have parents on Facebook. I’m friends with my parents on Facebook, as are many of my friends, and it’s always sort of funny when my parents make random comments on my friends’ Facebook walls. However, my parents never post on my Facebook wall because of …
Parent-Friendly Facebook Privacy Settings
When my parents joined Facebook, I didn’t have any qualms about accepting their friend requests. However, it took me about a week to confirm them while I figured out the Facebook privacy settings that would restrict their access to my profile.
There’s nothing all that scandalous to see on my Facebook page, but there are a few things I decided to block – just in case – when my parents joined Facebook, like my Facebook wall (who knows what one of my crazy friends might post!).
If you go to the Facebook privacy settings, you can restrict access to everything from photos and videos you’ve been tagged in, to your status updates and wall posts. You can even restrict people from commenting on your photos.
All of this can be specifically targeted toward certain people, so while your friends can continue to enjoy photos of you acting like a total nut, your parents don’t have to. When my parents joined Facebook, the photo settings were the first to be adjusted!
What to Say if You Reject a Parental Friend Request
If you decide that, despite privacy settings, you want to reject a parental friend request, be prepared for the fact that you might have some explaining to do.
Need an easy excuse that requires no shady lies? Simply explain that you like to keep your Facebook friend list to just that: a list of friends, not parents. Being upfront about it will help you maintain a good relationship with your parents throughout college.
Odds are that your parents just thought it would be fun to Facebook friend you and won’t freak out. However, if you get a bad reaction, it might be worth asking why.
Are your parents worried about you for some reason and trying to keep tabs on you via Facebook? Have you simply been bad about keeping in touch with your parents since you left for college? Calm their fears and promise to be better about keeping in touch. Then, the fact that your parents joined Facebook will be less of an issue.