Are Parents Making Facebook Uncool?

from the it's-always-something dept

My parents recently joined Facebook (a few months after joining Twitter), and I actually thought that was pretty cool — but I’m no longer at the age where everything my parents do embarrasses me. For kids who are at that point in their lives, having parents join Facebook is quite a conundrum. The latest study out of the UK is suggesting that, with parents suddenly joining Facebook en masse, it’s becoming uncool for kids to be there. I have no idea how accurate the study is, but if it’s true, it raises an interesting question: is there a way to avoid such an “uncoolness” factor as a site like Facebook expands? I would think that you’d need to build in certain features to separate out groups easily, so that you could quickly dunk parents into a certain bucket, and friends into a different one, to make sure that lives are “kept separate.”

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Comments on “Are Parents Making Facebook Uncool?”

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Christopher Smith says:

Re: Re: You can do that?

Use “friend lists”. The privacy controls on Facebook are quite fine-grained; the only complaint I have is that you can’t compose lists (i.e., have an “interesting people” list that consists of the “close friends” list and the “family” list), although you can place people in multiple lists.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: Re: You can do that?

Start with your friends list. Divide them into categories (I have Work, Friends, & Family). People can be in multiple lists. Then, when you go to post, click on the lock icon and a list of options will pull down like ‘Show Only To’ or ‘Do Not Show To’. You can choose to block groups or even individuals. 🙂

Hex (profile) says:

If you don’t want your parents to see you on FaceBook, just don’t add them?

My Mother joined Facebook and promptly tried to add me, and I hit ignore, shortly after my Father joined Facebook, and also tried to add me, and this time I just ignored it and left it sitting there.

My Mother didn’t know I ignored her request, it didn’t inform her of my decision. It came up in a conversation and she told me she had no idea that I had simply ignored her request, and had just assumed I hadn’t gotten around to it, so if you’re so inclined claim that as your excuse.

When I asked her how many times had she logged into FaceBook since she added me she said “….. Once… Maybe…” so it’s not even a problem. But if it’s really such a big issue, just do what a couple of my friends have done and make a Family account, and a Friends account, and keep the friends account private.

Personally, I can’t be arsed and my parents don’t actually _use_ FaceBook.

RL (profile) says:

Call me what you will but...

I lost all my Facebook is best momentum the moment they opened it to the general public. It went from an awesome way to stay in touch with my college bound friends that had the same interests/troubles/etc. I had at the same time to the same MySpace spam fest I had already seen.

Not that every one of my non-college former contacts was an idiot or internet moron, but seriously it was bad enough with them, let alone my parents.

We need a new internet.

Blaise Alleyne (profile) says:

So True

A few months back, my mom signed up for Facebook. She started to get the hang of it, and eventually tried to add my siblings as friends.

She says to my 18-year-old sister, “will you be my friend on Facebook?” My sister says, “um… no.” My mom: “why not??”

She replies: “… you’re too lame.”

Then, she turns to my 15-year-old brother: “will you be my friend on Facebook?”

He responds: “I’m not on Facebook.” (he is)

The Arbiter (profile) says:

This thread is lame

Responsible parents keep up with their kids on the net. If, as young adults living on your own, you choose not to add your parents, fine. However, it is a condition of use that my kids add me to all social networks, provide passwords, advise of email accounts etc. I also have all chat logs activated and I check the status frequently. I also check their machines frequently for software not installed by me, hacks, cheats and so forth. I love my kids and do not wish for them to become statistics. That being said, I do not try to friend their classmates (though a few have tries to friend me since I am allegedly a “cool dad”), have online convos with them, etc. There is a line, and parents should not cross that as long as safety and security issues are not compromised.

Having said all that, there are things on my Facebook I am not cool with my kids seeing, so I guess it goes both ways.

The Rage (profile) says:

Re: This thread is lame

Heh, you’re to be applauded. FINALLY a parent who has the courage and TRUE LOVE to be one. SO many parents haven’t matured enough to accept the responsibility of yea, I have to be the Blue Meanie. Kid’s need and actually crave limits and you have to be very clear. It’s the parent’s role to guide their offspring to tell the truth, to not beat around the bush, to not be lazy, and most importantly to punish them immeadiately when the kid is being “sneaky”. Otherwise, they will undoubtedly turn out to be unscrupulous, amoral adults whose life AND the live’s of their offspring will become a miserable mess.

AN idle mind IS the Devil’s Workshop. In fact, they’d be a whole lot LESS problems if parent’s insisted on keeping their teenager’s BUSY with the task of becoming A PRODUCTIVE MEMBER of SOCIETY, IE, a REAL ADULT, rather than perpetuating the current notion of childhood through college past the age of 30.

Plus, like you said, until a kid reaches 18, you basically own ’em. When they’re on-their-own, you just hope and pray for the best.

Sheinen says:

The Arbiter

So basically what you’re saying is that you’re turning your kids in to losers and their friends are suspicously nice to your face…?

I’m all for security and protecting your children from harm, but there is a line and micro-managing their every movement is considerably south of it.

Trust, Honesty and Luck – 3 key factors in raising a child successfully. If you raised them right they’ll know how to avoid trouble

brent (profile) says:

Re: The Arbiter

i disagree on that sheinen

i raise mine by 3 things:


now on to the topic: i joined facebook 4 years ago as a soph in college and thought it was great that it was a college only network. After my 13 year old brother in law tried to friend me last week i cancelled my account. It’s becoming full of kids now and it isn’t what it used to be. could this be the opposite of what Mike might be asking in the article? Now that kids, or teenagers, have the run of the place the older folks (me at 25) are getting out??

ChrisB (profile) says:

Re: The Arbiter

> Trust, Honesty and Luck – 3 key factors
> in raising a child successfully.

Here are my tips gained from raising my son (now 17):
– Don’t be your child’s “friend”. They have enough friends. They need a parent.
– “You can’t control people, but you can control how you react to them.” Stop telling your kids what to do. Tell them how you will react to it. Then FOLLOW THROUGH.
– Children are idiots. Never get into a “debate” with them.
– Criticize the behavior, not the child.
– Remember, everything you say to a child WILL eventually sink in, so don’t worry when they seem to be ignoring you. It is like painting a picture and having it appear on the canvas 20 years later.

The Rage (profile) says:

Re: The Arbiter

SO, insisting that his kid’s have limits make them a loser in your eye’s eh?. NO, you’re the one that perhaps needs to

1)Shut off the computer

2)Go outside

3)DO sometning constructive

4)Grow up

5)Read Chris B’s post about kids being idiots however I would say I’d add “ignoring what I said” to the list of “how I’ll react” if they decide to try me. I personally don’t need the creep with the mustache selling books to tell me how to “stop backtalking, disrespect, upheaval” from MY teens.

BTW, prior to the 1950’s, there was little of this tripe of letting adolecents “find themselves” or having their “own space”. Dr.Benjamin Spock, the avowed Communist urged parents to just let kids have their way, to pitch tantrums,e tc. It was all “healthy”. You see where it got us?.

Aleena (user link) says:

They block their kids access, but take their places :)

We had recently a discussion with a parent who wanted to block their kids access to MySpace, Facebook and some other sites…He was talking about the dangers, the hackers, the predators, ohh there were so many discussion points..

But as i read this, i start to think that maybe he has already an account on Facebook and had some bad experiences or something. Otherwise, like The Arbiter said, responsible parents keep up with the kids and discuss about it, monitor maybe, not just block the access.

Brendan (profile) says:

I felt that way, but changed my mind

My parents both signed up within a few days of one another many months back, and both sent Friend Requests almost immediately.

At first I just didn’t add them (or my younger [11,13] brothers) but didn’t clear the request either — it just sat in limbo. I was debating this “coolness” thing myself back then. They sat in limbo like that for a month or two.

Then, I realized I didn’t really use the ol’ fBook very often myself, and posted even less of my life to it. To me it is mostly a self-updating contact list for when I need to get in touch with somebody I don’t talk to on a regular basis. With that paradigm, I no longer cared if my parents were on this list, and finally added them.

And I still don’t use facebook for daily communication. Mostly a link/comment sharing here and there.

Bob V says:

I view social networking sites as just another aspect of the kids lives. I keep up with what they are doing and try not to be intrusive. I wouldn’t follow the kids (teens btw) around the mall listening to their every conversation and I don’t believe that any parent should expect to follow their kids around any social networking sites and realistically believe that what they are seeing is their true online activities.

I can and do look at search terms and browser history to get a general feel for their moods and current issues as a trend.

As too the coolness factor. Any popular thing will have a certain halflife. Facebook has hit that halflife. If its a useful tool they it will continue to be relevant to the majority of its users. How cool is gmail. At one point in time having a gmail email address said something. Now its just another email in a world filled with email.

brent (profile) says:

Re: Re:

i find gmail to be the only permanent thing (i hope) i have on the internet.

had a aol address…lost that when i cancelled that account
had a university address…lost that when i graduated
had a mediacom address…lost that when i switched to DSL

finally gmail has stayed constant and i wont have to update everything whenever i do switch services. that is what gmail is good for. I dont think it ever “said” something as there were plenty of free emails when that came out (hotmail, yahoo, etc)

The Rage (profile) says:

Re: Heh BOB V.

I agree wtih you about the half-life, if that long, of anything “cool” but isn’t that the crux of everything that is trendy?. Personally, I know, not just believe, the problems with society in general has been the elevation of triviality, shallowness, and superficiality. In other words “it’s ALL about ME”. OR the Epitomy of down-right “Selfishness”. Isn’t the real problem with teens is that we adults permit this because we’re afraid to say “No”?

AND as far as not following your teens around in the Mall, why not?. Alot of mall’s have kicked unescorted teens out because quite frankly, they’re like Chris B said and I’ll add. “Idiots until they PROVE otherwise”. The proof of such is that

1)They become self-motivated to get up and do what they should without me nagging.

2)That they don’t lie, cheat, steal.

3)That they NEVER, EVER, sneak around. I hate “sneakiness” worse than up-front defiance.

4)They WILL show respect to all persons, especially those in authority while learning how being responsible leads to the purest form of true freedom.

5)That they are engrained with the need to be SELF-LESS/Serve others in need. Instead of walking around the Mall WASTING Precious time and becoming a pest, why don’t they go to a rest home and visit someone who is lonely?.Volunteer time with the Red Cross..Heck, I can think of alot of so-called adults who could drop the tennis and yoga classes and burn calories helping a neighbor in need clean their yard instead.

NO, we ALL think we’re “owed” some sort of special treatment just for existing instead of realizing the pinnacle of human accomplishment is to think of other’s first and foremost before oneself. You don’t have to be the next Mother Theresa, but there’s always someone deserving down on their luck.

Follow your kids Bob V. They might not want it. But they NEED it.

Random Guy says:

It's true

Facebook was originally meant for college people to stay connected. You couldn’t even sign up without a valid college email address.

Now that it’s opened to the world, it’s become another MySpace.

The “coolness” of the site was your ability to freely express yourself without the watchful eyes of people who don’t know how to stay out of your business (oh, and don’t forget EMPLOYERS who ABUSE FACEBOOK to keep watch on their employees.)

The whole … everything… about Facebook changed as soon as it opened to parents and “outsiders”. No one can post pictures anymore about having a good time with friends for fear that someone sticking their nose in your business will think you were acting “inappropriately”.

It’s about damage control now. I constantly am forced to log into Facebook so I make sure there’s nothing being uploaded or comments put on my page that could be misread or misunderstood by people who don’t understand the memes and inside jokes of our generation.

It’s downright embarrassing when your relatives leave “I love ya” notes or stream their news feed with sex quizzes or whatever. Srsly. wtf.

The Rage (profile) says:

Re: Here HERE Anon Coward!

Exactly!. The little kids need to PLAY, the older one’s need to do chores, do their homework, then join the family to watch tv. The result makes for a responsible, unselfish, well-rounded socially ADULT. It reminds me of a story where a father got so tired of seeing his sons “slouching” on the floor (remember that term “slouching”), he took the game controlers away from them and handed each a rake and said “Go to it”. He made them work. They whined. He added to the work.
It didn’t take long for them to 1)Help out without being asked much less nagged 2)They got in shape physically

I heard something about tweenies mentioned here. While doing school bus driving about 9 years ago, I had this one 11 year old girl tell me that “I had to show HER respect before she gave me any”…I told her she hadn’t “earned the right to breathe the same air as I did”…That she was a “CHILD”
She stormed-off pitching a tantrum. This was on a Friday. Monday morning 7am, Mom escorts same child to bus stop. Thinking “Ut Oh”, I was suprised to have Mom tell me “My Daughter has something to tell you sir”. Mom made the tweenie 1)Apologize not only to ME but the ENTIRE bus (of other kids) 2)Asked that I have her sit up front across from me. After overcomeing being overwhelmed, I thanked them both and from them on had nary a problem on that route the rest of the semester.

Just ONE parent commited that ONE SIMPLE (loving) Act and ALL those kids were effected by it.

Grow up ya’ll and BE the parent.

LexLuthor says:

Another social network can be spawned for all the “cool” chilluns who don’t want mommy & daddy around. Possible names for said new network:


I guarantee you anyone with more than 6 adult brain cells won’t bother and then all the tweeny teens now complaining can have their own ultra cool network.


Anonymous Coward says:

There is a current TV add by, I think, Verizon that humorously plays off this very point; a mother who bugs her daughter with continual “I love you” posts on Facebook and a father who uses Twitter for everything, much to his son’s annoyance.

Frankly, I am waiting for Catherine Zeta-Jones to show up at my doorstep to give me a “digital makeover”.

The Rage (profile) says:

Re: Re: Parents portrayed as stupid/Kids portrayed as "smart"

I dispise all commercials that try to sell a gadget by deriding someone. Hollywood has for decades pushed the idea that “Kids Smart/Parents Dumb”. NO, Kids are Idiots and too often the Parents are too. How?. By the parents acting childishly.

A few shows get it right though. Forget some of their names, but one in particular had this 15 year old “know-it-all” who would pull a stunt, and wind-up getting busted/making a mess out of things. Back in my time, we had “The Uncle Arthur Stories for Children” and “David and Goliath” clay-mation that showed what happens when children are left to their own devices. You don’t have to be particularily religious to believe “A Child left unto him/herself will only bring shame”(upon the household). Anyway, kids will always try to “take the easy way out”, cut corners, be inheritantly lazy (basically wanting the same attention as babies BUT let do whatever THEY want WHENEVER they want with ZERO consequences). That’s why you have so many adults on welfare today. A personal crisis that has become a national disastor.

What has this to do with Facebook/MySpace, you might add?. If the kids are afraid of their parents coming on there, then they the children/adolescents are only trying to HIDE what they INHERENTLY know is “wrong”. Nuff’. They know they shouldn’t be saying/doing it and don’t want Mom/Dad finding out about it.

Be the Parent.

Anonymous Coward says:

“I would think that you’d need to build in certain features to separate out groups easily, so that you could quickly dunk parents into a certain bucket, and friends into a different one, to make sure that lives are “kept separate.””

When I was a little kid every time I used a word or phrase my parents would start copying it and trying to use the same word/phrase in the same context. It annoyed me. So no, I don’t think this would work because parents often try to copy their children to be “cool” with their children no matter what the child does to distinguish himself/herself from the parents.

LostSailor (profile) says:

Hey! A way to stop P2P music sharing in its tracks!

Mike, you have hit on a great idea! Of course Facebook will cease to be “cool” once the parents start joining. That’s the nature of evolving technology. The kids will move on to the next cool thing.

Which leads me to speculate that the way to stop P2P music sharing dead in the water is to convince the parents of the world to start doing it. Once kids see their parents doing it and are overwhelmed by the Perry Como tracks, they’ll be begging to pay for music on “cool” sites again!

Jason says:

Who cares??

With the advent of social networking, cool just isn’t as cool as it use to be. It may be that a certain segment of insecure children aren’t sure how to deal with the older generation in a networking setting. On the other hand a lot of other kids are and it’s an interesting dynamic.

Suddenly people are interacting trans-generationally again. It’s like the notion of a community is actually coming back.

Aside from that, why would you dump someone at the top of the disposable income scale for someone who may or may not have a minimum wage job?

This pattern is nothing new. It’s simply the age-old product life cycle. Market maturation isn’t a problem. That’s where the cash is!

illegalprelude (user link) says:

I admit, I the idea of parents on FB weirds me out. Im 24 and I wont add my parents because FB is an escape where I can say obnoxious things and politically wrong and vulgar things between my friends where my parents might not get the humor or the tone.

Even more odd, when my girlfriends dad added me, that puts you in this weird uncomfortable spot where if he is now added, anything between you and her, little jokes and such, vulgar jokes, dry humor between us or me and my friend, he will see and that might change the light by which he judges me by.

So I for one cannot stand the thoughts of parents on FB.

sharon says:

cool or uncool

i think us adults can do our own thing on facebook to keep in contact with our friends so the youngies can get their own life if they think everthing is just for them. i don’t want to be added to the younger ones facebook. it will not be long b4 a youngster destroys the fun for them on facebook and we will be still sharing it amongst us oldies. as usual who is the ones to destroys the fun 4 everyone … take note..

sharon says:

cool or uncool

i think us adults can do our own thing on facebook to keep in contact with our friends so the youngies can get their own life if they think everthing is just for them. i don’t want to be added to the younger ones facebook. it will not be long b4 a youngster destroys the fun for them on facebook and we will be still sharing it amongst us oldies. as usual who is the ones to destroys the fun 4 everyone … take note..

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