Parents on Facebook: Be careful what you post

by Nicole Yi

MCT Campus

The “Not Now” option for Facebook friend requests may be one of life’s greatest necessities. For some, the amount of mutual friends you and the potential “friend” share is an important factor. But what do you do when you receive a dreaded request from a parent or relative?

Adding parents on Facebook can be a lose-lose situation. If you accept them, you have to be in control of your privacy settings and manage statuses to make sure they are viewer appropriate. If you deny their request, you will most likely get a “Am I not hip enough for you” or a “What are you trying to hide” response. For college students, Facebook is a medium to keep in touch with friends and those back home, but how can users show friends they’re having the time of their life while hiding those red cup photos or dangerous “tags” from their folks?

One of the annoying issues about adding parents on Facebook is posting pictures. What may seem like a typical still shot of a college student to us may alarm parents. San Diego State theater sophomore Michelle Jared deals with similar situations daily.

“My mom will call me right after I post a picture telling me my bathing suit is too revealing and to take it down,” Jared said. “It’s really annoying when I have to constantly regulate my online activity and any slip can lead to a longlecture.”

These pesky calls can be avoided easily by customizing your viewers with controllable privacy settings, users are able to select who can or cannot see statuses and pictures.

Funny statuses may stir up laughter in the dorms, but can generate anger in the household. For business junior Jesse Scott, an inappropriate status update prompted a response from his mother.

“I posted, ‘That was funny as tits’ and my mom called screaming, ‘How can tits be funny, Jesse?’ and made it such a big deal,” Scott said.

A social networking site serving us as a good leisurely distraction can also spark potential conflicts if not carefully managed. Since most parents who are Facebook users are not quite as tech savvy as we are, the advantage is ours. When accidentally posting something not meant for parents’ eyes, go back to the particular post and utilize the hidden pencil icon that appears when hovered over. This gift from Mark Zuckerberg allows users to edit old posts without any trace of doing so. Revise your words and tell your parents to take a second look. Chances are they’re unaware of the editing feature.

Facebook can be annoying, but it has perks that make communicating convenient for college students. Music education sophomore Jessica Kovach hasn’t experienced any problems with her parents being active Facebook users.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” Kovach said. “It’s one way my parents and I keep in touch.” A good guideline is if you don’t want parents to see it, then you probably should not post it. For Kovach, displaying appropriate posts helps her avoid such issues all together.

“I make sure not to post anything I’d have to hide,” she said.

As our generation increasingly uses social networking, our parents do as well. Fully utilize the functions Facebook offers to regulate parental controls in your life. Or better yet, hold onto those pictures as personal keepsakes. The whole world doesn’t have to know what you did last Friday.