Social Spies: Parents Join Facebook To Keep Tabs On Their Kids
February 18, 2013

Social Spies: Parents Join Facebook To Keep Tabs On Their Kids

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

It´s a statistic which nearly any teenager or college-student will readily verify. According to the Education Database Online, one half of all parents on Facebook are there purely to keep tabs on their offspring. What´s more, 43 percent of parents polled said they visited their child´s Facebook page daily, looking at pictures from the previous weekend and reading wall posts.

The Education Database Online shares a few more interesting factoids about the ways parents use Facebook.

According to a lovely infographic, parents (particularly moms) have been joining Facebook at a steady clip. In 2010, half of all the moms in America had a Facebook account. This number has been growing since, with 62 percent of moms owning an account in 2011 and 72 percent by the end of 2012.

Of all the parents on Facebook, an overwhelming majority (92 percent) are “friends” with their kids.

These parents told the Education Database Online that they simply want to “keep tabs” on their kids, which isn´t a malicious desire to have when you´re a parent. As many as 31 percent of these parents say they virtually check-in on their kids as many as 4 to 5 times a week; 14 percent say they look at their kids´ Facebook “sporadically,” while only 1 percent of these parents say they “never” look at their kids´ Facebook page.

The report found that parents aren´t asking for much, either. 41 percent of them are most interested in what their kids have to say via status updates. 39 percent are interested in who their kids are friends with and what these friends are saying on their wall, and 29 percent say they´re most interested in the pictures their kids have been tagged in.

Though Facebook is still often seen as a college-exclusive club, there are other kids on Facebook, younger kids. The Education Database Online found that when kids are younger--say 13 years old--they´re more willing to befriend their parents on Facebook. 63 percent of these early teens actually initiate the Facebook friendship first, proving once and for all that 13-year-olds are completely lame.

Somewhat surprisingly, only a small percentage of teens said they were embarrassed by comments left on their Facebook profile by their parents. Only 1 in 3 said their parents left cringe-worthy comments, most likely using words like “all grown up,” or "baby.”

Another 30 percent said they´d like to “unfriend” their parents on Facebook if they could. These teens are clearly unfamiliar with Facebook´s privacy settings which allows them to restrict access to their page to a select group of people, such as parents, potential employers and former lovers.

Facebook has in many ways changed the way we interact with one another and the way we go through our daily lives. It´s not surprising that parents would want to have access to their child´s Facebook page, and it´s even less surprising that any kind of friction exists here.

Yet, Facebook will likely be around for a while, carrying with it further friction between parents and their children, employers and their recruits, and even privacy advocates and the company itself.

For now it seems the best way to return fire, at least as far as the parent-child relationship goes, is for teens to begin stalking their parents´ profiles, looking for past lovers and maybe even asking these people for a few stories.