It’s surprisingly distressing to discover your teen no longer wants to be your friend.
I’m pretty sure that I was friendly with my parents and that they liked being my friend, apart from loving me of course.
Of course when I was growing up if I didn’t feel in a friendly mood it was quite easy to escape them, you went off to see a friend or got on your bike and took off. They had no way to contact you unless you touched down at a friend’s house and they phoned you.
Keeping out of their way and keeping some things private were quite easy, particularly if you had parents who weren’t about to pry open your diary. Mine weren’t probably because they were terrified they would find tortured teen poetry in it.
Of course with the advent of cellphones
, the internet and social media one’s social and private life have become pretty much open books. Teens are letting it all hang out on Facebook and so are their parents, but what happens when your teenage son aged 15 decides to “defriend” you? Should you feel relieved that you no longer need to be informed about what group he has joined, or should you be deeply concerned?
Mine decided to dump me this week. I think that it was probably something I threatened to write on his wall, although to be honest I look at his Facebook profile a whole lot less than he thinks, I simply don’t have the time or the inclination. Who Facebooked first?
The joke is of course that I was on Facebook before he was being a cutting-edge social media junkie (although I confess I don’t tweet or twitter
). I also admit that when he was younger I did monitor the sites he joined and sometimes make suggestions that he review whether he really wanted to be associated with some of the sentiments and language expressed on them, and he took my advice.
Of course when I was informed that I had been culled I immediately posted that as my Facebook status, and got back a mixed bag of responses. They ranged from: ‘about time you creepy mom why would you want to be his friend anyway and it’s totally age appropriate for him to dump you’, to ‘whoops watch out what doesn’t he want you to see?’
I have come to the conclusion: I trust my son, not blindly and I do control where he goes and keep a weather eye open for disturbing social trends, but he is highly unlikely to confess these to anyone on Facebook anyway. I really don’t care what he and his friend’s yatter on about, probably as little as he cares what I say to mine. And finally I actually don’t really want him to read my status updates or comments to friends.
So, even if he were to beg me with multiple requests to refriend him I would turn him down. I am taking the approach that ‘what happens in cyberspace stays in cyberspace’ and I am ready to be flamed for that from those who all believe the internet is one giant hunting ground for bad people.
I have taught my children the basics of online safety
, and they have learned it at school so if he wants a bit of privacy then I really don’t mind.
PS: I am quite glad my daughters still want to be my friends but I guess it’s just a matter of time.
Are you your child’s Facebook friend? Should you be?Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.