Lots of people friend their children on Facebook. When I speak with groups of parents someone almost always mentions how parent/child friending solves the problem of knowing a bit more about what is happening in a child’s social media universe.
Facebook allows users to set up tiers of friends, giving each group specific types of access to status updates. One such friending level is “restricted.”
I’ve experimented with various levels of Facebook friendship over the past several months. I’ve discovered it that it’s easy to put people into various groups, and I can target some of my status updates to certain groups. I now have six or seven groups.
Most of my updates go to a small group of family, school, church, and community friends. I’ve organized several groups of friends who are fun to keep in touch with, but I don’t know them that well, so they are a step removed from people with whom I interact day in and day out. For instance I have a group of former students and I’m fond of them, but I don’t know them that well anymore, so they don’t need to see everything that I post. Likewise, some friends of my adult daughter don’t need to see all of my posts either — they’d be bored.
I tried moving people in and out of a restricted group, limiting just about everything they could see to my most public content and asking them to keep track of what they saw for a few days. Sure enough, by putting a friend in a restricted group any Facebook user can be assured that only barest number of status updates are visible.
So a lot of parents may be seeing some pretty tame status updates (or maybe none at all).