Friending Your Kids on Facebook and "Cool" vs. Strict Parenting

August 25,2010
Erin Dower( )
A new report shows that more than 70 percent of parents surveyed are friends with their child on Facebook. And 41 percent of the households said it's a rule that the kids must be friends with the parents if they're going to be on Facebook.

Facebook seems like one more tricky part of modern parenting. Do you keep a close watch on the kids and set tight guidelines? Or do you keep the reins loose and allow kids to independently make good and safe choices? Something in between these two paths seems just right... and then you hear some scary fact – like the finding in the new report that half of the teens surveyed (they polled 500 kids age 13 to 17) have friends on Facebook who they don't personally know. Internet safety is a whole new ball game with elementary and middle school-age kids entering social media.

We've met or heard of parents at opposite ends of the spectrum: the "cool" parent (maybe she shares skimpy clothes with her daughter and hosts drinking parties for her son) and the one who rules with an iron fist (like the strict Texas dad who punished his daughter for breaking her curfew by printing a newspaper ad for her to do 30 hours of free babysitting). Going to extremes can mess up your child, it seems, so you can't plot your course too carefully when it comes to parenting styles.

Good luck finding middle ground! Being friends on Facebook but not spying on your child's every post seems like a safe place to start.

Check out more info and tips on parenting teens and tweens here.