More parents are using Facebook to connect with their kids

More parents are joining Facebook and some Biola students aren’t sure how to feel.

Abbey Bennett, Writer

More students are staying in touch with their parents through Facebook, but some say the social media divides rather than connects their relationships with their parents.

Seventy-six percent of parents have friended their teenagers on Facebook while just under 30 percent of those teens would like to un-friend their parents, according to an AOL study released last month done by The Nielsen Company.

Staying away from parents in a modern age of technology has become difficult for most students, however, and some say they are taking advantage of what social media offers them.

When students’ parents attended college, they seldom talked on the phone and often did not see their parents until Thanksgiving or Christmas.

“We didn’t talk much on the phone because it cost money,” said Sharleen Larson, mother of two Biola students, Luke and Mary Larson. “I attended Seattle Pacific [University] and whenever I would call home, we would have to plan it. It was a big event to have a phone call. Now I talk to [my children at Biola] every other day. I feel really in touch with them.”

Now students can text, tweet, email and Skype at any given moment. Due to the many ways to stay connected through modern technology, many students say it seems like they never leave home.

Teens and parents alike are now found wondering if this technology benefits or hinders parent-student relationships.

Some students said they feel like their parents are finding more and more ways to humiliate them through Facebook. Parents look through pictures and make ridiculous comments, or they find all their student’s new friends and add them. Many students said their parents are intruding.

“[My boyfriend’s] dad was able to find me on Facebook and messaged me before Daniel and I were even boyfriend and girlfriend,” said sophomore Catalina Dow. “Daniel was highly embarrassed. That was definitely a moment where parental involvement on Facebook was slightly nerve racking. Now they can look up who we like and possibly message them. That’s a little scary.”

“My mom has never been the most up-to-date on social networking,” said freshman Marisa Fedukowski. “I am critical of my mom getting a Facebook account because she may become a ‘junkie.’ It’s not so much about what I don’t want her to see, but what she might say to others.”

Other students, however, said they don’t think their parents are intruding. Rather, they enjoy it when their parents see a little of their life at their home away from home.
“I do not feel that my parents are too intrusive,” sophomore Courtney Evans said. “I love calling my parents to tell them to get on Facebook to look at my new photos so that they can see what I am up to.”

Other students post things that they are later embarrassed to see, or will hinder them in relationships with friends, colleagues, employers and parents.

“Anything you put online will follow you the rest of your life,” said public relations professor Will Simon.

Some students said they realize the risks of putting information online and do not mind if their parents see what they post.

“My parents both have Facebook and I am friends with them,” said junior Peter Heald. “It doesn’t bother me because I don’t put anything online without knowing everyone can see it.”

Fedukowski said her parents just want to stay up to date on her life.

“My mom always says she just wants to see what I’m up to, and I know it’s only because she really cares about me.” Fedukowski said.

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