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I Spy Facebook

I’m a new millennium Mata Hari.

I work behind the lines and I watch and listen. I very rarely report back. I just quietly keep an eye out for any funny business. Admittedly this is a dangerous admission. I may blow my cover completely, but I guess I’m willing to take the risk.

My children read this blog. Sometimes their friends read it too. I’ve even had a couple comment. I like to think they can comment and put in their two pence..

But I am a spy for the adult world.

Don’t panic teenage terrorists of mine! Or their friends!

It was not I who ‘told on you’ when you scaled that wall and gatecrashed the party and drank that bottle of vodka.

Not I.

But I did read your comments and those of your friends and I have been keeping a good-natured eye on you.

You see I know my friends aren’t as savvy on the computer as I, and I feel I have a duty to help keep you safe. In reality, as much as I love playing the role of the crazy ‘Aunty’ Vix, who you can talk to when lines with your parents are down, my first responsibility is truly to them – your parents, my friends.

It’s not that I don’t do everything I can to honour the trust you’ve shown me in befriending me on Facebook. I do everything! I don’t blab. I don’t think it’s my place to comment on this boyfriend or that girlfriend or Justin Bieber (don’t know if he’s somebody’s girlfriend or boyfriend?). I know that it’s very uncool to have your Mum’s friends commenting on your wall, so I try not to.

Though darling neice I am sorry about the comment on your photos page but you do look like my secret love child!

But in the spirit of ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, I like to think I’m doing a community service by helping to keep an eye out for our adults-in-training.

What do you think about befriending your children, and their friends on Facebook?

Would they allow you to? Would you want to?

How do you keep the lines of communication open between yourself and your kids?

If you spied one of your kids’ friends or one of your friend’s kids doing something harmful or outrageous would you tell their parents?

About 

Vegemitevix is the story of a crazy Kiwi travel blogger and expat Mum who swapped Vegemite for Marmite, Pavlova for Pork Pies, and beautiful beaches for Blighty all for the love of an Englishman she met in Paris. Now back in New Zealand Vegemitevix blogs about travel, expat life, parenting teenagers and how to blog. Please follow on Google + my Google Profile+.

Vicki Jeffels

Vegemitevix is the story of a crazy Kiwi travel blogger and expat Mum who swapped Vegemite for Marmite, Pavlova for Pork Pies, and beautiful beaches for Blighty all for the love of an Englishman she met in Paris. Now back in New Zealand Vegemitevix blogs about travel, expat life, parenting teenagers and how to blog. Please follow on Google + my Google Profile+.

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  • Nickie at Typecast

    Not sure about friends of friends but I do keep a close eye on young'un's FB pages.

    I wrote this for Mumable
    http://www.mumable.com/2010/05/social-networkin
    more geared around your own children but I suppose it could be extended.

    And, yes, if I saw that a child was at risk or in danger, I'd firstly try to steer them in the right direction, then, if that failed, I'd have to try and help in another way – if that involved the parents or guardian then so be it. I'd want someone to help my child.

  • michelloui

    Ive had a few friends of my daughter who I dont know try to friend me on face book and Ive ignored it. I am uncomfortable being friends with kids who I dont know for lots of reasons!

    However.

    I did join facebook originally so I could keep an eye on my kids. Glad I did. My stepson has been a bit naughty on there from time to time and Ive had to remind him that he's friends with little kids who will see some of the things he's been posting to his wall! Eek!!

  • http://bloggertropolis.blogspot.com/ Steve

    Tricky. My best mate's son – who doesn't get on well with his dad – came to me when he feared he'd got his girlfriend pregnant. He begged me not to tell him but I was at a loss as to how much I could help him (and his gf) without their parental involvement. However, I'd promised to keep his confidence so there was no way back from that. I gave him the best advice I could and also tried to pursuade him to tell his parents himself. In the end it all proved to be a false alarm but I found it sad that the kid couldn't talk to his own parents the one time he really needed to.

  • http://newdaynewlesson.com/ Susie @ Newdaynewlesson

    LOL-I have one son (18) who refuses to friend and the other (almost 20) who is my friend. My two younger kids 11 and 13 had no choice but to friend me plus I have their passwords and log on info.

    The two younger ones had a lot of talks by their teachers in school about internet safety and my kids took it seriously.

    I want my other son to friend me…I promise I won't post embarrassing photos on his wall.

  • vegemitevix

    I've been impressed with my kids, the two older ones both check out the blog and are even ever-so-slightly thrilled when they're on it. On Facebook I try to keep a respectful distance.

  • vegemitevix

    That's exactly the sort of problem I've encountered. I did have one teenager who really needed some help from his parents and I had to figure out an ingenious way of getting the message through without losing his trust. It is sad to think kids can't talk to their folks, but it's good that there is a global village of concerned netizens, isn't it?

  • vegemitevix

    I'm with you on this one. I try to encourage my young friends to remember that everything you post on FB or anywhere online is immortal and can come back to bite you in the bum. Being young and carefree, they don't always listen ;-p

  • vegemitevix

    It's the older ones who are a bit of a problem really. They want that independence but on the other hand they're not really ready for it. I have a couple of friends' kids who are my friends and I've never dobbed them in, though if something was really amiss I would definately try to sort it out with them first and then go to their parents. I'd hope people would do the same for me with my kids.

  • scribblingmum

    My 15 year old niece un-friended me on FB and it still hurts. But more than that I worry about what she's doing that she doesn't want me to see! The only one of us grown ups that she's still friends with is a tour manager for bands and knows famous people. Funny that. My sister is very trusting of it all but I do worry, you truly never do know whether people are who they say they are and, I agree with you, as a parent my allegiance would be to the other parent.

  • greerbeasty

    I would have no hesitation in telling my friends what their children are up to and so that the lines of communication weren't broken, it would be up to them as to how they told their child they knew what they had been up to. It's a crazy world out there for our kids now and we've just had a very promising young upstanding 15 year old boy die through stupidity in the form of knocking off a bottle of vodka at a party. I don't give a toss what the children think – Parents need to know all crazy risky behaviour.

  • vegemitevix

    Thanks Greerbeasty for commenting. It's good to have your perspective. The death you talk about is absolutely tragic. I think the difficult thing is that sometimes kids lose sight of the fact that we (the adults) know exactly what the risks are out there, simply because we've done many of them!

  • vegemitevix

    We must have the same sister! It's difficult for parents to have perspective about their children's behaviour. That's why it's helpful to have a global caring village of netizens, isn't it?

  • gappysinglemum

    Some of my friends children have asked to be my face-book friend and to be honest, I'm not really happy about it. I've accepted their friendship because what else can you do? But I don't want to be privvy to their teenage talk, and I don't really want them to be privvy to my business. Also I now have to think about whether what I'm posting is child appropriate which is annoying. Sometimes I can be a bit sweary you know? I think if someone elses child confided in me something which I felt their parents should know, I would find that a very difficult situation. My feeling is that peoples confidentiality should always be respected however, UNLESS there are some sort of child protection issues going on. I would always encourage a young person to disclose something important to their parents, but I don't think that parents necessarily have a 'right to know' what is going on in their teenagers life.

  • http://www.mumsgoneto.blogspot.com/ Trish @ Mum's Gone to

    My son has recently unfriended me but I didn't make a fuss. He has forgotten that a couple of his friends are still facebook friends so I can keep an eye on things. He doesn't seem to have anything to hide. However he logs on to the laptop in the kitchen each morning then goes to school, forgetting he is still logged on. So I have a quick check on things before logging him off. I would have no hesitation in wading in if necessary.

  • http://www.mumsgoneto.blogspot.com/ Trish @ Mum's Gone to

    My son has recently unfriended me but I didn't make a fuss. He has forgotten that a couple of his friends are still facebook friends so I can keep an eye on things. He doesn't seem to have anything to hide. However he logs on to the laptop in the kitchen each morning then goes to school, forgetting he is still logged on. So I have a quick check on things before logging him off. I would have no hesitation in wading in if necessary.

  • vegemitevix

    Mum's have to be a little sneaky sometimes..don't they!

  • http://www.momentsofwhimsy.wordpress.com Cate

    Babe – I've been doing it for years. Started with keeping an eye on the Myspace & bebo pages prior to the facebook phenomenon. Quite frankly, I think parents are mad to let their kids have access to the cyber world without being prepared to take the time and keep and eye out on things.

  • Mrs TeePot

    I accepted friend requests from my mum’s “cool” friends when I was a teen! Only the cool ones mind! 

    • Anonymous

      Oooh I like thinking I’m one of the cool Mums! I do try to not overstep the
      mark and I think they mostly forget I’m on the friends’ list.

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