Back in the early days of Facebook, it was considered a real mistake for parents to friend their children and especially their children’s friends. This resulted in the Facebook etiquette phenomenon for kids to limit their profile so the parents could only see certain information.
As Facebook became the most ubiquitous social network with well over a billion users, the younger and older generations grew to share the network equally and understand it’s value as a place for community engagement.
As Facebook matured, so did the user base and those prior limits that kids imposed on their parents are no longer relied upon.
Kids and parents alike now rely on unwritten rules of Facebook etiquette. Most of them are a set of “Don’ts”.
If you are a parent yourself, don’t make these Facebook etiquette mistakes.
Bad Facebook Etiquette
1. Don’t pressure your kids over 18 years old to fully open up their profile to you. Even though they’re your babies, they are now adults who make their own decisions and can expect to reserve some privacy.
Don’t be offended though. Down the track, your kids may loosen up a bit and let you in.
2. Don’t comment on every single picture posted on your kids’ wall or status update. At least you could pretend not to be stalking them.
3. Don’t like every single status update. Liking everything is like the boy who cried wolf. Clicking ‘like’ is not to be used as an acknowledgement that you’ve seen the status. ‘Like’ only if the status is worth liking. Not all are.
4. Do not request to be friends with your children’s friends. It’s creepy and may be stepping over the line.
If that child is under 18 and you have a legitimate reason, you may want to get permission from their parents first before even sending the request.
5. Don’t reveal private arrangements in comments or status updates.
“See you tomorrow at our house at 3” may seem harmless enough, but it’s a general rule not to give burglars a heads up that your kid’s place will be unattended at a certain time. Instead, send such comments in private messages.
6. Don’t tag your kids in embarrassing photos. Actually, don’t upload those pictures at all. Scrutinize every picture and decide whether your kid would be okay with it being online permanently – yes, pictures stay online forever!
7. Don’t be the first to reveal big news of family members. Give them a chance to do it first.
8. Don’t fight with friends of your kids via comments. Sometimes kids will post comments on pictures or statuses that may seem offensive to a parent but are just playful schoolyard banter.
If you are concerned about bullying, ask your child first before jumping into a slanging match.
9. Don’t post vague status updates that can worry your children or designed to generate concern and attention. “Gee, I hope my husband is OK”.
10. Don’t post complaint after complaint. Hey, here’s an idea. Try post something positive, a silver lining, a nugget of gold for the day. Don’t use Facebook to vent all the time.
11. Don’t only post overly lovey-dovey, ‘look how great my life is’, spiritual wisdom type updates.
These have their place in the right context but won’t appeal to everyone and may make your life look a bit fake.
Nobody’s perfect, even those lucky enough to have the perfect life at certain moments. If you’re in that boat, show some humility around your more unfortunate Facebook friends.
12. If someone has deleted a comment you posted on their wall, status or picture, it’s probably for a good reason. Don’t get mad. Think about whether your comment was inappropriate and just let it slide. Take it on the chin.
13. Don’t post too often. A few times a day may be the upper limit for most friends, where others may have a higher tolerance. A general rule: If you have nothing important to say, don’t say anything at all.
14. Don’t share pictures without permission. On Facebook, a user who shares a photo with their friends only (as opposed to publicly) has intentionally limited the reach of that photo. When you come along and share that photo with your own friends, it’s kind of like sharing a private conversation.
The same goes for status updates. It’s not your place to make these things public if it was never intended to be.
If you want to avoid the dreaded ‘unfriend’ situation, take notes from 13 Reasons To Un-Friend On Facebook And In Real Life.
Also read 38 Things Not To Share On Social Networking Sites.