Are you spying on your kids on Facebook?By Pam Pastor
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Uh-oh, my mom is trying to add me on Facebook.”
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard this from friends, panicking about their parents’ desire to enter their social media world.
I’m friends with both my parents on Facebook. I’m even friends with my grandparents. And no, I don’t try to control their settings—they can see everything I post and they have complete access to my wall, which is probably why my grandma has started liking my photos from years ago.
My mother is a Facebook wiz. She has it down pat—she posts photos and videos, updates her status regularly, and shares links and memes and tags like there’s no tomorrow.
Facebook chair and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will not be pleased with my father. On the day he signed up to the site, he thought the status bar was a search bar. And I was horrified to discover that his first search wasn’t for his devoted daughter —it was for a noontime show nip-slip.
It was only minutes later that he decided to type “chat with pam pastor” in the status bar, after his search for Anne Curtis failed. I’m not surprised that he has completely stopped using the site.
My grandma, a Facebook newbie (she signed up in January, after my uncle gave her an iPad mini for Christmas), is the queen of hilarious comments. When I posted a photo of myself in a wedding, with one of my friends holding up a bottle of Absolut Vodka behind me, she replied: “Like you, Pam… but not the bottle of vodka at your back sana mineral water na lang HEHEHE…”
And when she saw a photo of me with the other bridesmaids in the church, she posted, “Ganda! Apo ko ’yan! Pam payat ka?” And when I said no, I still wasn’t payat, she wrote: “Payat na even by faith! You can have what u say! Psalm 37:4 ‘Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart! AMEN AMEN!’”
Her Facebook comments are so funny that my friends go to my page just to see if she’s posted anything.
I took a quick survey to find out if people my age and younger are as open as I am to connecting with their parents on Facebook.
I discovered that a number of them—Larissa Mae Tan, 29; Chezka Arellano, 28; Paolo, 18; Zi, 24; and Myeth, 30—are friends with their parents on Facebook, and give them full access to their posts.
David Sta. Maria, 29, even helped his parents register their accounts.
Charmaine Palermo, 32, said, “I’m friends with my mom and I let her see everything. I really have nothing to hide. Good that when my mom joined Facebook, I wasn’t going out often anymore and I’ve been good.”
There are those who aren’t Facebook friends with their parents—but only because their parents do not use the social-networking site. “No, my parents can’t even use Microsoft Office, much less the Internet,” said Nico Quejano, 28.
Some of them consider that a blessing. Charlie, 27, said, “I’m lucky because my parents don’t really have the patience to go online, so they don’t have Facebook! I have other relatives I’m friends with, though, but I screen the posts. I usually block them from posts or photos when I’m having a few drinks or partying, or when I talk about things I know would upset them—tattoos, politics, religion.”
But some kids of parents who aren’t Internet savvy say they wouldn’t mind connecting with their parents online if they decided to take the social networking plunge. “I’d be okay with showing them everything,” said Aubrey Bautista.
Sonny Rodriguez, 22, said he might screen his posts if his parents decided to start using Facebook. “’Yong angsty posts at medyo naughty, I’d definitely hide it from them and my relatives, hahaha!”
Other people aren’t Facebook friends with their parents by choice. “I don’t have any plans of adding them or accepting their friend request,” said Jigs, 24.
Nyko Rodriguez, also 24, said, “I’m not friends with my parents on Facebook. I love them, but I don’t want them to see everything I do. Example: Boys. Haha. Everything talaga ’yong boys?!”
Majority of the people I talked to say they are friends with their parents on Facebook, but they restrict what their parents can see. Facebook gives its users control over who sees which posts—there are settings that can be used to hide status updates, photos and even their entire wall from individuals or groups.
“They don’t see anything from my feed,” said Frank, 28.
When asked what kind of posts he hides from his parents, Josh Mags, 24, said, “All posts not relevant to them. In short, it’s very rare that they see my posts.”
Miko, 26, is only friends with her mom. “Dad thinks Facebook is a waste of time. I control their access so that they can’t post random or old photos on my wall. But I let them see everything.”
Some Facebook users say previous experiences have led them to change their privacy settings. Sheena Ong, 29, said, “I limit the stuff they see because I already had a bad experience with them making unnecessary comments on my picture or status. They only see our basic family pictures.
The rest, especially recent pictures, I hide from them since they have the tendency to publish my pictures publicly, as they don’t know how to make their settings private in Facebook.”
Emma, 16, said, “I don’t let them see everything because they like to comment weird stuff on my posts. When I’m, like, with my friends, I think it’s weird when they comment on those.”
Czarina Maye, 25, said that while her parents have access to all her posts, she sometimes jokes about blocking them. “So far I still allow them (to see everything). But they’ve been pretty paranoid about my posts. May follow-up questions on why I posted this or that. Medyo hassle at times to explain, so as much as possible, I don’t post na lang para no questions. Binibiro ko minsan na I’ll block them para they won’t see my updates, but siyempre ayaw ko naman ng ganun.”
Nothing to hide
Carla Bianca Ravanes, 24, said her mom doesn’t have her own Facebook account but sometimes borrows hers to check up on old friends or relatives. “They see everything on my account. I guess it was different from when I was younger. Now I have learned to filter what I post so as not to embarrass myself or my parents. Now there’s no longer anything to hide. I only post what I would not be ashamed to do or say in public.”
As David Sta. Maria said, “I think Facebook should be treated like any other human interaction. If you don’t want others to learn about a certain activity, don’t do it—or at the least, leave no damning evidence.”
Irene Andrea Perez, 31, said her mom knew her better since they have become Facebook friends. “I was a little wary when my mom started using Facebook and extended family added me up, but it helped. They’re unrestricted. Mom now knows what I’ve been doing, who I am with, where I am (I cross-post via Instagram, Twitter and Foursquare)—better relationship, less questions. And the best thing: most relatives have stopped asking when I’m getting married. They realized I’m busy and happy.”