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There is a big storm while I am writing – This is one of my collages – It says “In London, it rains all the time but we are happy”.
I am getting older and none the wiser. And no, I am not moaning. I have some evidence to prove my point today. Here we go: I received a friend request, on Facebook, of one of my 11-year old daughter’s friend.
First of all, I didn’t know that children could have a Facebook account. According to Facebook’s rules you need to be 13 but it seems that every girl in primary school has one.  Maybe it is specific to London. How come no one had told me? My daughter doesn’t have one (yet), I don’t want her to (but she writes a very good blog. I am an unconventional mother, I know and it is hard work). Anyway, it took me a while and a cup of coffee to understand that the girl, let’s call her D, who wanted to be my FB friend was in fact the one I have known since she was 4.
I accepted D’s request. And then, I made a major mistake. I posted a message on her wall, asking her how she was, and explaining how weird it was that she was so grown-up now.
This is against the etiquette. You are supposed to accept your daughter’s friend request and never say anything. Not a single word. It is embarrassing for her, you see. So here we go, I am an embarrassing Mum. The message got back to me via my daughter. I have posted something on her friend’s wall. What a weirdo I am! Mums are not supposed to do that. I didn’t know. How hopeless is this?
Maybe she will de-friend me? Let’s wait and see.  Anyway, I can’t help thinking that things have really changed since I was 11 (can you believe that we didn’t know what FB was then?) and I am officially old and out of touch.

But the good news is that I received a very good response to my last post on this blog. Thanks for all comments. I will keep you posted. Suffice to say that it is not a question of if but rather a question of when. Watch this space!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • I can’t imagine having a FB page at that age. I fear for what I am going to have to deal with when my little guy gets older. 🙂

  • I’m glad my girls are well beyond that – in fact, they were “adults” by the time FB was created.

  • Joy

    FB and kids….another thing for me to add to my list of things to fear in the future, lol! I wasn’t aware of such ‘etiquette’ either, Muriel, so thanks for pointing that out! But don’t sweat it…as they say, “When you know better, you do better” ;-))

  • Three years ago I taught a class of 11 year olds and they were all using Facebook and MSN. I wondered about what parental controls were in place and safety on the net. The internet can be a great tool for learning but also uncharted waters for the unsuspecting.
    As for the embarassing Mum bit, well I think all us Mums fill those boots at some time. If we didn’t we wouldn’t fulfilling our role as proper Mums

  • It is my personal belief that children should not have Facebook accounts until they are at least 14 and then it should be supervised. I can hear children gasping but parents are there to be parents, not their children’s best friend. For some parents it is a babysitter, just like T.V. and other media. We are not impressed!

  • Just today my son (who turned 18 recently) told me he was going to friend me again. You see, he blocked me, which is worse than unfriending because the person becomes invisible to you! Actually I’ve made quite a few mentions of facebook in my blog, including the one about blocking, here:

    http://siftingthegrain.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/blocked/

  • There are many children on fb. There are also registered sex offenders.I’ve had one thrown off twice and this creep uses other peoples accounts too so the weirdos are finding ways to circumvent the rules. Kids need to be careful online and it’s a big job for parents to supervise them.

  • I received a FB friend request from a friend’s 9 year old son the other day. I rejected it. He’s too young to be on FB and he’s not really my FRIEND – he’s 9 years old! 🙂

  • My daughter’s friend was packing to move to Florida last month, and her mother told me she’s been devastated.

    While using my daughter’s notebook, I received a note from Hannah on Skype. I let her know that it was not Maddie (my daughter), but me. But I also mentioned that it would be a good thing to see this as a new adventure… That this new move would be what she made of it. She thanked me and told me to tell Maddie to call her.

    A couple hours later, my daughter tore into the room and screeched that I’d embarrassed her.

    So, yes, talking to kids’ friends. Not allowed. Parents are the enemy. Communication is forbidden.

  • I know how you feel. Den’s daughter has asked for a Facebook account but we, and thankfully her Mum, have declined saying she is not old enough yet (she is 13). I know we will need to revisit the subject soon enough…but at the moment she is accepting of i. It still doesn’t stop her from exploring You Tube – which is worse?

  • Kids do need to be careful online but I think parents also need to get used to a new mode of communication and socializing. I’m older and *slowly* getting wiser, MuMuGB! My 15- and 14- year old boys have FB. I have been ‘friended’ by some of their friends, and learned some of the same etiquette you have but certainly have not thought twice about verbalizing my own ’embarrassing mom’ comments like “Your grandmother’s going to read that you know. You ok with that?!!” My 10-year old daughter does NOT have FB – much to her consternation. It can wait.
    I tried to go the route of parental controls but couldn’t keep up with the access requests for every single sports site my oldest wanted to access so I gave up. Until this past year, the family room computer was the only one with Internet access for them and they just had to get used to POS while on FB (“parent over shoulder”).

  • I have no FB friends under 18, Muriel. But, that doesn’t keep me from embarrassing myself every once in a while. 🙂 I’m sure – after a few OMGs – the kids will get over it. ;D

  • I had so much reading this. Though FB says you should be 13, but kids are way smarter. I have a 11 year old cousin who has an FB account and I am supposed to get in touch with her through FB messages. Supposedly, the adding thing is just to increase the number count of friends, every friend on FB and every follower on twitter makes them feel that they might be the next GAGA!

    Also, if you want to compliment them then you can definitely use the wall! Makes them look very cool among their friends. Also, don’t pry, they find out and get very upset, its like they leave the door open to their bedroom but you peep in and they get offended!

    P.S. She won’t un-freind you, probably just delete the wall post of yours! Good Luck understanding it when they become teenagers!

  • I agree – times are different and to remain connected with our kids, we have to grow and be expansive. Both my kids have accounts and they friended me – I am mindful of their space and they of mine, something my own Mother never was, so I take care. I want then to trust me and me them… it’s a fine line, and truly on you want to walk because you want to know what they are up to without appearing to be watching. It requires 007 type skills.

  • My children are adults so I know I’m past it, but I just can’t see why a child that age needs to be on facebook, or even have a cell phone for that matter! There’s time enough for all of that!

  • My great-nephew, age 12, “friended” me on FB. Then I read a message from him in which he invited “everyone” to a party at his friend’s home, and almost “everyone” showed up – except for me, of course. Just goes to show what can happen when a kid has a FB page.
    I don’t see the point of kids “friending” older persons or vice-versa, mainly because our interests don’t coincide, but also, you may not them to read your “for adults only” messages.

  • My 11 year old niece has an FB page and I will not accept the friend request. Maybe that makes me a mean auntie, but I don’t need the hassle of being bitched at by my brother in and and sister in law for how much I cuss and their daughter seeing it. So, no kids allowed! Saves everyone the uncomfortable discussions 🙂

  • I am scared stiff of FB. I don’t know who can see what and half the time I cn’t tell who’s talking to whom. I’ve officially become an old guy who’s put of touch…

    On a similar note, my mother posted a comment on my blog. I’m trying to be all snarky and bitter–and anonymous to protect my son. She leaves one of those “I’m so proud of you, son” comments. I guess I’ve been on both ends of it.

  • My 12 year old asks me for one all the time and I say no! I never thought of myself as oldfashioned or anything, 🙂 , but I think kids have NO idea how dangerous the internet can be. Over here on this side of the pond, all of her friends have them. I personally don’t friend anyone under the age of 18 unless they are closely enough related to me to know how crazy I am 🙂 .
    Have a great weekend, Muriel. Oh…. sure glad to see that little update here at the end of your post. Good to hear!!

  • I find fb strange too as it is more personal than twitter yet so many people whi befriended me are not real life friends and I am confused by the etiquette

  • You’re absolutely right. FB is a different world! I think children definitely need STRICT supervision when they are on it. Too many weirdos out there…

  • First of all, if FB catches on, they’ll close the account and likely ban her from creating future ones.

    I don’t entirely agree with this policy, but I think some provision should be made for a PARENT to open an account on behalf of a child, and maintain supervision of it (and the ability to lock it, change passwords, etc.) along with some responsibility should the child’s conduct be unacceptable.

    But apparently I’m an “unconventional mum,” myself.

    I’m just learning the “etiquette,” which is confusing because it varies with the age and temperament of the child. My son enjoyed exchanging Flair and playing MyFarm with me, until he got bored of Facebook altogether and now refuses to open an account at all. My daughter and I have unfriended one another several times – finally working out that neither of us has “control” over the other, and learning that we can delete posts from our wall if they annoy us. It helps that she’s in her twenties, now, instead of in her teens. I’m not nearly so odious to a fellow adult. Where teens are concerned, it’s best just to “Like” the occasional post and constrain your activity to PMs and letting them post on YOUR wall, occasionally. Or send them produce, diner food, and mafia gear, if that’s what they’re into. It’s the thought that counts, truly – just don’t voice the thought aloud, where their friends might notice.

  • Anonymous

    I would think I’d better like to be out of touch than leaving kids alone with Internet. I don’t fancy facebook myself and I would never have thought 10/11 years old kids were already on, quite disturbing really.
    Glad to hear that your plan is still on. Have a great week.
    MARIE

  • Hello Muriel –

    Oh the nerve of you mothers today. You’re unbelievable. How dare you! I am shocked! You said hello to your daughters friend, the one you’ve known since age 4. You are such an uncool mum and should sit in the corner on time out, for a day or two, so you learn your uncool lesson. Hahaha. Bad Mumma Muriel, sooo bad! 🙂

  • I understand what you are saying exactly, but I have two firm rules for social media. I never friend any child. And I never friend people I am currently working with. On Facebook I can control this, but on Twitter it is a bit trickier. Good luck…our grandkids are 6 and so far are only interested in swimming and four wheelers.

    ~cath xo
    @jonesbabie on Twitter