Oh No, My Parents Are On Facebook!

Be honest, how many of you have wondered what your ex-girlfriend or boyfriend looks like today? Well, I’m sure it’s safe to assume that most people have had someone in their past that has crossed their mind and you’ve taken a brief moment to consider how they are today.

Enter social media.

Over the years my husband and I have faced the challenges of raising our children in a day when things like setting rules about talking on the phone doesn’t have anything to do with a 15 minute time limit, but whether they would be allowed to have a cellular device. Among the usual parental supervision we are forced to monitor things like e-mails, instant or text messaging and what they’re doing on the internet. Enter Facebook.

We really did have our concerns when this concept was first introduced to us. Because they could restrict who had access to them and what was on their page, we allowed them to participate. For years I viewed it as a teen trend similar to what the latest style of jeans were. Funny how things change.

I remember about four years ago when an adult acquaintance of ours sent us an invitation to view his Facebook page. I also remember laughing about it. It actually crossed my mind at the time that perhaps his interest in being on Facebook had something to do with a midlife crisis. My first impression of grown adults getting involved in an adolescent arena eventually turned from humor, to surprise to peer pressure.

It became a weekly request from friends until the day my husband, a marketing specialist, entered into the world of digital media. You guessed it, his company handled some of the advertising for Facebook and I had no choice but to surrender. Enter our children.

I can only imagine it was along the same lines as the feeling you had when your parent still wanted to hold your hand in public. To their credit, our girls handled the intrusiveness with the same grace and ability to fake it that they deal with all things about us they consider embarrassing, unfair or just plain weird.

For me it took some getting used to but it didn’t take me long to get hooked. My hesitation stemmed from how Facebook related to my children’s world but my participation now has very little to do with them. I’ll occasionally pop onto their page to monitor them, remind them that my birthday is coming up or to make good choices. You know, to be obnoxious or test their embarrassed meter. However, that’s rare.

I can’t tell you how many people have contacted me or I have found that I haven’t thought of in years. Admittedly I have experienced a few brief moments of being a bit stunned when I was a ‘Facebook newbie”. Initially I was horrified at the thought of an old boyfriend finding me or someone posting an awful photo of me. Both of which have happened and yes, I survived (and then I learned how to block, screen and control my privacy settings).

Since beginning my Facebook page I have laughed at old jokes, cooed at new babies, participated in fun surveys, discovered old friends and learned about their new lives. I have supported great causes, threatened my husband (I would change my status on Facebook to single if he posted any bad pictures of me), done a much better job of keeping in touch with long distance relatives and proudly bragged about my family.

Yes I too have frightened my children by joining their world, but grew to understand how they felt when my 65 year-old mother started her Facebook page. I connect with people I may have never been in touch with again and many that I should have all along.

Whether you’re unfamiliar or hesitant, my opinion now is that you don’t have much to lose on Facebook. Hey, at the very least it makes reunions easier. Use your discretion and your imagination to make your mark in this cyber world of ours. You will probably experience many a heartfelt moment that only forgotten memories can stir.

The toughest decision you make about Facebook won’t be whether or not to start it, it will be what profile picture you use. So check out what’s going on with the people you know while you check up on your children and don’t forget to check out the Beaumont Parenting Program on Facebook too. We can’t wait for you to join us!

–Shannon Curcuru

1 Response to “Oh No, My Parents Are On Facebook!”

  1. 1 Jason January 13, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Awesome article Shannon!!! Loved it!

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