Awkward Moments: Students, Parents Learn to Coexist on Facebook

Parents have always embarrassed their kids. Going to the movies, that dreaded moment when parents show your baby pictures to your friends, and hearing shouts from the stands calling you BP when your name is Bailey, are some things teenagers typically try to avoid.

Yet teenagers might as well get used to embarrassing parents because they aren’t going away anytime soon. In fact, with the use of Facebook, parents can embarrass their children anytime, anywhere, and anyplace with the use of social media.

But why would parents want to be on a site that is dominated by the number of teenage users? Well for starters, only 10 percent of users in theU.S.are between 13-17 years old. Sixteen percent of users in theU.S.are between 35-44 years old and 12 percent ofU.S.users are between 45-54 years old.

What does this mean? There are more adults on Facebook than teenagers. Teenagers don’t actually rule Facebook.

We are outnumbered.

Parents use the most popular social networking website to do many of the same things teenagers do. Although shocking to some, parents do have social lives and they do connect via social media.

Ken Asada ’15 said that he thinks his parents use Facebook to keep in touch with old friends inJapan,  where they   grew up, and, “try to be funny with really corny Facebook statuses.”

However, like many teenagers who are friends with their parents on Facebook, Ken Asada’s parents embarrass him. Asada said his parents often post about his accomplishments, but due to his parents’ privacy settings, none of his friends are able to see any embarrassing statuses.

        Asada was tagged in some embarrassing photos that his father posted from summer vacation, though.

        “That kind of creeped me out,” said Asada. “My dad tagged me in every picture and I had like a million notifications. I had to make him untag me from half of them.”

        While parents like Brett Aronow, mother of Baxter Stein ’14, try not to embarrass her children, Stein admits it does sometimes occur.

Stein said his mother posted embarrassing photos of him when he was younger once. Thankfully for him though he wasn’t tagged in them. “I just told my mom to delete them,” said Stein, “And it was fine.”

While some teenagers have blocked their parents on Facebook, to avoid being embarrassed, there are other ways to avoid parental embarrassment on Facebook.

Henry Wynne ’13 doesn’t get embarrassed on Facebook by his mother, Julie Wynne, because the two aren’t Facebook friends.

“I don’t do anything bad,” said Henry Wynne, “But I still don’t want (my parents) seeing what I do.”

Julie Wynne doesn’t mind not being friends with her son though. “I’m not friends with my child, because he doesn’t want to be,” said Julie Wynne.

Due to this, Julie Wynne doesn’t constantly “stalk” her son’s profile unlike some parents. “I just post links about what my kids are doing or what I have been doing,” said Julie.

She shares this information with all 127 of her Facebook friends (compared to her son who has over 1,000 friends).

Also unlike her son, Julie Wynne interacts with all of her Facebook friends. “I’m not friends with anyone I’m not friends with in real life,” said Julie.

Ken Asada’s father, Hiroshi Asada, said that while it is kind of weird being friends with his son on Facebook, he is being a responsible parent by monitoring their child’s activity online.

“I think it’s important for parents, and also their responsibility, to be familiar with what kind of messages their kids are sending publicly through Internet,” said Hiroshi Asada.

As both parents and children use the world’s second most visited website (Google is No. 1), their posts and status updates are going to continue to awkwardly mix.