Ask amy Amy Dickinson

April 03, 2010|By Tribune Media Services

DEAR AMY: My high school daughters were allowed to have Facebook pages this past year. I felt they were old enough to understand the good and the ugly that comes along with written, instant communication.

We have an open, honest relationship with daily interaction. I don't feel it's necessary to look at their "pages," which I equate to reading a note between them and a friend. If I want to know something, I ask.

The problem is we have family members who've "friended" the girls. They didn't want to hurt these family members' feelings by saying no. Now the relatives peruse the girls' pages to find out information on them on a regular basis but have little, if nothing, to do with them otherwise. I find this inappropriate. Am I wrong? - Offline Mom

DEAR MOM: Your daughters can easily adjust their Facebook "privacy" settings to control the kind of access these relatives have.

For many people, Facebook's opened a window onto the lives of people they don't have regular contact with. Many parents (myself included) don't become "friends" with their own kids but are friends with other relatives.

I found out through Facebook that my cousin and I happened to be visiting the same city last week. We reconnected "offline" over many cups of coffee.

The unspoken rule of Facebook for relatives is: Don't be too personal, too mushy or too lame with your younger "friends."

If your relatives are skulking, or inappropriate - or if the girls don't want to connect with them in this way - then they should "unfriend" them. Work with your daughters to help them develop boundaries. Have them teach you how Facebook works - and definitely ask them to show you their pages. Facebook's not a substitute for real-life interactions. But this virtual connection is helping many connect in real life. You should try it.

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