What Happens When Parents Join Facebook


What Happens When Parents Join Facebook

There’s no buzzkill quite like getting a friend request on Facebook from Mommy and Daddy dearest. Not to mention the philosophical quandaries that result: Do I accept? If I accept, do they go on limited profile? If they’re on limited profile, what do they get to see? Will they bug me and my friends? For many, the easier solution is just to bail on Facebook entirely.

This phenomenon — a growing one, as Facebook’s demographic rapidly grows gray — is the subject of the MyParentsJoinedFacebook.com. The product of two Los Angeles 20-somethings, Erika Brooks Adickman and Jeanne Leitenberg, the site collects the downright awkward things that can happen when parents invade your virtual space. Become a fan of TIME on Facebook.

The two call their project a “loving” one, spurred by Leitenberg’s family contacting her Facebook friends. Both are quick to say that their relatives are not the problem — Brooks Adickman says her parents aren’t even “allowed” to join Facebook — but they recognized that others might not be so fortunate. “No matter how embarrassing your mom is, there’s someone who’s a thousand times worse,” Leitenberg says.

Ain’t that the truth. The pair has managed to assemble some of the most cringe-inducing cases of invasions of privacy and oversharing. When your parents are acting as grammar police for your status updates, it may be time to bid Facebook adieu.

The pair said they’re prepared for this contingency. They’ve already registered MyParentsJoinedTwitter.com, making them well situated for the next big thing. “When parents start joining, the party’s over,” Brooks Adickman said. “Hopefully Jeanne and I will be there to document wherever the migration goes.”

Ultimately, though, the duo says their site isn’t meant to dissuade parents from joining in on the online fun — Leitenberg says her relationship with her father has even — gasp! — grown closer since he joined Facebook. Instead, sites like MyParentsJoinedFacebook are meant to help parents avoid common pitfalls. “We want people to know that when they get that friend request, it’s O.K. to say yes,” Brooks Adickman says.

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