Facebook Helps Parents Snoop, But Kids Are Fighting Back

Parents are increasingly using Facebook to keep tabs on their children, but a recent survey reports kids are catching on, in another example of how social media is part of the eternal cat-and-mouse game of child-rearing.

U.K. security firm Bullguard reported more than half of parents surveyed said they keep an eye on their children by checking their activity on sites like Facebook. Nearly half of parents check their children’s updates and look at postings, while one-in-three check out tagged photos. Parents say they do it to protect their children, but also due to a basic curiosity about their kids’ friends.

But, increasingly, this parental trick is being cut off at the pass by children.

Thirty percent of parents say their kids rejected their attempts to “friend” their them. But wily parents still manage to gain access. Thirteen percent admitted to using a friend’s account — a person the child had already “friended” — to check up on them. While some parents use Facebook, 11 percent admitted to setting up accounts purely to snoop on their children.

According to Facebook policy, only children aged 13 and older are eligible for account on the social network. But recent reports indicate increasing numbers of younger children flock to the site and, using fake information to alter their age, get into the social media game with or without parental knowledge.

Social media sites are the newest environment for the “playground bully,” prompting some parents to monitor their kids’ increasingly private lives. In addition, studies show the sites can contribute to newly defined medical conditions like “Facebook Depression.”

At the very least, the survey’s results reflect parents’ growing awareness of the importance of social media activities in their children’s lives.

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