With more than 900 million active users on Facebook, it’s becoming an unavoidable truth that our parents, aunts and uncles, and even grandparents are creeping into the realm of social networking. Here are stories of awkward interactions, meaningful reunions, and glimpses into how social networks are changing family dynamics.
Timothy Alton of Gilroy, Calif:
Our youngest daughter unfriended us and told us not to worry because she was dropping Facebook altogether to concentrate on her studies. But it was actually because she was getting a huge tattoo. She hates having her parents constantly ask what this or that post means when we can only see half the conversation.
Maren Brehm of Willingboro, N.J.:
One time I posted a link to a blog post that I had written. It was a very dark piece of fiction involving sex and murder. And my dad posted a comment that indicated he was horrified that I knew about those things. I’m 37 years old; of course I know about those things. The comment itself was harmless, and simply made me roll my eyes a bit. But he does that kind of stuff all the time.
I got back in touch with my aunt who I hadn’t seen in 15 years…we started up a wonderful email correspondence, and I wrote long personal history blog posts just for her. Although we only saw each other once over the course of the five years that we were in touch, she trusted me enough to name me executor of her will when she died. I’m very happy I got a chance to get to know her from an adult perspective.
Rebecca Justiniano of Roseville, Minn.:
A few years ago my husband and I were taking a train trip to Portland, Ore. My husband is a computer geek to the nth degree so at every stop he would find the local connection and check his email and Facebook. At the second stop, he discovered that his sister was going to be in Portland at the same time because she had just updated her Facebook status. The whole way there, we were jumping online every time we had a connection and by the time we arrived we had made plans to meet up with her for dinner. We still laugh about it every time Facebook comes up – if it hadn’t been for Facebook we might not have found out that we were in the same city at the same time until after we got home.
Mark Kimmey of New York City:
I once saw one of my sisters-in-law post something to which I responded. Even though I thought her statements were illogical, it didn’t improve my relationship with my brother. I’ve learned not to respond or comment on ANYTHING, no matter how idiotic a posting is.
Brad Garber of Lake Oswego, Ore.:
The only thing that is sometimes mildly upsetting is when my daughter posts something that is cryptic and suggests that she is injured or upset about something. Then, I have to chase down the facts.
Jaemi Loeb of Houston:
My mother Gloria and my older sister’s mother in law, Judy, do not get along. But I have a lot in common with Judy and we get along well. So, we were Facebook friends for a while. Then my mother joined Facebook. Eventually, she figured out how to look through my friends list and she was not happy to see Judy there, since she thought that meant Judy could see messages between us, etc. She didn’t quite understand that Facebook walls shouldn’t be used for non-public communication anyway and that messages were more or less private. After many heated arguments about whether it mattered thy Judy could comment on my status updates and see my mom’s comments, I had to de-friend Judy in order to avoid a serious family incident. It was very embarrassing.
Your turn! Share your family Facebook stories here, and we may add them to our collection: Are your parents on Facebook?
We also want to know how technology is changing how (and when) parents have “the talk” with their kids about relationships and sex. Share your story here: How is “The Talk” changing in the digital age?