back to article Many parents are only on Facebook to stalk their kids

A survey has revealed that fully 30 per cent of British parents' Facebook "friend" requests to their children get rejected, and that many then resort to using other people's login details in order to keep track of their offspring's Web-2.0 activities. This sad commentary on the number of parents who feel able to speak to their …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Pete 2 Silver badge

    As for the rest

    > 24 per cent of online Brit parents consider that the only reason to use Facebook ...

    Presumably the other 76% are on facebook to keep track of their partners

    1. Suburban Inmate

      As a former alcoholic

      Sometimes I was on facebook to keep track of my self. :(

  2. Him over there

    This is bad?

    I'm not sure this is a bad thing (depending on the age of the kids, of course), nor is it indicative of lack of communication between parents and kids. It's just a way of checking up on them from time to time and letting them know that you are keeping an eye out. My kids aren't old enough to go on Facebook or have mobile phones yet but when they are, I will allow the kids to use these things only on the proviso that I can and will, from time to time, check what they are using them for. Until they are 18 and then they can do whatever the hell they want.

    1. Graham Marsden
      Thumb Up


      How many times have people posted in comments on stories in El Reg that it is the job of *parents* to take responsibility for keeping an eye on what their children are up to, rather than expecting the school/ state/ everyone else to do that job for them?

      Team Register seem to be taking up the News of the Screws mantle here by portraying it as a bad thing...!

  3. Jeremy Chappell


    This is really pathetic all round isn't it? Seriously, don't want to be FB Friends with Mom? Don't fix her computer then - problem solved.

  4. Lee Dowling


    It's called "supervising your children". Some parents do it in different ways (i.e. physical supervision), some parents do it like this (making sure they aren't in a bad crowd, making sure you'll be made aware of anything that might crop up that might be undesirable), some parents don't give a damn.

    It's the digital equivalent of phoning up the parent who's having the sleepover birthday party to "get to know them", or chatting to other parents at the back of the Scout hut for a few sessions to make sure they're alright. It's not that big a problem, and at least it means the parents give a damn, which sadly few do nowadays.

    The best way to ensure that people aren't sending your kid rude photos and hurtful messages is to sit next to them and read every line before they do. The next best way (that also gives them the freedom to explore, be responsible and make decisions) is to keep an eye from a careful distance and just make sure they're within the right crowds. That's all this is.

  5. Marvin the Martian

    How is this bad?

    I'm with you here. The same choice (and power-imbalance) goes on between boss/employee and other co-workers: my wife refuses "friend" requests from all colleagues, as it's her private terrain. I'd do the same if I hadn't drawn the line earlier: I deleted my FB account after a quick look to see if it's for me.

    Anyway, the results would be even more "worrying" if it hadn't been a digital questionnaire --- there's enough parents that will want to monitor but are too incompetent to get their online act together.

  6. Ol'Peculier


    I had a friend on FB who works for one of my clients - I got a bollocking from them for "liking" one of their competitors!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If your kids are on FB, you have already failed as a parent

    Got three, aged 12-18. They all mock cause I briefly used FB for business reasons.

    Btw. that was a young, yet official Intel person in charge of 3rd parties, who didn't reposnd to e-mail or phone, but jumped on FB pronto. Sad.

    1. Suburban Inmate

      I'm on FB (albeit grudgingly)

      I've failed as a me.

      1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


        Yep! :P

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    my cousin is 20 and a student

    She accepted her Mum's friend request with the caveat that she wasn't going to censor herself in what she called "her space" just because her Mum was there watching.

    A month later, her Mum de-friended her, saying "I'd rather just not know exactly what you're getting up to. Just phone me every so often to let me know you're not dead" and now just uses facebook to arrange book club meetings and so on.

  9. Dazed and Confused

    Just let them try

    My little darling haven't reaching the facebook stage yet....but, I expect to cross this bridge later this year.

    We'd talk before they had the account.

    If they then rejected me, they bloody soon find that my routers were rejecting all their damn packets.

    It's simple.

    And since they expect me to pay their mobile bills (or at least to provide the money they pay for them with) that can be cut off too.

    But talking first might help.

    (PS, please can we have a "Won't somebody think of the parents!" icon. There won't be any equality in this country till there is a NSPCP (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Parents).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Well, you do get compensation from the rest of us taxpayers simply for managing to create offspring. 'Family Allowance' it used to be called, think they call it something else now.

      I'm not sure what the evidence is that suggests not making these payments stops people procreating.

      Anyway, enjoy the compo, and spend it on something nice.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: NSPCP

        Hmmm, you might want to look into how your pension works...

        And the entire economy for that matter.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Arse Wipe?

          Exactly, who is going to wipe your 90yr old crippled arse when your incapable.... Probably one of todays yoof.

          And its probably worth noting that mopst benefits that people have when they have children are aimed at getting people back to work quickly - working tax credit for example, BOTH parents have to be in full time (> 16hrs p/w) employment to qualify AND the house hold income needs to be below a threshold which isnt a massive amount... In fact its only a proportion of the tax that is paid by THAT family... So say I pay £400 tax a month Id only get £200 in tax credits (Please note - thats an example - I dont know the percentage - but do know its < 100%!!!) So its not your tax thats paying it... its mine.

          There is still child benefit which is payable to everyone with kids (Or so I believe) but at ~£18 p/w its hardly going to be an incentive to have kids - its not paying for a bloody yaught...

          I suppose that you could argue that your tax goes to pay for my kids school... and yes, your right it does, but my parents paid for yours.. so its only fair (unless you went to a private school in which case Im sure that they didnt benefit at all for charitable status...)

  10. Nathan 13

    Im sure the clever kids

    Have at least 2 facebook accounts.

    1. Chris 3

      Actually, the *really* clever kids...

      ... would have worked out how to use the non-intuitive 'Lists' feature

      1. Dave Murray
        Thumb Down

        Nah the really clever kids...

        would have worked out that Facebook is a waste of time and be doing something that's actually fun instead.

      2. dssf

        Clever users will

        Have figured out how to restrict their view of their posts, or deny them...

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    So what does a "friend" request on Facebook do then?

    Because I don't know, you know.

  12. Miek

    Um ...

    Doesn't this all sound a bit illegal, in terms of stalking and assuming someone else's identity to attempt to befriend minors ?

    1. McWibble


      No it doesn't. If it's parents 'stalking' their kids, then chances are they already live with them, or at the very least have done for some significant period of time.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Oh be quiet!

      See this is why the country is in a state, people worrying that keeping tabs on their own kids infringes their rights! Bollocks! Until my kids are old enough to know better ( around the age of 29 probably! ) they will get spied on occasionally, so I can pull them up and try to help set them straight when things look like they might go wonky.

      I remember by parents pulling me up on things and the blazing rows that ensued between my and my old man about it. Looking back I am bloody glad he did as with the benefit of hindsight I can imagine the really bloody stupid things I might have done and the people I might have done them with. My old man and me are closer now than ever because I know he wanted to look out for me, I respect him for caring so much about my welfare.

      1. David Barrett

        Rivise your estimate on age...

        Im 29 and I dont know any better... But that might be a problem that is restricted to me... :)

    3. Old Handle

      Probably not illegal

      But the using someone else's account part would almost certainly be a ToS violation.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is no title, there never will be a title, the title is void

    we told ours that in order to have FB you have to friend us and cannot put us on limited profile and cannot have multiple accounts, of course, we were ignored, so we took internet away. we gave it back and the rules were followed for a while, then they were using new social sites and such, and denied it, so we took internet away again... They can be real slow in getting the hint... now they are aware that they are watched and can be watched at any time. I will show them the website access logs to prove it too. however i was challenged that my teen could "hack" through any blocks i put in, so i told her to try....

    she lost internet and the computer and her phone and the TV for a month for trying to hack my network...

    *anonymous coz my tinfoil hat is slipping

  14. Big Al

    "... to keep track of their partners"

    Let me fix that for you:

    "Presumably the other 76% are on facebook to keep track of their parents"

  15. Big Al

    But more seriously...

    My kids use FB, and are well aware that I reserve the right to check up on their profiles or even access their accounts and/or hardware should the occasion arise.

    They have of course been educated in Internet safety by me, starting with serious chats before they were allowed online, and are reminded about it constantly. They have also been indoctrinated with my healthy paranoia about computer security, and know that spot checks can and do happen... woe betide the first one who is careless enough to pick up a virus or Trojan! (After several years, neither have, touch wood).

    I would worry more about parents who DON'T try to keep track of their kids online, and I am always very nervous of the vast majority who aren't capable of advising on security issues.

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Thumb Up


      Sounds fair enough.

  16. kissingthecarpet
    Big Brother

    I bet some commenters

    listen to their kids phone calls as well, by the sound of it. Computer security, yes, fine, but some of this just sounds like power tripping or nosiness to me. Plus they can use the net in many other places apart from your network.

    1. OziWan

      Re. I bet some commenters → #

      I am astounded at the level of paranoia here. The funny thing is, I have never invaded my kid's privacy and, I am friends with all of them on FB, they have no problem with it.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "*Many parents are only on Facebook to stalk their kids"

    Apparently true according to everyone I know at work. I mean EVERYone who has kids has literally said this.


  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I'm not on Facebook

    Nor are my non-existant kids.

  19. CuberootPie

    Real-Life vs Digital Parental Guidance

    In real-life parants are legally responsible for thier kids and yet there is an abaundance of juvenile crime especially in the UK.

    We are reminded time and time again that there are no bad kids just bad parents and that good parents bring up good kids .. Politicians harp on about how criminals begat criminals.

    How ironic that Zuckerburg himself has been tarred by the same criminal brush as he basically stole the FB from the twins ... so his parents are criminals too ?

    So, if parents are to be responsible for their kids then organisations like FB should be made to adhere to the same law and provide parents with full access to thier kids activities, so long as they can prove they are who they say they are.

    How long then until FB et al have a sign up requirement of your personal national insurance number or social security number .. or what ever the hell it gets called all around the world.

    The british government are already considering farming out such responsibilities to the like of FB and Google ...

    The fact is parents have a right and requirement to know what their kids are doing

    Until those kids are legally adults they have to adhere to parental rule. The ones that don't stand to be punished.

    I lived next door to a family who were so unruly that the backdoor to their rented property was legally sealed up to stop the kids dealing drugs in their back garden because the single mother parent was unable to control it.

    I realise this little <rant> is a bit disjointed but then so is the issue of parental responsibility.

    Technology should be forced help resolve societies issues not make money exploiting societies weaknesses.

  20. HMcG

    Oh, for the good old days..

    Oh, for the good old days, when all parents had to do was sneak into your room when you were at school and go through your stuff. And read your diary. And listen in on your phone calls on the extension.

    Regarding your children not 'friending' you on Facebook, isn't that what keyloggers are for?

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like