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My teenage daughter recently broke off a friendship with a group of girls, some of whom I’m connected to on Facebook. Should I remove the girls from my Facebook friend list?
A: Social media connections can be tricky. Add adolescent coming-of-age issues and things can really get out of hand.
The sense of anonymity and distance associated with online communication can make it tempting to get involved in your child’s friendship quibbles, especially when your child is hurt or frustrated. But you often help your child most by providing support and guidance — offline.
Managing your relationships with your child’s friends requires sensitivity and a bit of finesse. While you may be furious and feel protective, avoid a knee-jerk reaction. Get a clear picture of the situation before making any quick judgments. What might devastate a teenager during a sleepover on Friday night may be forgotten by Monday morning.
Next, keep your opinions about the argument private. Be cautious when posting something that may be interpreted as a reference to the quarrel between your daughter and her friends, or put her in a vulnerable position with her social group.
If the friendship does not resolve itself, follow these tips to manage your connections with her friends.
Take her lead.
Talk to your daughter before making Facebook changes. You may find she doesn’t want you to remove her friends for fear of making matters worse.
Consider your posts.
Think about your posts and how the subject matter relates to your daughter’s group of friends and the situation between them.
Revisit privacy settings on your page and decide the best way to manage information you get from your daughter’s friends, as well as the access they have to your information.
Hide your posts.
Without unfriending, you can hide your posts from individual friends on your list by putting them on a restricted list. This means the friend will see anything you set as public, but not posts set for friends only.
Even if you put the friend on a restricted list, they can view posts when they are tagged.
If you decide to unfriend, especially if your daughter was a victim of bullying by friends, choosing to remove her friends from your social network can be the right choice. Facebook does not notify someone that you have unfriended them, however, savvy teens may notice that their friend count has gone down.