My child wants to remove his grandmother from his Facebook friend list because she makes embarrassing comments online. What should I do?
Plugged-in Parent: According to a study last year by Microsoft and AARP, kids are connecting with grandparents in unprecedented-and sometimes slightly embarrassing-ways thanks to social networks.
Fifty perfect of seniors are online, and the benefits of cross-generational connections for kids can include a bond with culture and family history. Grandparents benefit by staying active, learning technology and feeling a sense of purpose.
As great as those connections can be, teens and grandparents are often navigating uncharted territory.
While technology can provide a wonderful opportunity to connect, it can be a source of frustration and anxiety for both parties. Parents can help by bridging the gap between generations. Help teens understand how much it means to grandparents to see activities and photos online. On the other end, remind grandparents that teens can be extra emotional and self-conscious.
Connecting between the generations can work by following these basics.
Keep comments simple. Teens are easy to embarrass. And a seemingly benign comment like “Way to go super kid!” can be mortifying to a teen in front of the friends on their social network.
Ask before posting photos. Your teen may not appreciate being tagged in a photo where he is politely modeling a handmade sweater from grandma. Grandparents should ask before posting photos of their grandchildren.
Provide some context. Teens use the Internet to express themselves-post song lyrics, political views and social comments that they may not normally share in a conversation with their grandparents. Help grandparents remember that what they see and read online may be easily misinterpreted.
Try other communication. If problems persist, suggest a weekly email to a grandparent or a conversation over Skype. A regular weekly phone call may be a welcome trade-off for both sides.