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Parents think Facebook is groovy, kids not so enthused

February 27, 2009 |  4:55 pm

Parents are joining Facebook at a rapid pace. Or, as their kids might say, at an alarming rate.

A website called Oh Crap. My Parents Joined Facebook is leading the youthful cries, documenting and poking fun at the phenomenon. Kids who are plagued by the Internet invasion of parents, aunts and uncles can submit screen shots of unusual parental interactions that are then posted to the blog.

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Helping Mom with Facebook. Credit: Dan Harrelson via Flickr.

The gems include mommies and daddies who get a bit too publicly affectionate, all kinds of Facebook groups for divorcees and unintended sexual innuendos. (Ew, I don't want to hear about your romantic getaway, Mom.)

When Time tech columnist Lev Grossman published "Why Facebook is for Old Fogies" a few weeks ago, many readers on the Web reacted with a smile and a gallon of skepticism. Yeah, right, they seemed to say. The hip website, which just a year and a half ago reported that less than 5% of its users were 35 or older, is for geezers? Good one, Grossman.

Wait, what's this? A survey released by Facebook in January says that 19% of its users are older than 34. What happened in that time? After all, Facebook doesn't seem any less cool.

As parents became privy to this social service that has been helping their kids connect to one another for years, they may have come to the realization that the same tools could help them keep in touch with their own friends.

Stanford hosts a series of classes to educate parents on Facebook. The approach seems to treat the social networking website more as a tool to monitor and keep in touch with children than as a service to reinforce all relationships. Nonetheless, it's further proof that parents are thinking about the website.

When Facebook launched, barely more than five years ago, it was an exclusive service, available only to Harvard students. It soon expanded to universities across the nation. The first thing my classmates and I did four years ago, after deciding which college we would be attending, was create a Facebook account. For a generation of students, it was our own exclusive hangout.

But now, it's open to the public and practically everybody's hangout. And we're all just going to have to live with seeing photos of our aunts shooting pool at a bar in our news feeds.

-- Mark Milian

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