“Be Careful Who You Friend:” Early Adolescents’ Reports of Safety, Privacy, and Family Monitoring of Facebook Use


  • Linda Charmaraman Wellesley Centers for Women
  • Jennifer M. Grossman Wellesley Centers for Women




With the growing popularity of social networking sites (SNS), parents, educators, youth development workers, researchers, and policymakers are increasingly concerned with Internet safety issues. In this paper we highlight a study designed to understand how young people describe how much (or how little) social network monitoring is happening in their home life, including who is doing the monitoring, when, why, and how. Participants included 33 middle school youth (aged 11-14) who were participating in a 9-week sexual health curriculum. Teens reported that their parents were most concerned about “friending” the wrong people and swearing on Facebook postings. In contrast, teens talked more about using Facebook to keep in touch with their known social circle and were not as preoccupied with adding people they didn’t know or wanting to meet strangers online. Teens also reported that female family and community members were the most frequent monitors of their Facebook pages. Implications for youth development programs and future research directions are discussed.






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