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Teens on Facebook GOL (grumble out loud) as mothers become friends

Nearly a third of children on the social networking site are ready to unfriend their parents for nagging chats and clueless comments, according to an AOL survey.

August 25, 2010|By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times

Mothers have found a even better way to humiliate their children than showing baby pictures: becoming a friend on Facebook.

Like the cyber version of being picked up in an uncool car, teens are now mortified by nagging chats and clueless comments left by their mothers on their online profiles.

Nearly a third of Facebook teens are ready to unfriend their parents on the social networking site and are twice as likely to want to avoid Mom as Dad, according to an AOL study released Tuesday.

"The moms like to overshare about things like menopause that their kids want nothing to do with or know anything about," said Jeanne Leitenberg, 27, who with a friend, Erika Brooks Adickman, 28, launched a site last year called "Oh Crap! My Parents Joined Facebook."

The site, http://www.myparentsjoinedfacebook.com, gets at least 20 embarrassing submissions a day from despondent teens, such as these from moms commenting on their children's Facebook page: "be my friend pleez even if I am your mom" and "dad thinks you look like Cher … please change photo fast."

"They join out of the mentality that they're the cool mom, and they just want to be part of the gang," Leitenberg said. "They don't realize how horrifying or how intrusive they actually are."

Youngsters are blanketing the Web with protests. Scores of complaints about mothers posting annoying messages and embarrassing photos have been posted on Twitter, often crammed between adoring tweets about pop singers Justin Bieber and the Jonas Brothers.

It has even spawned a YouTube video that has had nearly 1.2 million views. The video, "My Mom's on Facebook," bemoans the loss of the "sanctuary in cyberspace" to news feed-stalking mothers.

Maybe that's why some teens are getting "Facebook fatigue." Nearly 1 in 5 are losing interest, according to a survey of 600 teens this spring by online gaming site Roiworld.

Of those teens, 16% said they're leaving Facebook now that their parents have joined, while 14% said there are just "too many adults and older people."

More than three-fourths of parents on Facebook are connected to their children's profiles, according to the report from AOL, which teamed with research firm the Nielsen Co. to survey 1,000 parents and 500 teens.

A June report from Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions found that many more mothers had set up profiles than fathers.

Mothers tend to use Facebook "as a way to reattach the umbilical cord," Brooks Adickman said. "But then they nag and get offended if they feel neglected."

tiffany.hsu@latimes.com

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