Parents of Teens Are Keeping Close Watch on Their Kids’ Social-Media Accounts

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Possibly most important in the slang lexicon of any ‘90s kid with an internet connection and an AIM account (RIP) was POS, or “parent over shoulder.” If you were IMing with your crush and your mom came in unannounced (knock, please!), POS meant, I am not alone, so don’t type anything suspect. And as technology and social media have evolved, so too has that proverbial shoulder.

A recent Pew study found that 60 percent of parents today are looking at their kids’ profiles on social-networking sites. On Twitter, a third of parents polled admitted to “following” their teen’s account, and 83 percent said they were “Facebook friends” with their kid. Perhaps an update on the old jargon would be PF, or “parent following.”

Some parents are even getting a jump on social monitoring by setting up their children’s accounts in advance of their inevitable interest. Nine-year-old Miles Brown, of ABC’s Black-ish, has a Twitter account run by his parents. (I hesitate to even mention the parents-to-be who are basing their baby-name list on available Gmail accounts!)

Though the invasion of privacy is surely embarrassing or irksome to many of these teens and tweens, the value of a social supervisor is not to be discounted. I once felt compelled to text my cousin after her 11-year-old posted to Instagram an unintentionally Lolita-esque selfie with a suggestive red lollipop resting on her lips. “Thanks for the heads up,” my cousin said. “She doesn’t understand why it’s inappropriate, but she agreed to delete it anyway.”

Parent Over Shoulder: Still the Scourge of Teens