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Many parents are only on Facebook to stalk their kids

Try to friend offspring without speaking to them

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A survey has revealed that fully 30 per cent of British parents' Facebook "friend" requests to their children get rejected, and that many then resort to using other people's login details in order to keep track of their offspring's Web-2.0 activities.

This sad commentary on the number of parents who feel able to speak to their kids as opposed to interacting with them primarily online – it would seem normal to know in advance whether a friend request to one's nipper would be rejected, for instance – came among the results of a survey of 2,000 online Brits.

The survey revealed that among today's digital British some 5 per cent of parents would like to monitor their kids on Facebook but don't know how, and 55 per cent do stalk their kids online. No less than 11 per cent reported that the only reason they had a Facebook account was to keep an eye on their nippers, suggesting that in some age groups, up to a fifth of Facebook users have no real interest in the service's putative benefits and are only there because they worry about its effects on their kids.

Indeed in many cases a Facebook user who signed up for positive reasons is not actually that person – it is a friend of theirs borrowing their login to keep tabs on their kids. Some 13 per cent of digital parents reported having done this, presumably because they couldn't be bothered creating an account just for this purpose.

Altogether then, it would appear that 24 per cent of online Brit parents consider that the only reason to use Facebook is worry about their children. Perhaps it's just as well that the company's founder Mark Zuckerberg says he no longer cares about new signups.

"These figures are initially quite surprising, but since certain malicious third parties have been known to prey on unsuspecting or over trusting individuals online, it does seem as though many could have legitimate concerns," commented Claus Villumsen of security firm Bullguard, which commissioned the survey. ®

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