My short answer is yes.
But, it depends on a couple of things.
Parents have different approaches to dealing with their teens’ privacy. From full disclosure and password access to granting complete freedom.
Some of this depends on your son’s age. With younger teenagers, it should not be an option not to friend you. They are likely not mature enough to manage the responsibility without oversight. If your son is older, it may be appropriate to trust him by not friending him with some reasonable agreements in place.
Has he been responsible?
Some of it depends on whether or not trust has been broken in your relationship. For example, if your son has been in trouble for sharing inappropriate things on Facebook, connecting with friends to drink or use drugs or anything else you decide is unacceptable. Of course your values and beliefs have an impact on how you approach this issue.
Sometimes I cringe when I hear about parents snooping through their son’s room, reading all of his text messages and tracking his phone’s GPS signal. Ok, maybe that last one is an exaggeration, but I’m sure someone is doing it. 🙂
Walking the line
There is a fine line between parental supervision, ensuring safety and respecting your son and his growing independence.
Here are some different ways to deal with this sticky situation.
1. Friend him, but don’t comment or like any of his posts. Be invisible, but keep track of his activity. You will learn a lot and still be able to respect his privacy.
2. Don’t friend him, but have him share his username and password with you. Set up an agreement that you can check on his account at any time. When you do check on the account, consider doing it with him present.
3. Have a trusted family member friend him. Preferably, someone he likes and is comfortable with. Maybe an aunt or uncle, older brother or even a family friend.
Of course your son needs privacy and personal space. However, he also needs to understand that the internet is not a safe place for sharing certain things.
There is a lot of room for differing opinions on this issue.