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Moms Have Taken Over Facebook

When you think of online games, Facebook wouldn’t be the first one to pop into your mind, yet the reality is Facebook is one big game that nearly everyone you know is playing at the same time. This "game" began in 2004 as a way to connect college students, but it soon blossomed into the world’s largest, most valuable and most utilized social media tool. Just who is responsible for the jaw-dropping 4.5 million Facebook "likes" counted every day? No, you won’t find pimply-faced teen gamers on a quest for level domination firmly planted in front of the keyboard. You’ll find a more hardcore user, armed with a death stare and high-waisted jeans. Yes, you guessed it—Facebook is the hotspot for moms.

I’m sure the idea of Facebook transforming into Mommybook wasn’t what the young innovator Mark Zuckerberg had in mind when he created the social networking site. Of the reported 665 million daily Facebook users, however, moms can be found using Facebook significantly more often than their teens who are shunning the commercialized site for less obtrusive social media options like Twitter.

“I'm 47 and I probably check in on Facebook at least 15 times a day,” admits Kara Buntin, a Richmond, Virginia mom who runs a Facebook business page for her custom cake business. Buntin’s 17-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter both have Facebook pages that they rarely use. “My daughter said that she uses Facebook to look at pictures, but she and her friends are aware of the privacy issues on it, so they don't post messages to each other in public very often,” Buntin shares.

Moms, more than teens, need a social outlet.

While her daughter reports using Google Chat with her friends more often, Buntin’s 17-year-old son’s online activities completely sidestep Facebook and are centered around a game called Gary’s Mod, a sandbox world where players build virtual environments and interact with other players.

Concerns over privacy issues and a keen interest in learning how to create virtual environments rather than simply using them aren’t the only reasons teens are turned off by Facebook.

“My teen daughter doesn’t like Facebook because there is no filter,” shares Tameka Anderson, a Snellville, Ga. mom who runs a copywriting business. Anderson says her 17-year-old daughter doesn’t like Facebook so she doesn’t use it often, instead choosing to frequent for one important reason: “It’s not Facebook.”

The intentional side-eyes and frozen smirks of her children won’t stop Anderson from engaging in a highly active Facebook life. Anderson has been using the social media site since 2009 for both business and personal reasons—which include keeping an eye on her children’s activities and adding her share of giggles and rants in private groups and on the more public rolling timeline.

“My favorite group to snoop around and be wild in is Mental Penetration, a secret group,” Anderson says. “When I want to debate I go to the Black Fathers group, and when I would like to offer advice I go to the Single Parents group.”

Dr. Suzana Flores, a licensed clinical psychologist who has studied the psychological effects of Facebook extensively over the past three years, agrees wholeheartedly with the fact that Facebook is consistently more attractive to moms. “Facebook is not so much a teen phenomena,” Flores asserts. According to Flores, research shows that teens are getting off of Facebook and are choosing other social media sites for a few standard reasons.

  • Moms are on Facebook. No teenager wants to "friend" his mom on a social media site. He also does not want his mom looking at his profile and questioning why he interacts with certain people or "likes" certain posts.
  • Teens want to avoid drama. Shockingly, many teens have reported an awareness of the drama that Facebook seems to encourage. For this reason, Facebook is more of an adult problem, not so much a teen problem.
  • Moms, more than teens, need a social outlet. It is way easier for teens to make friends than their moms. The older we get, the more selective we are regarding whom we choose to communicate with. Facebook has clearly advanced our communication in terms of the number of people we get to interact with, but this does not necessarily mean that it has improved our communication.
  • Teens are more guarded about their privacy. The very nature of Facebook allows for a "distancing" factor in our communication that encourages us to post more (almost too much) about ourselves. We've grown accustomed to not only expect, but demand, that others open up as often as we do on social media sites. When it comes to privacy, it appears that certain teens are more in tune with knowing what information they should protect from their parents.

Brenda Hook, a 38-year-old Maryland, Va. mom, doesn’t need an expert to tell her she’s a prime candidate for enjoying the virtual amenities that Facebook has to offer. Hook frequently rants and raves on Facebook about her love life, her various jobs and her teenage son who recently graduated from high school.

Recently, Hook says she has stepped back from posting so much about her son’s life

“What I like most about Facebook is that I can catch up with everyone even though I don't see them or haven't seen them in years,” Hook shares. “I can lurk on my friend’s pages without saying anything, or I can leave a comment and let them know that I was there.”

Hook’s 18-year-old son Tyler has abandoned Facebook in favor of Twitter informing his mom that Facebook is “too crowded, too much information, too many pictures, too much advertising and it's harder to get a Twitter fan base than it is to get a Facebook fan base.”

Hook laughs at the notion that her son believes he has fans, yet she is probably his biggest fan, sharing pictures of his graduation, new car and boasting about his trip to the beach for Senior Week. Recently, Hook says she has stepped back from posting so much about her son’s life because she believes boasting about your child on Facebook is setting him up for failure.

“Once they stop performing and doing things that make you proud to post about them, then where are you?” Hook challenges. “What do you post? ‘Hey Everyone! My kid had five bags of weed on him today!’ No. You won’t post that. You’ll slink into the shadows, and people will forget you even have a kid. Instead, I choose to focus on myself and post about how badass I am.”

RELATED: The 10 People You Don't Friend on Facebook

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