Ask Amy: Mom violates her adult child's Facebook privacy

July 1, 2014 

Dear Amy: My mother has been using Facebook more frequently in the last few months, and I think that's fine.

Unfortunately the majority of the pictures that she posts are of me. Her profile and cover photos are of me.

I am not her "friend" on Facebook, but if I look up her name, I can see dozens of photos of me all over her page. I really don't want her plastering my picture everywhere, especially if her privacy settings are weak and anyone has access to the photos.

My personal page is very private, and I only have friends that I actually know on my page.

I understand she wants to post pictures for family to see, but many times she does it just to brag. I don't feel comfortable when I look up her page on Facebook and all that I can see is my face attached to her name.

Will she ever respect my wishes? Or because she is my parent, does she "own" images of me? What should I do?

— Technically Frustrated

Dear Frustrated: Facebook seems to have created a reverse metric in how generations use it.

Generally speaking, the generation you are a part of, which grew up sharing on social media, seems to have grown much more circumspect about how you conduct yourselves on Facebook, while adults in your mother's and grandparents' generation don't seem to have caught on.

I have seen unintentionally hilarious examples of parents leaping over boundaries on Facebook while their young adult children comment: "Mom, NO!"

I agree that (at least the way you describe it) this is a deliberate breach of your privacy.

However, realistically you cannot do anything about this, other than avoid your mother's omniscient camera at family events (by the way, she "owns" all of the photos she takes, even if they are of you).

You should tell her, "Mom, this is an incredible breach of my privacy, and I've asked you to stop. This is disrespectful and you either don't get it, or you don't care." After that, avoid her lens and stop checking her page.

Dear Amy: "Concerned Dad" was worried that his longtime girlfriend would not be welcomed by his ex-wife and adult daughters when she finally moved to town.

You say this girlfriend should be treated as a member of the family. If so, then why doesn't he treat her like a member of the family and marry her?

— Norma

Dear Norma: Marriage would definitely make a statement.


Contact Amy Dickinson via email at, follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.

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