You think half those adults on Facebook are there because they love Facebook? No, no. These are merely parents engaged in covert operations.

I had always imagined that adults entered the world of Facebook because they wanted to re-enact their teenage years, find a new lover, or “connect” with long-lost relatives whom they never really liked.

Yet a new piece of research has proved mind-altering.

My failure to regularly read the Education Database Online has been mitigated by Mashable and has led me to a new appreciation of the adult world.

For these vital statistics reveal that American parents aren’t trying to imitate children so much as spy on them.

It’s perfectly well-known that children can be trusted about as much as news stories in Pravda during the Brezhnev era.

So parents feel forced to take the radical step of joining them so that they can beat them. In a psychological sense, you understand.

Indeed, this study suggests that half of all parents sign up with Facebook at least partly in order to see what drugs their kids are taking, who they are consorting with and what they really think about, well, their parents.

An excitable 43 percent of parents admit that they check their kids’ Facebook pages every day.

Some 92 percent of them make it so easy for themselves by openly becoming Facebook friends with their kids.

Some might reach the inevitable conclusion that American parents aren’t very bright.

If they are making it so obvious they are snooping on their kids by friending them, might they not imagine that the kids, in turn, will not express themselves fully on Facebook, instead choosing to go to Tumblr, Instagram, or some other relatively recondite place?

Might that be one reason why several recent studies suggested that kids think Facebook is old?

The Education Database Online figures offer that a third of kids would defriend their parents “if they could.”

I, though, am left fascinated as to how much adults are exposing themselves.

Surely the kids — just, you know, for fits and giggles — trawl around their parents’ Facebook pages and speculate as to which of their Facebook friends are former (or even current) lovers.

Surely the kids take a look at these people’s profile pictures and pray that they never, ever end up as wizened and alcohol-sodden as some of them appear.

Given that the kids are far, far more tech savvy than their parents will ever be, might they be far better spies than their parents?

While the adults think they’re being clever in following the kids, I suspect it’s the kids who get more information out of this social-networking exchange — information that they’ll choose to use just when they need it.

Blackmail never goes out of style.

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