Amidst all the Facebook friend invites that are mounting up on my page (29 at last count), one that won’t be winging its way into my inbox is from my daughter.
‘Don’t expect me to be your friend,’ she said dismissively when I told her some time ago that I had joined gazillions of people around the world in creating my own Facebook profile.
At first I was horrified. And hurt. After all, I’d seen (sometimes day-after-day) the love fests that rattle between my friends and their teenage girls. You know - short little postings that allow the world to see about how PROUD they are of that A mark their BABY got or, in reverse, how much they ADORE their mums and will do so FOREVER!
‘Oh OK,’ I said to my 17-year-old, trying to sound nonchalant while rapidly calculating if anyone would see it as a sign of our lack of closeness should they spot the glaring hole where her name should be in my list of friends.
But after a few months of experiencing the ceaseless roll of the home page feed that thrives on status updates, I’ve now seen the light.
Truthfully, for every endearment lobbed the way of a friend by her daughter, there are those that shouldn’t be seen anyway except inside the holy circle of teenage buddiness.
‘OMG i thk I;m in luv wth tha sexiest man in the wrld, wtf!’ is the kind of thing I’m talking about. Or ‘Jagerbombs shld be banned ‘cause I’v got the wrld’s wrst headache’. You get the picture.
It’s the kind of hormonally-charged stuff that pre-Facebook would be scribbled on a piece of paper passed to a friend or whispered on the phone, way out of earshot of parents.
Now, in the hands of even the most level-headed teen, the details of love lost, love found, sex wanted, drinks drunk, and battles fought are laid out in black type for the world to see.
And why not? There are plenty of adults who seem to have lost their filter in the murky waters of cyberspace who post enough of these “let-it-all-hang-out” updates to give this public airing of stuff the feel of normalcy.
Of course, I include a caution here because it really does depends on age and the emotional maturity of your offspring. When my other daughter asked if she could have Facebook, I muscled in immediately: she’s several years younger, still at an impressionable age and had already proved with some reckless cellphone activity that she didn’t have the maturity to handle the digital sphere on her own.
‘Ok,’ I said. ‘But only if I can be your first friend’. And I was.
Are your teens’ Facebook friends? Do you want to be?