Girl dies, parents find out on Facebook
Help your kids to be sensitive about what they reveal in status updates.
Imagine that you’re flipping through Facebook, and you discover, to your horror, that someone has posted a status update saying that your teenage daughter is dead, and her college hasn’t managed (or even bothered) to let you know! That’s what happened to a couple in the US, according to immediacy of social media means that kids don’t always think twice before updating their statuses, occasionally creating experiences which are embarrassing, or even shocking, for other people.

Think twice about that status update!

It’s quite easy to get caught up in the hype of the moment and to post insensitive statuses or pictures, only to realise that these could have serious repercussions.

Here are some situations which your teenager should probably NOT announce on social media without first checking that it’s ok:
  • Deaths: It’s only fair that the next of kin gets to choose how to announce the death of a loved one. In addition, sometimes Twitter and Facebook users are the victims of hoax deaths or incorrect information about the deaths of people, and share the wrong information as ‘facts’.
  • Pregnancy: Only the expectant parents should have the right to share news of a pregnancy. Sometimes expectant parents choose to tell one or two close friends or relatives, only making a more general announcement later on (commonly after the first trimester is over).
  • Also, if the pregnancy is unplanned, as in the case of a young teenage girl, there could be many other issues at play, including that she may still be trying to figure out how to process the news and how to share it with her school or parents.
  • Sex of the baby: Even if you’re dying to tell everyone the news, unless the expectant parents have given you permission to shout out “boy!” or “girl!”, rather wait until they do. Sometimes the dad-to-be may know the sex of the baby, while the mom may choose to wait.
  • New job: A mom or dad may have been told they have been accepted for a new position at work, but they may not have told their current employers. Prematurely announcing this could cause them to lose their current jobs or be rejected for the new position.
  • Pictures which could be compromising for relationships or future study/work prospects.
  • Surprise parties: Some birthday parties/baby showers/kitchen teas and so on are meant to be surprises! Don’t share public details about them. Also, some friends/relatives may be upset at having not been invited.
It’s tempting for them to blab out exciting news, but, parents, it’s important that your kids respect that some information is sensitive, and that it doesn’t take much to check with the people involved whether or not it’s ok to share the news.

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Have you ever accidentally let out a secret or made a social media gaff?

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