Monday, October 8, 2012

Facebook, Parents, and Parties.

I have a friend visiting and we’ve been chatting up a storm. Sara has a 13 year old daughter, Jillian and just showed me photos on her computer from her teen’s recent party in their basement rec room. Maybe this isn’t so exciting to you, but what my Sara told me while showing those photos was.

Notice I said that the photos were on the computer, however, Jillian had posted those photos on Facebook. Her profile is set to “friends only”. That’s great. However, it’s highly possible that the photos were shared by her friends. And some may have been shared publicly.

Sara then told me about another recent party in their town where the parents were gone for the weekend and the son (who is in high school) and daughter (an 8th grader) were left home alone and had friends over. The result? Photos were posted on Facebook of kids drinking, ranging in age from around 13 to 17, and those photos spread far and wide, including publicly. All the kids were talking about the party too. The parents found out very quickly.


And surprisingly, this was the second time that the son was caught drinking.
Who really gets hurt here? The parents. In a small town, their reputation turns to mud. In this case, they are shunned by the other parents now. Why would they leave these kids, especially one who is already proven to be irresponsible, on their own?

The story above is a strong example of the power of social media. News about that party spread fast!  

In the days before the internet it was easier to get away with throwing parties when parents were away. The “evidence”, or photos, was less likely to exist in the days of photo development. And if there were photos, they were shared in person and could be kept under wraps; only a chosen few saw them. Getting caught required a neighbor’s observation and the willingness to say something.

Not anymore. Now, Jillian’s party, thankfully, did not include alcohol and was supervised. The photos consist of kids enjoying themselves while drinking soda and fruit punch. 

It’s not so much the kid’s reputation; it’s the parents. Think about how viral our lives really are because of social networking and individuals who choose to leave their accounts wide open for anyone to see. If you’re a parent and you don’t want to be “the talk of the town” DO have that conversation with your kids now.

Now that Sara and I have finished chatting on that subject, we’re going shopping! Joan Jett sang about reputations (see below). And, you are most welcome to stop by at our website and on various social platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

1 comment:

Shannon Grissom said...

Great post Gerry. Many kids and well, even adults, just don't grasp the concept that the internet is a public place.