Thursday, July 12, 2007
Facebook: The Madness
So for months my 16-year-old daughter has urged me to get on Facebook, insisting that I remain "plugged in" despite my advancing years. So I set up a Facebook account with a weird made-up name and a quite hilarious headshot, if I do say so myself, of one of my favourite fictional characters. My son, daughter and American nephew invited me to be their friends. I have only three.
So my daughter is away for most of the month with my beloved in-laws, and told me if I need to get a message to her, just post it on her Facebook wall because she goes online once a day. I thought this was odd. I mean why not just e-mail? But I did as she said.
So one day I post a message to her wall and I see that all of her girlfriends, lovely girls that I have known since they were all in junior kindergarten together, have also posted her messages to tell her how much they miss her and .... oh yeah .... to divulge in great detail the fact that all four of them are raging potheads. Oh yes. All sorts of posts about how high they all got the night before and how they almost got arrested and "I'm so stoned right now I can barely type but getting high without you is not the same!" and so on and so on and so on.
Now I can't say I am terribly surprised. I keep finding lighters in my daughter's knapsack, after all. And one night the four girls showed up at about midnight after a night out, giggling uncontrollably while hoovering back several boxes of Honeynut Cheerios. I am a pretty cool mother and I know this is what kids do -- I did it at their age, and quite honestly, marijuana-smoking does not freak me out nearly as much as heavy boozing. They are good, close friends, look out for one another, hang out mostly exclusively with one another, they all do well in school, they all treat their parents (for the most part) with respect, they are not lazy, not stunned, they obey their curfews, they are basically very good kids.
But to see it all laid out there on Facebook was a bit disconcerting. I posted the following message: "I see you and your friends are all potheads. You're grounded." I soon got a phone call accusing me of violating Facebook etiquette -- you don't read people's walls, apparently, except your own -- and also accusing me of stalking her. She dumped me as a Facebook friend. The best defence is a good offence, I guess. I now have only two friends.
I'll leave the contemplation about what to do with the discovery she and her friends smoke pot regularly for another time. I have some time to figure that out until her return, and I have to measure my response with the fact that I think marijuana should be legalized and I shouldn't be a hypocrite. I need to dust off the drug talk again and lay down some rules and regulations.
But what the hell is with this Facebook phenomenon? Do these kids not realize that all of their "friends," hundreds of them, some of whom they barely know, can read their walls? What is the point of Facebook? Why not create a group e-mail list? Why would you want the world to be able to read what are essentially your private exchanges with your closest friends?
Facebook? No thanks.