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Thoughts From Teens: Facebook For Dummies

September 14, 2011 · 77 comments

in Life, Thoughts From Teens

This edition of ‘Thoughts From Teens’ was written by our friend Erik.  He is a senior in high school and wants to share some tips for using Facebook that would make teen life easier:

Hello old[er than me] people!

“Would love to come but I have a dr. appt. at 4:00”

My 70 year old grandmother posted that message on the wall of a public event for one of my soccer games.   That means that anybody who is invited to this event can now see that my grandma has a doctor’s appointment at 4 o’clock——-how embarrassing!  I have been getting a ton of flack for this from my friends so I decided to make a rule book for the older Facebook users.  I am not calling all of you ’70 year old grandmothers’, but I figured with the sudden surge of moms and teachers on Facebook, they should at least learn some of the guidelines us kids have been living by for years.  I have personally experienced all of these mistakes made by people in my family:

#1: Look where you’re posting

My grandma clearly did not follow this rule.  Her post would have been fine if it were in a personal message to me, but when she is posting on a public wall like that, nobody cares whether she has a doctor’s appointment or not and it is just embarrassing for her and for me.  I know it is hard for some to understand the difference between a comment, a wall post, a message, and a chat but really try to pay attention because you want to do all you can to avoid the awkward TMI situation like my Grandma had.

#2: Facebook is not your email

Just because you get email notifications about them, Facebook posts are not the same as email.  This means that all the formal aspects of an email go out the window.  You do not need to proof-read your Facebook posts, you do not need to start a wall post with “dear _____”, and you definitely do  not have to sign your posts.  There is nothing more awkward than when people sign their posts “Thanks, Jeff” when anybody reading the post can clearly see that Jeff is writing it.

#3: Facebook words do not mean what you think they mean

When somebody clicks the “like” button under your photo it is not the same as when somebody says they like your dress.  There is no need to comment on the photo saying “thanks”.  Also, when somebody is your “friend” on Facebook, they do not have to be your friends.  It is totally ok to be Facebook friends with those awkward acquaintances from work or those kids you barely remember from high school.  As far as we teenagers are concerned, the more the merrier.  Friend them anyway, they could have something interesting to say.  You are not obliged to talk to them, and if they get annoying you can just unfriend them or hide them from your newsfeed.

#4: Talk to your kids about your Facebook presence

I have told my parents straight-up that I do not want to be their friends on Facebook and they are fine with that.  Other parents are fine members of the Facebook community and don’t cause problems.  But there is always that one parent who is constantly commenting on her child’s photos and is a general nuisance.  My advice is to talk to your children honestly, find out what kind of Facebook parent you are, and do what you can to make your kid’s high school life easier.

Do not feel bad if you have made some or all of these mistakes, all parents do.  I just hope I can help ease your transition into the teen world of Facebook without making yourself look foolish, and while saving your teenager’s pride!

From Kris:  I am friends with all my kids on Facebook (and Erik! 🙂 ).  For our family, the rule was that my kids could not have a Facebook account unless I was their ‘friend’.  Part of that was because they got Facebook accounts when they were younger, and I just wanted to make sure they weren’t ‘friending’ evil doers or anything.  Now that my oldest is 17, I am willing to loosen the reins and he can unfriend me if he wants to.  That just also may mean I will ‘uncook’ for him, ‘unclean’  for him, ‘undrive’ him places, and ‘unpay’ for some things.  (ha ha)

Are you friends with your child on Facebook?   Do you have some Facebook rules you would like to enact?


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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

First Gen American September 14, 2011 at 5:52 am

Last rule. Don’t talk about your child on facebook.

One of my ditsy relatives told me on facebook that she thinks her son needs to be on meds when I was asking about him. She wrote it in a putlic forum. He was also on facebook and a teen. I’m not sure if he saw it before another relative spotted it and made her delete it.

I hardly go on my facebook account anymore. Great article.


First Gen American September 14, 2011 at 5:53 am

PS…unpay for things. Ha. You’ve just been cracking me up lately and the golfclub comment on my blog had me rolling.


20's Finances September 14, 2011 at 9:08 am

Amazing. I particularly enjoyed the “not an email” point. It’s hilarious when this happens. 🙂


Little House September 14, 2011 at 9:52 am

Some very good tips here – for everybody! Last year, my younger sister (though not a teen at all, but still younger!) posted her new address on her wall for her 656 closest “friends” to see. I immediately sent her a personal message telling her to TAKE IT DOWN! And, I just learned the other day that the message feature really shouldn’t be used like email. I started “chatting” with one of the recipients and realized every other person I emailed could see our conversation. Dumb, dumb, dumb.


retirebyforty September 14, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Jeez, I forgot how difficult life was for someone in high school. Yeah, you don’t have to deal with mortgage, medical bill, insurance, car trouble, cooking, cleaning, and other stuff; but grandma is messing up your facebook rep. Did that come off as sarcastic? Didn’t really mean it. 🙂 Us old people really need to get the rules down with the whole social internet thing.


Sandy @ Journey To Our Home October 4, 2011 at 8:20 pm

I’ve got my toes in my thirties, but when Hubby’s grandma had a heart attack last year- we used FB to update everyone on how she was doing (though we usually used status updates).


Kris October 4, 2011 at 9:54 pm

did you mean get ‘your toes wet’? Facebook is indeed great for updating a mass amount of people. Especially with health things where everyone wants to know, and you never have time to call everyone.


Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager September 14, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Great post Erik! Couldn’t agree with you more. Privacy and security are key. I don’t have kids but I volunteer with middle schoolers and am still shocked that their parents have no clue what they are doing / posting on Facebook. Just because it isn’t your “thing” doesn’t mean you can be clueless. Learn the privacy settings, have a conversation, be safe.


krantcents September 14, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Technology gives new things to learn and so much more. Everyone needs to understand the rules or nuances. My kids are adults, I prefer not to friend them or they me. Especially, my FB account is in support of my blog. I talk to them several times a week there is no reason to use FB too.


Denise @ The Single Saver September 14, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Erik, your post made me laugh. This is great advice. Another thing to warn those like your grandma about is that when you post your plans (be their for a trip or a doctor’s appointment) in a public forum that means anyone who reads it will know she will be away from her house at a certain time.


Darla September 15, 2011 at 9:20 am

How about the Facebook Police posters? The relative that feels the need to correct your grammar or comment on how what you should or should not post? I recently deleted someone who consistently mistook their opinion for fact. You don’t have to like what people post and if you do in fact find yourself not liking it – then delete them from your feed. Don’t take it upon yourself to monitor the site – it’s obnoxious. Posts are covered by the First Amendment – we don’t need Aunt Know-It-All’s input. (Unless the poster is a minor – then the parents should monitor and handle questionable material)


Money Reasons September 15, 2011 at 1:09 pm

This gave me a good chuckle 🙂

I sympathise where you are coming from and feel your pain. Nice guidelines!


beth September 21, 2011 at 11:59 am

Love the uncooking, unpaying, etc. part! 😉


Evan September 21, 2011 at 12:26 pm

I should send this article to my mom lol she is terrible at facebook. She has almost ruined two surprise baby announcements and almost killed the surprise for the birth of my child.

I think adults in general (30 here) is that they don’t realize HOW QUICKLY information is out on the internet and how widespread it can become.


Sandy @ Journey To Our Home October 4, 2011 at 8:24 pm

My kids aren’t old enough to be on FB yet. But my aunt is friends with my teenage cousin (her daughter) and all the other teenage nieces and nephews. I think it’s good that parents know what their kids are doing and posting on FB, and can kind of say ‘don’t put our address online, and then tell everyone we are on a week long family vacation.’
I hope to continue to have a good relationship with my kids as they enter the teen years- but judging from my teen years, it won’t happen.


Kris October 4, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Sandy, you are a different parent than your mom was, don’t give up hope on the teen years. I am loving them so far, and I thought I would be miserable and cry everyday that my kids weren’t young anymore.

I am friends with my kids on facebook for the very reasons you mention!


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