A few months ago I decided to join Facebook for the sole purpose of keeping in touch with my niece and nephew overseas (13 and 14yrs respectively). I planned to surprise them on line and see if it worked out okay.
Following this grand announcement my daughter then 14 (and with boyfiriend No.2), had very little to say. My elder son, 18, probably tried to ignore it. In fact, I would go as far as describing the atmosphere a little quiet; you know, crickets chirping in the background - that sort of thing).
My daughter had, many months ago, told me I was too old for Twitter (she must have succeeded in spying over my hunched and flared shoulders trying to block the screen from revealing my super secret on-line life) so it follows that Facebook would cop the same comment.
Not quite right there but that's another story. Having kicked off my Facebook page it's no wonder I didn't get hugs and kisses and "Dad, It's great to have you here". Facebook does a really good job of matching your email address with anyone remotely connected and thus my daughter and her friends become potential 'friends' with converstions and goings on laid out to see (unless profile is locked). It's like stepping into a room of kids and their conversations with a pyramid scheme effect that keeps on connecting.
As on other social sites, the conversations have to be cool, with abbreviations and some swearing (including my sweet little daughter now 15). While there were plenty of LOL,s going on, I was having my own LTM's ( laughs to myself) Yosemite Sam style, sneaky that is.
Without boring all with my Facebook stuff I'll just say this. Initially I added my daughter as a friend (with her okay) but I think she felt obligated; I didn't want to not invite her, after all I'm her Dad. I couldn't quite gauge her feelings on this and so told her some time days later I'll delete her as a friend and re ran my reasons for being there in the first place. This was good without her openly celebrating. Funny thing is she wasn't happy being deleted and so we're Facebook pals again (along with a few of her friends but not my older son). I did remind her and her friends that I am there and I'm a Dad, not a 15-18yr old buddy. I gave more than a gentle nudge to cut the language etc; you never know who's reading; potential employers, teachers, parents; most of these kids make their accounts public but act as if only their close pals can read their conversations; sharp as a billiard ball sometimes.
Anyway, boyfriend No.2 (a good guy) got the bullet and while not so well hidden plans were being hatched to get together with the older guy (potential boyfriend No.3), a new player came on the scene. So, potential boyfriend No.3 (not really officially No.3) has been given the slip for No.4 with blue hair also a bit out of age range (now shaved off I've been told and I mean shaved).
If you are still with me you have to know that this doesn't happen without some drama. While my daughter was figuring out how to juggle this self imposed mess, she was having, unknown to us, serious problems dealing with guilt over dumping No.2 (another post on this).
Now to tie in Facebook. As I said before, my daughter and a few of her friends are my pals on Facebook along with my nephew who was part of the original plan for joining. My niece hardly uses Facebook because she had some bad experiences with group bitchyness. I now see her point.
Past and intended boyfriend are also on Facebook along with the whole social cyber group if kids are lucky enough to have the net. In summary, the good guy got the flick, the other, who seems okay, thought he was next and in fact they did have a couple of 'friends' social outings. Along came Bluehair, who also seems okay, and last on the rank became first off. Now most of this was pretty obvious because this whole thing played out on Facebook despite coded words and abstract comments poorly disguising the real story. I only had to log in occasionally for my own reasons and whether I wanted it or not, got the general picture pretty clearly.
You can see where this is going. My daughter, strange as it sounds, was truly having difficulties dealing with the hurt she had caused the good guy. At the same time she was cooly checking potential guys on the available shelf.
The next time I went into Facebook I'm hit between the eyes with "you lied to my face" by No. 3 (for the benefit of my daughter) who found that he has been deposed by Bluehair. The good guy (No.2) had bared his soul, gained support and threw the spotlight on my daughter. It seemed obvious that she wasn't faring too well in this circle. The guy who made his statement so openly about lying should have known better but obviously wanted everyone to know. Only one person made the comment to the effect that this drama should be personal and not public. Good for her.
In my eyes, it was a pretty hostile and daunting reception for my daughter, or anyone in a similar situation. It was like a public hearing with a potential lynch mob.
The bugle sounded and I leapt to my girls defence, making a couple of abstract comments about public executions and glass houses; then I left. Mentioning to my daughter later that she didn't seem too popular at the moment on Facebook, didn't evoke much response but she was one stressed little number. I didn't find too much junk going on a couple of days later.
The moral of this story is; the potential for bullying is seriously varied and available and; get another account on Facebook where you can't be found!