Thursday, March 10, 2011

Facebook Etiquette

“a kind mouth multiplies friends, and gracious lips prompt friendly greetings. Let your acquaintances be many, but one in a thousand your confidant…” Sirach 6:5-6

Okay, so here is a story. Names are changed to protect all.  A young teen, named Mac, who is involved in several activities couldn't make it one night.  Mac isn't in charge but is one of the leaders. I don't necessarily want to say what this activity was but it wasn't sports. It was an extracurricular educational activity for boys.
Well, there are about 40 boys in this group and they recently have started communicating on Facebook.
We all know how popular Facebook is getting and it seems to be the way people are communicating these days.
So, he posts on Facebook that he won't be there. No big deal, but one boy , "Joe" seems to take it personal or something know one really knows for sure but he responded to the message. Now understand that he didn't respond just to Mac who couldn't make it but he responded so all could see. His message was, "you lazy bleep (he didn't use bleep) you better have told the leaders you aren't going to be there."  Mac did tell the leaders and did have someone covering for him. His reason for not being able to be there was a series of tests he was taking the next day and his need for study was greater than his need for the activity. Unfortunately, he didn't explain himself. He just said he couldn't make it.
The reply message from "Joe" was sent late at night so no one saw it until the next day. Mac didn't know he had got this reply. It was the mom who saw the reply because she frequently checks her sons Facebook page to keep up on who he is socializing with and what he is saying.  Needless to say she was upset that someone was saying her child was lazy because he was not attending this extracurricular activity and she was upset the message was sent to everyone and this teen was using foul language.  The mother decided she had better clarify in the message why her son was not able to be there because he did not say why. He had just said he wouldn't be there and to do your best with the meeting they were having. Keep in mind there would be several adult leaders attending this meeting and the teen missing wouldn't be that big of a deal.
Well, this story is getting long but Mac's mother called another mom because she was upset and wanted to talk. The other mom, also, had a son in this group and she saw the message and thought the reply had been in bad taste, also.
Mac's mom finally emailed the adult leaders, who had seen the reply and they were okay with him not being there. The mother had decided to take up the issue of language at one of the meetings.
Later that day when Mac had come home he was upset and bothered by the reply. Who wouldn't be?
So, the reason I am telling this story is this. Did Joe's mom see what he had posted? He is under 18, has two parents and still needs guidance. I am not even trying to say one parent is better than the other or that I have any heads up on parenting because I don't.  Parenting is one of the hardest jobs I have ever done in my life.
I heard someone say one time after being asked what he would do different in parenting because his daughter was a prodigal child. He said he would be quiet and not have bragged so much about what a great parent he was. So, that is not my intention here. I am just one mom trying to do my best and making mistakes along the way, also, but picking myself back up with God's help.
My intention in this post is a plea. A plea from one mom to other moms. Please, please check and see what your children are putting on Facebook. This is only one story. I could tell others. I try hard to be vigilant about what my child puts on Facebook and probably other moms could come to me and say to me, "do you know what your son said on Facebook?" That scares me. I pray all the time over this. I cry out to God and the Saints for guidance for me and my family in this internet world we live in. It is so awesome to know God is always there to guide us through the trials in life.
I ask, would we allow our teens free to roam the world physically, going to all kinds of seedy places. No, but it happens on the internet these days and the most popular right now is Facebook. What will it be next?
The thing about Facebook is it gives courage to people. It allows them to say things to people they wouldn't say to their face but what teens and others seem to forget is what goes on the internet stays on the internet. It is there.  I have seen teens posting on Facebook about sex, drugs and personal issues, such as arguing with another person on Facebook for all to see.
When I was pregnant with my son someone told me how important it was for a mom to be with their child when going through the teen years not just when the child is an infant, though that is important too.
I just have to repeat this again and stress it so much.
Please moms and dads check what your kids are doing on the internet, especially right now on Facebook.
This not only bothers me from the perspective of fear of what my son will read but, also it saddens me that these teens are left alone in the Facebook world to say and do whatever they please. Do you know that you can have your child's status posts sent to your cell phone so you can always see what they are posting on their page. This doesn't work I don't think when they post on other peoples pages but it helps.
You should  always know your teens password to Facebook and check it frequently.
Facebook isn't a right.  It is a privilege and a responsibility. A responsibility as God's children to be good stewards of what he gives us and this internet world isn't a bad thing. It's how it is being used. And by the way who is paying for that internet service anyhow that allows them to be on Facebook?  That puts the responsibility in our laps.

Please, please moms and dads do your best to monitor your child's Facebook page and I will do my best, too.

Do you know what your child just posted on Facebook? I'll check mine too.

Blessed Mother, pray for us.

By the way, here's a great video to help express my point. Show it to your kids.

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Dear Lord help us to educate our family for your glory.

"Since parents have conferred life on their children, they have a most solemn obligation to educate their offspring. Hence, parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it. For it devolves on parents to create a family atmosphere so animated with love and reverence for God and others that a well-rounded personal and social development will be fostered among children. Hence, the family is the first school of those social virtues which every society needs."--Gravissimum Educationis (one of the documents of the Second Vatican Council)

Helping and Loving Our Neighbor

Corporal works of Mercy
Feed the hungry

Give drink to the thirsty

Clothe the naked

Shelter the homeless

Visit the sick

Visit the imprisoned

Bury the dead

The Spiritual Works of Mercy
Admonish the sinner

Instruct the ignorant

Counsel the doubtful

Comfort the sorrowful
Bear wrongs patiently

Forgive all injuries

Pray for the living and the dead

Good Samaritain