Burn and Learn
At about the time I was ready to give up Facebook and delete my account, my kids had decided they wanted accounts of their own. That’s honestly the only reason why I kept my account at all. You see, if you’ve read any of my posts on my childhood you can imagine the amount of people that call themselves “family” that I’ve completely removed myself and my kids from. Facebook makes you vulnerable to searches and prying eyes that you may not want. At least that’s how I felt. Even with all the drama that may come, I’m not the type of parent that holds my kids back. I let them spread their wings but with a little guidance and a spy. Yes, I’m a spy. Any good parent will claim that title and wear their spy gear proudly.
My kids know where they came from. And although they are just learning some of the harsh realities of who these members of their family are, they want no part in it either. So when I explained my hesitation and concerns with Facebook, they had no problem letting me look in and monitor what was happening. Actually, it made them feel better about the whole experience.
I helped each one of them set up their own accounts and add pictures of themselves, friends and family. They added their friends and started posting like old pros in no time. We set it up to where I would get an email every time they had a friend request or a message from someone that was not on their friends list. This not only made me feel better, but made them feel better too. What I didn’t know was that the email notifications wouldn’t be necessary. About a year ago my kids starting getting messages from family members that we no longer talk to and it seemed that they figured my kids wouldn’t tell me. I guess those people who lack bonds and strong relationships with their children wouldn’t understand the relationship I have with my kids. They tell me shit.
So my kids came to me panicked about what to do. Not because they felt threatened or were worried but because they didn’t want their Facebook time ruined. They wanted to be able to keep connected with their friends and some members of the family without getting harassed by those they didn’t care to be around. I helped them. Those family members were blocked and the messages stopped.
Aside from all the family drama, and there has been tons, there was also the friendly drama. I’m sure you know the kind that I’m talking about. It’s the friendly kind of drama between friends that starts off funny but doesn’t end well. Witnessing this friendly drama is how I’ve gotten another look into who my kids are and what makes them tick. Half the battle of knowing your kids is knowing who they hang out with and talk to. And while most of the kid’s friends fill up our house on the regular, there was still that percentage of unknown. Facebook makes it all clear.
There was nothing that I found with my younger two kids that I didn’t already know, really. There friends list started filling up quickly and it became a battle amongst themselves as to who had more friends. It was what I discovered about my oldest son that I wasn’t expecting. While I always knew that he though he was Rico Suave, I didn’t know that the girls his age had fallen for it. It didn’t take long to realize that 90% of his friends list were girls and the number kept growing. I sat and wondered on a regular basis if it was possible for him to even know all these girls but he did. These weren’t fake account spam bots or weirdos from another dimension. These were high school ages girls from Las Vegas and other cities that we know.
The number of girls on his friends list kept rising. He was getting friend requests daily and in his defense, they were all requesting him. But his status would change from “single” to “in a relationship” and back again within a week. This can’t be good. I tried on a couple of occasions to express my concern but I wanted to let it play out for just a bit. If you don’t let your kids make their own mistakes they are never gonna learn. I thought it would be better to let him burn and learn early than later in life when he was married with children.
Girls would post flirtatious comments on his wall and profess their undying love for him. I finally sat down and told him where I thought this was all headed and why I was concerned. I warned him that it would someday come back to bite him in the ass.
Then one day he met his best friend’s cousin and it all started to change. They started dating and it seemed that all was going well. His status change to “in a relationship” and it stayed that way. He stopped checking his Facebook and accepting friend requests but the girls that were already on there had noticed too. What started off as friendly check-ins from these girls slowly became something more when they realized he was no longer responding to them. Teenage jealousy? Probably. No matter what is what it began to cause a problem when they started referring to him as “babe” and “love”. And while you can’t control the actions of others, you reap what you sow.
It didn’t take long for the girlfriend to see these posts and being a teenager herself, she was upset. And what do you do when you’ve upset someone you care about?
You delete your Facebook account.
So now I am a mother of three but a Facebook mother of two who is mourning the social media death of her oldest son. He cried. Not because he had to delete his Facebook account but because he hurt someone that he cares about. I guess I did my job after all.