Teens on Facebook
In our column documenting the ups and downs of family life, local mum Harassed Harriet discusses the perils of the social networking site
My eldest is counting the years until she is old enough for Facebook. She watches me glued to the social networking site, scrolling through online friends' activities and posting up snippets of family life. We mums see it as a bit of harmless fun, a way to secretly boast about our little darling’s gymnastic triumph or excellent 11+ verbal reasoning paper. But I am reluctant for my pre-teen to get involved.
As well as cyber bullying, there is the worry of attracting inappropriate attention. My friend's daughter posted a shot of herself pouting like a porn star in a white bikini. You can imagine the number of ‘likes’! And what damage to your esteem if you look anything less than amazing in your 'selfies' and don’t get any ‘likes’ at all?
"So why do you waste so much time on Facebook?", asks my husband.
"It's a great way of keeping in touch," I answer vaguely, accepting yet another 'friend' request. But we both know that it is because I am intrinsically nosey and enjoy seeing what my online chums are up to. I can’t believe the smugness of some. One couple, married for twenty years, send each other oozing compliments on a daily basis. If only there were a 'cringe' button.
Another 'friend' who has moved to sunnier climes chose a particularly gloomy day in the UK to post a picture of her “favourite room in the house” - a canopy billowing in the breeze beside the swimming pool. A pair of tanned feet on a sunlounger were just in shot and the words 'feeling blessed' and a smiley face completed the caption. How can I top that? A blurry pic of my daughter blowing out her birthday candles in my parents' 70s kitchen and one of me in a dingy tenpin bowling alley in Feltham just don’t cut the mustard.
Later, my husband finds me trawling the internet for overseas job opportunities.
"I need to impress my Facebook friends," I say urgently. "How do you fancy moving to Dubai? No need to talk about it now, just check my Home Page for details and, by the way, don't take any notice if I refer to you as 'my gorgeous, clever hubby’."
Hit 'like' if you're feeling a teeny bit jealous!
Read more of Harassed Harriet's columns here