by Sarah Delaney
Welcome to the beginning of the end. Several of the adults in your life have recently joined Facebook, and your life is rapidly spiraling downward because of it. Farmville has become “Famville,” you know that Uncle Bob is in an “Open Relationship” and Dad is a fan of “The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.” There is nothing more mortifying (or hilarious) than Grandma writing on your wall reminding you to “dress warmer or you are going to catch a cold!” or Great Aunt Judy asking about your new “BF,” and why exactly “It’s Complicated.”
“Ignore” and “Accept” become relevant and crucial words in the world of Facebook. The question is: would you accept a friend request from any of these people?
In 2009, there was a 276% growth in the Facebook population of people between the ages of 35 and 54. Chances are, you know somebody in this age bracket who plays some sort of significant role in your life. And again, chances are that you have received that dreaded friend request that you couldn’t decide to accept or reject, letting the question hang dormant for weeks, or even months (we’ve all been there).
What is so bad about accepting this friend request? As I demonstrated above, being embarrassed by a parent or family member’s comment or action on Facebook spreads a plague of fear among young users. Also, you can never be sure if you could discover something you didn’t necessarily want to know, i.e. Grandma is a fan of Victoria’s Secret?!
When asked if he would accept a friend request from one of his parents, sophomore Dakota Sagnelli responded bluntly, “Absolutely not.” His response was understandable and widely common among teenagers. Receiving a friend request from a parent or close relative of an older age or greater authority is not only dreaded, but awkward. Many teenagers view Facebook as an extension of their lives that their parents are simply not a part of (sorry mom!). It’s strange to think that your parents might communicate with their friends the same way you do, using slang, sharing pictures, and giggling at inside jokes. It can be a little too weird for us to handle.
The truth is, most teenagers have nothing to hide; they just want a taste of independence where their parents don’t necessarily strictly monitor them, especially among those teenagers who understand and have discussed the responsibility of having an online blog. It’s how they communicate with their friends and stay in touch with people who live far away.
It truly is your decision whether or not you are willing to accept that friend request. Many parents just want to see what you’re up to so they can be even more involved in your life and know you better. No matter what your fear or opinion, neither decision is a matter of life or death. Accepting the friend request can be great, and I bet you will discover something new about your family members, and they will learn something new about you.
On the other hand, pressing “ignore” is not a crime, and other ways of bonding are easy enough to find…