Why I Pulled the Plug on My Teen’s Facebook Page (Yes, it can be done)

By Debby Shulman

I pulled the plug on my daughter’s Facebook page.

For those of you following my blogs, or the “Chronicles of Miss B,” as I warmly refer to my current life, you know it was just a matter of time.  So, I am blogging about it to give other parents out there the confidence to know that the world did NOT cease to rotate when she deleted her Facebook page. We have had a blissful few weeks. Will I return that FB privilege?  Will I concede and allow a few minutes here and there to look at dance pictures (maybe I already have …) and post a few of her own? Perhaps … but in the end, I am holding fast and know that this decision was one of the hardest ones I have made as a parent.  I have no regrets.

So what was the clincher?  Not what you would expect. It came in the form of a post that appeared on someone else’s wall claiming my daughter drank urine.  Yes, you read that right. Not booze, just pee. Like me, you’re all shaking your heads and getting out your readers. The little thing, with hair soaking wet and flannels sticking to her wet body, came FLYING into my room a few weeks ago, crying with big red eyes and a cataclysmic expression on her face.

Throwing the laptop on my bed, she burst out a sob and turning the computer toward me, hollered that someone had actually declared she drank pee at a party for her best friend on Saturday night.

Several expressions come to mind and I cannot print them here.

As my close friend ‘S’ says, “I can’t make this *&^% up.”

It was 10:45 at night and I had my eyes off, my moderately expensive youth restoring cream smeared in the crevices that have been caused by these late-night dramatic encounters, and had just crawled into bed.  Not so fast … it appeared as though I would have to put on my cape and avenge this latest injustice. Damn, I was tired.  But here she was and truth be told, outrageously upset. As I reached for one of my many pairs of glasses so that I could actually see the post, she was convulsing as comments kept popping up.  Several kids mentioned it was stupid, several found it funny, and some defended my daughter’s good sense in drink choices.  Oh please.  I thought it was ridiculous. I am so not a freshman and I so don’t get it.

We stared in disbelief for a few moments and she decided to contact the accused via Facebook.  I was watching in real time as the conversation immediately became aggressive, with my daughter typing furiously, insisting that the post be removed.  She was angry, righteous and demanding. All I kept thinking was, “You go, GIRL!” — but this young man was not hearing my determined daughter, and he was not registering what was going on in her fiery mind.  The comments kept appearing, she was escalating in her anger and he wasn’t going to budge. SERIOUSLY? Not only was he not invited to the party he was referring to, but also he had no knowledge of what went on.

His accusations were out there for a laugh, the legendary curse of adolescent Facebook … stupid posts that reduce other kids to tears because it elevates the accuser to a better status. 

Not this time.

I felt my own anxiety start creeping, from my toes on upward.  I looked at my daughter and asked if she wanted my help.  Nodding really hard. More tears. More sniffing. That was it – I grabbed my phone, found these people in the white pages and actually woke them up.  I didn’t know if I was doing the right thing (do we ever) and certainly did not know what to expect.

A sleepy Dad answered, and I respectfully and calmly told him what was going on. Keep in mind: These are good people with other children that we know.  I am confident that he was clueless as to what his son was doing because he was convinced his son was long asleep – another one of my issues with kids sleeping with their laptops. I am so not into confrontation.  I told him I was confident his son had posted this ridiculous statement and that we needed it removed immediately.  Amidst his disbelief that his son would do such a silly thing, I tried to move the conversation along without casting any more blame. I was polite, I was kind (after all I had woken them up) but I was also feeling indignant.

Nobody puts baby in the corner.

And so, within seconds, the post was gone.  Poof.  Just like that.

In Facebook World you can boost your already suffering ego by posting all the stupid, insane, outrageous crap you want and when you’re done, you can just pull the plug.

I was fed up. My daughter had once again wasted precious time late at night dealing with the inane, crazy, dramatic, addicting world of Facebook.  How could math possibly compete with this?  How could Shakespeare take a front seat to pee? Why was I allowing my otherwise bright and articulate daughter to be influenced and affected by this outrageous waste of time??

So you see why it was an easy button. I explained that school was her job. School was her full-time responsibility, and it was becoming more of a challenge when there were posts, pictures and other distractions under the guise of Facebook that she was attracted to. Can you blame her?

Our kids are so enraptured by the evil lure of Facebook and the truth is, it creates so much more hurt and drama than what is necessary.

I deliberated this decision with my husband for a long while.  We had thrown it out there in the middle of the night, quietly talking about it when we both couldn’t sleep because of our suspicions that she was spending too much time on Facebook.  We watched her demeanor change from sweet to sassy because of something posted and it was getting old.  She didn’t have the emotional maturity to regulate herself.

We both struggled with ‘cutting her off’ because we didn’t want to create more negative energy than necessary.  But that night was the Final Straw.

She is so much happier.  There is no more rush to the laptop after school. She spends more time with us and there is little drama.  Not only is she off, but she is confident that whatever is going on in the world of Facebook no longer affects her. I know that there are times when she is curious to see what she is missing, but not enough to even ask if she can have it back.  There is plenty of time to explore that when she is wiser about what to linger on and what to let go.

In the meantime, if you’re feeling like you’ve lost your teen to Facebook, it’s okay to help them find their way back.  I think they will respect you for it.

Lisa Barr, Editor of GIRLilla Warfare:  Debby Shulman is a college essay consultant and academic tutor with a private practice in Northbrook, Illinois.  She also professionally collaborates with Amy Simon College Consulting in Bannockburn, Illinois.  Debby also blogs about Motherhood/Teen issues for Your Teen magazine (www.yourteenmag.com). Check out her valuable advice. 




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