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Column - Teens, Facebook, respect

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columns Alexandria,Minnesota 56308
Echo Press
Column - Teens, Facebook, respect
Alexandria Minnesota 225 7th Ave E
P.O. Box 549

So the other day, I was on my 15-year-old son's Facebook page. Yes, I check his account on a regular basis.

As I was scrolling through, I was stupefied at some of the posts from his friends and other teenagers - some older, some younger, some boys, some girls.


Typically, I don't consider myself a prude, nor am I easily offended. Just ask my brother-in-law. But I was actually appalled at some of the comments - and pictures - that were posted.

The reason? They are teenagers - most between the ages of 13 and 17.

One teenage girl was talking about what she was planning on doing with, or should I say to, her boyfriend.

Another teenage girl, who I know is just entering the 10th grade, posted scantily clothed pictures of herself looking very seductive and then proceeded to tell everyone she was not the promiscuous type.

A teenage boy posted information about the different sexual positions he likes.

And the F-bomb, along with other vulgar words and phrases, were flying around on so many posts my eyes were actually starting to hurt.

As I said, I really don't consider myself a prude. I've spent time in bars, listened to enough dirty jokes to make your ears bleed and have watched my fair share of R-rated movies.

But here's the thing, these kids are putting this stuff out there for the whole world to see.

Do they not realize that their friends' parents can see this stuff or their own parents, for that matter?

Don't they realize that when they apply for a job, their prospective boss can look at their pictures and read about what is going on in their lives - at the touch of a few buttons?

Grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and teachers and their clergy can see what they post - don't they get that?

I, myself, have a Facebook page. I update it on a frequent basis. I use it as a way to network with friends, co-workers and family members, including my 75-year-old mother, who absolutely loves to Facebook.

I posed the question on my page to parents about this subject, and here are some of the replies:

"It's becoming way too accepted."

"I have always believed that cursing is for upsetting situations and not my language foundation...It seems that people either don't realize or don't care about the reality that Facebook is a public forum."

"I had a couple of things that were considered unsavory...I had to 'hide' a couple of friends as my grandchildren are on Facebook and I wouldn't want them to see or read those things." This person's father told her to never put anything down in writing that you wouldn't want on the front page of the local paper. She also said parents need to have frank discussions with their children about this topic.

I couldn't agree more.

Yes, there are plenty of kids out there who post innocent comments like "I'm tired," "I'm bored," or "Text me," but it's the ones who post trash that ruin it.

You know, it's not so much that they are thinking that way or talking that way, it's that they are so public about it. They don't care, nor do they have any respect for themselves or other people.

I told my son that I know he is going to swear and "talk smart" around his friends, but that I didn't ever want to hear him talk that way in front of me or his grandparents or any other adult for that matter.

It's called respect and I think kids nowadays have completely lost the meaning of such a simple word.