Why I hate “Facebook official”

 

This weekend, a friend of my daughter’s was in tears after her boyfriend broke up with her by text and then posted the status change on Facebook five minutes later. She felt the need to change her status minutes later, too. Of course, that gave both of their entire friend circles opportunity to comment on the break up.

I don’t get it.

For some reason, it’s become common that as soon as teens break up or hook up, one rushes to change their status on Facebook. Apparently, online relationships are the new spectator sport. Corcoran put it well:  “Everyone gets to have opinions and comments on something that, in fact, should be dealt with between two people.”

As a parent of teens, I will never the fascination with “Facebook official” or worse, “Facebook unofficial”. Here are some random definitions of Facebook official from UrbanDictionary.com:

  • When on one’s facebook profile it says “In A Relationship” and your significant other’s name. “Are Adam and Courtney dating?” “I don’t know, they’re not facebook official yet.”
  • This term is used when a relationship is official, and you know so because the couple changes their status from either “single” or “it’s complicated” to “in a relationship” on Facebook.
    Guy 1: “Dude, I met this fly girl last night and we had a really good time, so I looked her up on Facebook…” Guy 2: “And….” Guy 1: “She’s Facebook official with some douche bag.” Guy 2: “Ouch bro.”
  • If something is absolutely certain or believed to be true, it is indeed Facebook official.
    Hey, did Aaron and Michelle break up???
    Yeah.
    Your positive?
    It’s facebook official!!!

 

To me, the problem with “Facebook official” is the speed in which teens post their relationship status changes. I don’t get why teens feel the need to rush to Facebook within seconds of a break-up. It’s so hurtful for teens to endure the nasty online comments, or worse, friends “like” the split, leading the wounded party to question the sincerity of their friends in the first place.

I recently heard my son talking about a friend who changed made his new relationship “Facebook official” only a few days after he started dating a girl. It devastated his ex-girlfriend who thought they were on the way to reconciliation.

I find it extremely challenging to talk with teens about entering and ending relationships with face-to-face discussions and in a private manner rather than on Facebook. This has become such a big concern that just last month, the Boston Public Health Commission  invited 200 teens from all over the state to a conference: the Break-Up Summit.

In a story on ABCnews.com, Casey Corcoran, director of the commission’s Start Strong initiative, says the problem is the way the teen brain is wired: “Young people don’t differentiate as much as adults between online and offline life. … One of the wonderful things about the adolescent brain is impulsivity. And these [social networking] tools drive on impulsivity.”

I’ve tried to talk to my soon about staying off Facebook with his relationship status changes but he tells me I don’t understand the way things are done today.

Parents, how have you dealt with the repercussions of “Facebook official” or changes to “single”? Have you been frustrated trying to teach your kids the importance of face-to-face conversations and keeping their love lives private?

 

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