We reported today on the British girl whose 15th birthday party nearly became epicly epic.
Rebecca Javeleau created a Facebook event for her party and invited about 15 friends. But she failed to make the event private, and 21,000 RSVP'd.
It's a classic case of "But, Mom, I only invited a few friends and they each invited a few friends." Only the ability of those few friends to reach others is infinite when powered by the click-to-share convenience of social networks.
About as many people said they would come to the teenager's party as live in her hometown, Harpender. That raises questions, not only about how little there is to do in Harpender, but about what role parents should take in monitoring and educating their children in appropriate use of social media, and how to respond when things go wrong.
Rebecca's mother, Tracey Livesy, told the Telegraph that her daughter "would be lucky to get a birthday card from me" and that "I've taken away her computer so she won't make that mistake again."
Littlemissmocha, a blogger and mom otherwise known as Jen, questioned whether the right approach was to take away the girl's computer. Afterall, teens can always access another computer - at school, at a friend's house. And shouldn't the parent's role be to educate their children about internet privacy?
I agree with Jen. The girl's mom should take the opportunity to show her daughter the privacy settings on Facebook and other websites she uses. If the mom doesn't know herself, she should tap the knowledge of a friend who does.
The girl's party is obviously cancelled. That's a logical consequence. But missing the (forgive me) "teachable moment" by simply removing computer privileges is a mistake.
I'm a firm believer that we're not raising children. We're raising adults. That means it's our job to equip kids with the knowledge they need to survive without us. Part of survival in a modern world is being being tech-savvy enough to protect our privacy online.
Rebecca's mistake was the result of ignorance. My hope would be that, after her mother helps lock down the Facebook profile, she takes her daughter out for cake. Every kid deserves birthday cake.