House parties are like a rite of passage in the teenage years; the words “free house” or "a gaff' cause a lot of anxiety for parents!. It is also not unusual to hear of these kinds of gatherings getting out of hand, even more so with the use of social media where party invites can be immediately sent out and gain an enormous reach.
After another report of how this can go wrong appearing in the media in recent weeks, parenting organisation Odyssey Parenting says it’s important for parents to be aware of how their young people are using social media and the consequences of a party invite going viral. Director of Odyssey Parenting, Charlene Brooks tells us “The most important thing is to maintain open communication with your teenager. Talk to them about examples of when party invites on social media went wrong and show them the news stories so they can see the impact it can have.”
Ensure that you and your young person are familiar with privacy settings on Facebook so there will be some control over what happens with the invitation. “If your child wants to have a page for their party on Facebook insist that it’s set to the “Invite only” option. It is when the invitation is allowed to be “Open” or “Public” that you could end up with hundreds or thousands of young people on your doorstep.” Charlene Brooks advises, “You also have the option to prohibit the “Guests” and “Friends” setting, which means that those who have been invited are then not at liberty to circulate the invite to their own friends.”
Young people can push the boundaries from time to time but parents should make rules and consequences clear to their children so they are aware of what is expected. If rules are in place it allows you to teach them about respect, responsibility and facing up to consequences of their actions.
Click on our links for more resources on parenting teens and cyber safety on Schooldays.ie,
Odyssey Parenting provide parenting programmes throughout Ireland with the focus on achieving the best outcomes for all children and young people through empowering parents and building on their strengths. Parenting Your Teen is the organisations signature programme which is evidence based and proven to improve parent-teen relationships and communication. To find out more information visit www.odysseyparenting.org.