I didn't befriend Adam Smith, as suggested to me, because I think it's inappropriate for adults to initiate Facebook friendships with kids. What would his parents say? Besides, I don't even allow my own children to have Facebook accounts until age 13. It's our house rule.
One night at dinner, my 13-year-old son, fresh off of Facebook, asked my 11-year-old son, "How did you get Kayla as your girlfriend?"
"I asked her," said the 11-year-old.
"When?" quizzed the 13-year-old. "She doesn't even go to your school?"
"On Facebook," answered the 11-year-old, scowling at his brother.
"On Facebook?" I exclaimed. "How? You don't even have an account." But before he could answer that, I lit into the 13-year-old. "Did you forget to log out again?"
Which prompted my husband to deftly point out that maybe Kayla didn't know who her boyfriend was. Maybe she had said yes to the 11-year-old thinking she was saying yes to the 13-year-old. "Did you identify yourself when you asked her if she would be your girlfriend?"
"I don't know," he said.
A few days later, someone else suggested I befriend Adam Smith on Facebook. Again I clicked Ignore.
Not long after, my husband called to me from the guest room. He was sitting in front of the computer looking at Adam Smith's Facebook profile. My 11-year-old son buried his face in the bed skirt and whimpered. "What?" I said.
My beloved pointed at the screen.
"I can't believe you friended a little kid," I told him. "You shouldn't friend kids you don't know."
"We know this one very, very well," he said, as I finally grasped the connection between the crumpled, crying boy and Adam Smith. Interrogation led to a full confession. He and a friend set up the Facebook account at the friend's house. We appreciated our son's honesty, and we rewarded his truthfulness with a lecture about trust, a massive amount of heavy-duty guilt for deceiving us and two weeks of restriction from all technology and all social engagements, with the exception of school.
Oh, how the rumors of my child's escapades on Facebook flew through his social network. Children logically questioned, "How did he think his parents wouldn't find out?"
Others marveled at our son's boldness in putting BIG SEXY at the top of his profile. Our 13-year-old pestered his little brother about whether or not he and his Facebook girlfriend, Kayla, were still "in a relationship."
As the end of the two weeks neared, the boy grew antsy and irritable. He complained of his stomach hurting every day after school. He lolled aimlessly about the backyard, alone, hitting rocks with a baseball bat and stacking junk from the garage into a giant fortress. Whenever I ran an errand, he succumbed to lethargy and begged me not to make him go.
I'd succeeded in breaking his spirit. In sympathy, I almost waived his remaining days.
Until my husband called me to the guest room last Thursday evening. This time, there was no little boy whimpering in the dust ruffle. He was face down on the bed sobbing uncontrollably into the comforter, which did little to muffle the shrill noise. On the computer screen a Facebook profile for one infamous Smiddy Buckalicious, accompanied by a profile picture of my son wearing a cowboy hat and posing kicked back with his arms crossed, advertised how wrong I had been about my child's reform. BIG SEXY was in a relationship again.
NewsFeed: Adam Smiddy Buckalicious is in a new relationship with Comet, Windex and Mop 'n' Glow.
Lucy Adams is the author of Tuck Your Skirt in Your Panties and Run. S he lives in Thomson. E-mail Lucy at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her Web site, www.IfMama.com.