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Should you ever let your child organise a Facebook party?

4 years ago

Siobhan O'Neill writer
Siobhan O'Neill Freelance journo and mum of 2

Facebook and party. Those two words should never appear in the same sentence, should they? There have been some highly publicised party disasters when teenagers advertised their small gathering on Facebook only for hundreds of revellers to turn up and promptly trash their parents’ home. So how much do you trust your child – and your child’s friends?

Research carried out for Allianz Your Cover Insurance found that – surprisingly perhaps – only a third of teenagers (31%) have used Facebook or other social media to advertise their parties. But more than half of them have seen damage occur to theirs or a friend’s home during a party, and many have covered it up, lied or attempted to hide the damage from their parents. The company says the average cost of repairing damage following a party is over £100.

So it’s natural to baulk at the thought of your child using Facebook to arrange their party – especially if it’s at your home.

Kids should never just announce their party as a status update. But Facebook’s ‘Events’ options do allow control over who can see and be invited to a gathering. By using the ‘Invite Only’ privacy setting, and unchecking the ‘Guests can invite friends’ box, only those invited by the organiser will see it on their timeline, and it will not show up in public searches.

With some parental watchfulness and common sense exercised over the guest list, there shouldn’t be any more risk using Facebook than another means of invitation, and in fact it could curb word-of-mouth invites. Invited friends can chat together and make plans on the event timeline - especially useful if guests are geographically widespread.

But the ultimate decider will be how well you know your child and how sensible they are. Take into account their age, how responsible you know them (and their friends to be) and the kind of party they want to have. And if it is set to be at your house – and there may be alcohol involved – you may want to stay nearby to monitor. Just in case.

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