Teenage Advice Needed

Hi All

this is way out of my realm of knowledge, so I ask you clever people of the Dope to offer me your opinions.

My friend’s teenage girl, Laney*, (14 years old) has been over to my place and using one of my computers. She is, like most kids, I guess, addicted to myspace.

I accidentally saw her comments page, as in, I clearly wasn’t meant to. On the comments page, one of her friends (as in her best friend), has repeatedly posted comments such as

“Laney sucks dick” written in a variety of ways.

Now I’m pretty certain that she is not sexually active. I know that she got caught cutting school 6 weeks ago with the girl who is leaving the comments. I’m 99% sure that this is not bullying by one or the other, I’m thinking that they’re leaving messages like this for each other because they think it’s funny, or provocative to teenage boys, or wanting to be one of the crowd, or whatever.

Her profile is set to private, which is a good thing, but I know both her parents would be horrified, to say the least that Laney is debasing herself like this. And I say that, because she could easily delete the comments.

So now I have this knowledge that I wish I didn’t, I need to know what I should do with it. I am very good friends with both of her parents, but her mother is currently in hospital for at least another fortnight (she’s staying at her dads, which is why she’s around my place all the time), and I would usually like to chat to her mother about this. I think it could be uncomfortable for everyone if her dad has to address it. I have a feeling that he would ask me to speak to her as a girl (long story - was her step mum for a number of years (10) and as such she they and I consider each other immediate family) .

If I speak to her about it, what should I say? Should I say anything to anyone?

I care very deeply about this girl, and I don’t want to see her participate in self-destructive behaviour.

On the other hand I remember what it was like being 14 with burgeoning sexuality. I just guess back then we didn’t have the internet so it was all talk.

Ok, now that’s all as clear as mud, opinions/advice gratefully received.

They are probably just riffing on each other. I tell ya, the amount of gay porn my straight friends have received in their e-mail boxes over the years… woooo, it’d be a lot. If she doesn’t seem to be too broken up by it, no harm no foul.

Do they know she runs such a page? If so you can just assume they’re OK with it, or at least trust her to deal with it - IOW stay out of it.

If they are not aware of it, then they should be. But first drop her a private word, to give her a chance to clean it up before the parentals look at it.

They’re aware that both the girls have pages but they think they are just photos and stuff, definitey not content like this!

My advice (I am NOT a parent) would be to leave it alone. I tend to ignore the comments on the pages of my younger cousins. Being teenagers, they tend to send stuff like this to each other all the time. Usually it means nothing and its really just the way they talk to each other. Having recently been a teenager, I know that a lot of what we used to say had very little to do with our actual actions. It is good that you are aware and involved in what she is doing in your home though.

Can you explain what is meant by “a variety of ways?”

“Laney sucks dick” could be taken in two ways, a) she’s a jerk, and b) she’s sexually active. Which is it here?

Or just ‘Laney is my friend and I’m teasing her.’ Chances are, if this is a comment left by a friend and not an enemy, it has absolutely nothing to do with anything sexual. They may be stupid (and wrong), but teens see MySpace as the equivalent of passing notes in class. And girls get just as nasty and rude as boys, if not worse. This is normal.

Another vote for (a) this is normal and (b) don’t get involved. This seems like typical teenage shenanigans to me.

I think we have a very simple case of Mean Girls here. Just because this girl is or has been Laney’s very good friend in the past doesn’t mean she won’t turn on Laney like a rabid weasel for no reason except to improve her relative standing in the herd. Laney probably feels that she “can’t” delete the messages without appearing uncool or a prude to her “friend.”

(many, but not all) girls that age have a core of evil in them that is truly disturbing to witness. They do generally grow out of it but it takes them more years than you’d think for them to be ashamed of themselves.

Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls is an interesting read on the subject. One of the important points is that, unlike boy bullies, girl bullies usually have higher-than-average social abilities with adults; most adults think they’re lovely people.

I have a female friend, 18 years old, who likes to make jokes about anal sex. I think the excitment comes from the fact that it is provocative (and probably titillating to the guys she knows; in fact, I know it is titillating to the guys she knows).

For a 14 year old, then, it might be just that - Raunchy talk that is exciting for its debauchery. Since her page is private, she isn’t “advertising” it to people she hasn’t pre-screened. And, since it is private, she might take comfort in knowing that it isn’t something that her parents (or other adults) will be privvy to.

Having said that, you would be doing her a favor to have a (non-sexual) conversation about how the internet isn’t as private as she might think. You might even discuss how you know someone who had a “private myspace page” that was hacked, so others could see it. A white lie, perhaps, but a good idea to impart to her that she should be careful not to post things that others may eventually observe (it’s kind of like the idea that email is like a postcard, which anyone can flip over and read).

Meanwhile, you may also mention to her parents (even just her dad, who would be uncomfortable with it) that a 14 year old girl needs to have an adult talk about sex (she’s at “that age”). If you are close with her, you could offer to give that talk. Again, no need to discuss the specifics of her myspace page (which would mortify her), but somebody should talk to her about the importance of respecting herself, and not allowing anyone to coerce her into anything she’s not already comfortable with.

Those two messages, I think, won’t necessarily cause her to erase the MySpace messages. But, I believe, they will impart the important lessons she needs to learn.

I agree with the others - this is just “girls being girls”. Yes, this is what it looks like today. :rolleyes:

But I do have one more suggestion: ask her if she has a MySpace page and if you can be added as her friend. If it’s innocent, she’ll probably say yes and even be a little excited - after all, teenage girls do tend to be attention queens. If she lies and says she doesn’t have one, then you might reconsider and wonder if something’s up.

My two goddaughters gladly added me as Friend, and I’m occasionally shocked at what I see there. (Really? You’ve chosen Bisexual already? You’re 13 years old!!!) But they know I’m their Friend and that I see their comments and blogs, so I take it as read that I can bring up anything I see on there, and occasionally I have. Turns out that the “boyfriend” mentioned as the “in a relationship” is a pen pal from New York she sees once a year (whew!) and “[name] sucks dick!” means roughly “Ha! pwnd!”

IMO the parents have dropped the ball by not adequately monitoring their kid’s computer usage. But you aren’t the parent and she is not your kid.

I could imaging saying something to one of the parents along the lines of “Boy, I was surprised to hear what kind of things kids put on their Myspace accounts. Does your kid have one? Have you seen it?” And drop it. If the parent doesn’t care to go into it any more, that’s their choice.

Or you could talk honestly and privately with the girl. Tell her that she left the info up where you accidently saw it. And let her know your thoughts as to the propriety of such content. Heck, if the kid is using your computer, it doesn’t strike me as unreasonable that the possibility of a little input from you comes along in the bargain. And it sounds as tho you have a good relation with the kid such that you could honestly give her the benefit of your experience and maturity.

She’s 14, she and her bud say rude things to each other online and cut school, oh noes! Honestly, you need to calm down about this. This is all perfectly normal and doesn’t appear harmful. Kids will bust each other’s chops, they will make foolish choices, but that doesn’t mean that they’re debasing themselves or posting truly objectionable content online. Chill.

Sheesh, my friends and I are 30 and we still leave each other comments like this.

Nothing to worry about.

Yeah, I’d say stay out of it, even if you suspected it was true and that she really is sucking dick. If it’s not even that, but just some ribald kidding between teenagers…it goes triple.

Maybe I’m a lone dissenting voice here. If you know her family well enough that you are watching Laney you may want to be honest and mention that you happened to see some raunchy stuff on her page when she was over last time. Then drop it and let the parents decide how to parent their daughter.

13 year olds (I have an almost 13 year old) still need a lot of oversight- my kids were raised in a neighborhood of “communal” parenting where the parents would tell each other stuff if we were concerned and then let the parents take care of it from there. Frankly, it was a relief to know oher adults had our back (my husband and mine) and you weren’t in this parenting thing alone.

Just don’t be judgemental or alarmist, but informative. I think it’s better than talking to the girl- when she’s over your house her parents are trusting to watch out for her and sometimes that means letting the parents know what going on. IF the parents are smart they can check things out without ever bringing you into it.

She’s a teen being an inappropriate dork, which is what young teens specialize in. Nothing to be concerned about. Especially when she can delete the comments, and her profile is provate. That means she’s choosing exactly who can see those comments, and if they can be seen at all. Let it go.

Let’s just say it was using a wide variety of alternate terminology. :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the input everyone. I really appreciate it. I had already decided last night on the way home to let it lie… for now. I know her parents are concerned with her hanging around this other girl.

The story is, I am actually a lot younger than her parents - 31 1 to their mid-40’s, so I was a little concerned about talking to them about it, regardless of how close to them I am.

I guess I’m just a bit tired and strung out at the moment, as both the girls have been staying at my place for a week while mum’s in hospital (cant remember if I said that in my OP), and I work 10 hours a day - don’t know how those of you who raise kids by yourselves do it. I guess I just needed some guidance as to actions.

Anyways, I’ve decided to let it drop - for now - if her behaviour or her friend’s behaviour comes into question again, I will raise it.

thanks all

I am a parent–the offspring being aged 23, 20, and 17–and I too would say, “Leave it alone.”

[ul][li] As mentioned, teens riff like this all the time, doesn’t necessarily mean anything.[/li][li] Myspace pages are considered a “no parents” zone by the kids, and even if you read it inadvertently, letting on that you read it would have the same effect as letting on that you read her diary. Parental units who want to retain any semblance of street cred need to project the image of being above all that sort of thing, nosy parkering around someone’s Myspace page/diary. If you ever tell any of them that you read it, it will only end in tears, and in a loss of trust. Go figure.[/li][li] And double that if you read her diary, and then go blab to her folks about what you read. She will never, ever forgive you.[/li][li] And her parents will forever after be somewhat uncomfortable around you, because you were the one who threw this ugly mudball into their family relationships, albeit with the best of intentions. Families generally prefer that non-family members butt out, unless they see an actual emergency situation approaching (“I saw your daughter turning tricks on Main Street last night”), which this isn’t…[/li][li] …because you have not the slightest shred of evidence that Laney is in fact sexually active, whether she sucks dick or not. You can really screw up her entire life if you tell her parents anything at all along this line.[/li][/ul]

Bottom line: MYOB. Zip the lip.

Oh, and…you might tactfully explain to Laney how to Clear the History folder when she’s done with your computer.


No. Don’t do that. Not unless you actually see her giving blow jobs under the football stadium during halftime.