Next time your kids want to send out a Facebook invite to some of their friends, have a little talk with them about this young girl’s Facebook flub. A few weeks ago Thessa, a teenager from Hamburg, Germany, set up a Facebook event to organize a small party for family and friends to celebrate her 16th birthday. However, the invite went viral almost immediately because Thessa forgot to mark the invitation as “private” and instead of a small get-together, found that her event had received over 15,000 RSVPs.
Fortunately, Thessa’s family had an idea of what might happen on the day of the party, notified the police, and were able to celebrate at a quieter location. However, 1,500 “guests” still showed up for the designated time and location of the party and over the course of the night, “eleven people were detained, one police officer was injured, dozens of girls wearing flip-flops cut their feet on broken glass and firefighters had to extinguish two small fires.”
Some determined party-goers reportedly chanted, “Thessa, celebrating a birthday is not a crime.” While this is true, kids and teens can still learn a lesson from this story and be careful of how they plan an event if they’re posting any information about it online. When information is accessible to anyone and everyone on Facebook, whether it’s details about a party, certain interests someone has, or something as private as an address and phone number, there is always a risk that the wrong person will find that information.
As with any online networking activities, ensure that your kids implement the most private and secure settings as possible to avoid situations that could affect their online reputations, as well as entertaining mishaps such as this. Fortunately, no real damage was done in the case of Thessa’s 16th birthday party, but posting other public information that should be kept completely private – or should not be anywhere online at all – could have serious effects on your kid’s safety and privacy.
How active are your kids on Facebook when it comes to making plans and setting up events or parties?