The real risk is for people like me - elderly people in their early forties. Navigating Facebook for us is akin walking across the field during a rugby game. There's going to be injuries. Hips will be broken. But now that I've run across that metaphorical field for a few months, I do have some advice for newly-elderly people who want to befriend young people on Facebook.
First, do not read young people posts. They like to describe what they're doing in college. You, as a relative who cares for them, their education and their safety, do not want to know what they're doing in college. For instance, one of my nieces might hypothetically post something like the following:
"Skipping class today. I lost the car last night and need to find it quick before someone opens the trunk. Hope my parents don't find out."
See? There's nothing constructive that you can do after reading something like that. It's best that you never read it in the first place. Embracing your impending senility is a lot easier without being confronted with painful questions on Facebook.
Which brings me to my second tip. If you must read young people posts on Facebook, don't reply to them. Don't comment on them. You might think that you will fit in - that no one will know how old you are because the Internet gives you a measure of anonymity.
You would be wrong.
I wish I had a dime for every time I've popped out a witty bon mot on one of my niece's pages only to have three of her friends comment:
"Dude, your post smells like my grandmother's house."
That's right. On Facebook, old people posts literally smell like mothballs.
Sometimes, I can barely type ROFLOL through the tears. And that only intensifies the pain and irony - because I'm way too old to physically roll on the floor and laugh out loud like the youngsters do. Not without busting my hip. You know, ROFLOL-BMH.
Finally, never use the phrase "bon mot" on Facebook. Or in a blog post. You'll just look like a tool.