Social media — what not to do

by Louise

The 10 worst parental crimes on social media

This is a piece about teens, their parents and social media. What are some things about people’s posts on social media that annoy you ? What shouldn’t people post ? Are there age limits to posting certain kind of pictures ? Are there things that are appropriate on one type of social media that are inappropriate on others ?
Discuss.

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101 thoughts on “Social media — what not to do

  1. My community is shocked and heartbroken right now because of the death of a 13-year-old girl, allegedly at the hands of an 18-yr-old college freshman she met online. I don’t care how much you embarrass your kids, you MUST watch what they are doing online and talk to them about the dangers.

  2. #3 – boasting. I have one friend from college who frequently posts things about her kids like “John – so proud you made the 6th grade honor roll. Jane – so proud of you for winning the 3rd grade achievement award.” Neither kid is old enough to be on facebook. I keep wanting to post a snarky comment along the lines of “why don’t you just tell your kids directly if you’re proud of them rather than posting it on facebook which they don’t have access to?”

  3. When I drove my daughter’s soccer carpool this week, the girls (all in 10th grade) were chatting with each other and mentioned that they leave their make-up on until right before practice even if they are home by themselves because they could get a Facetime or Snapchat at any moment and they want to look good in case they do. :-( And of course they are all beautiful without makeup.

    Of the various social media, DD (soon to be 16) seems to use the following the most:
    — Snapchat
    –Facetime – either just to hang out with friends or they’ll use it when doing homework (particularly math/science) so they can work on problems together
    –texting
    –Instagram – mostly to look at other people’s posts. She rarely posts a picture on it (a couple times a year).

    DD doesn’t use Facebook much (if all the parents are on it, then clearly it’s not desirable) and only joined because her soccer team has a page where they post updates, practice info, etc.

  4. SWVA Mom – I read the news after you posted. Some of the things about social media, I heard at the parent coffee talk that parents especially of girls were saying were alarming.

  5. DD#1 – is very introverted – mainly texts and uses Facetime and Google hangouts to connect for homework. Doesn’t wear make up, though many of her friends do.

    DD#2 – much more social – more texting, more Facetime with friends, but no FB or Instagram, even though her friends use it.

    RE DD#1 – I get posts on my wall from her friends asking about her. Those friends know that “my” likes are really her likes as I will show her the friends’ posts. I told her she could have a FB account, but she doesn’t want one.

  6. SSM – It’s the same thing with the little kid’s birthdays! Your kids are in elementary school or younger so why are you saying happy birthday to them on FB?. I find it so odd.

  7. SWVAmom, that girl was a lymphoma survivor who had been teased mercilessly because, like many pediatric cancer survivors, she had appearance issues. This really, really, really hit me hard.

  8. “I keep wanting to post a snarky comment along the lines of “why don’t you just tell your kids directly if you’re proud of them rather than posting it on facebook which they don’t have access to?””

    Agreed! I also hate the mushy posts about your spouse wishing them a Happy Anniversary or whatever the occasion may be. You are supposedly happily married & live together. Say it TO THEM in person or in a card. Obviously the motivation is bragging or else there wouldn’t be a need to put this on a public forum. What I don’t mind – the wedding flashback photos on a big anniversary (always fun to see old photos) or photos from a trip/party celebrating an anniversary. It’s the “I love you so much more than ever honey” type public announcements.

    The little kid birthdays bother me a little less because I tend to see those more in the camp of sharing photos with friends & family, but most of the ones I see incorporate photos of a kid blowing out candles or a BD party or a photo of the kid today contrasted with the kid when he/she was a baby. I find those mostly cute & fun.

  9. My 9 year old DD just acquired an email account and checks it constantly. She wants to use Facetime but I keep saying no – if she ties up the computer with Facetime, we will all go nuts.

    My older two, like many boys, were using online gaming sites as their “social networking”.

  10. I recently went to a seminar about the concerns that SWVA raises in her post, but it isn’t just typical social media where the “grooming” occurs from predators. It can happen on mine craft, xbox live, etc. Our kids are so trusting when they play games, or share a wifi network with people in a resort etc. We have to monitor their activity as much as possible, but we also have to teach them to be safe.

    When you give a child access even if it is a young child with an iPad or touch, or gaming device – they might have access to people they don’t know via wifi. We have to set rules and limits in our homes, but you still have to teach them what to do because some parts of their brain are not yet developed to do the right thing even when they are teenagers.

    The police are involved in a case in my HS that happened last week. A freshman was doing something to herself in a class, and she asked a friend to record. unfortunately, another person got a hold of the video and sent it out to the school. Kids suspended and police involved because she became a victim once it went viral. My DD heard the whole story from her friends at lunch because 6th graders have siblings in the HS. She actually had all of the correct facts, but we had to A LOT of explaining about why this girl would do something like this in school, and what it means when you take photos or send out to the world.

    I really like FB, Twitter, Instagram etc. It has allowed me to connect, or re connect with some good friends from my past that I would have probably lost touch with without the apps. I’m even meeting some old HS friends tonight, and were able to keep in touch through FB.

    i just think it is our responsibility as parents to coach, teach and monitor social media as we would any other aspect of our roles as parents. We have to set the example, and then behave as we hope they will behave online.

  11. I hate the mushy “I love you – mwah!” stuff between spouses who are sitting in the same freaking couch. If you’re putting that much effort into making FB think you are so in love, I just think you have issues. I also don’t like when people discuss the issues related to their kids and especially stepchildren on FB. Some do it even though I can see that the step kids are their FB friends. It really bothers me – no one needs to be publicly shamed or have their private conversation with their mom shared with 200 of her closest friends.

    Here is something I do that my family thinks I should not: I post fact-checking links to some of the outrageous posts that go around. Not all of them, but about 1:3. I just cannot stand to see some of that crap perpetuated. Do I need to resist the urge to do that?

  12. I am not bugged at all by the Happy Anniversary posts or the kid-bragging. All of my friends do it. In fact, before Facebook, I was in a very tight mommy mailing list, which I joined back in 2001. We discussed problems, but we also did a lot of kid-bragging. It was a conscious decision we made – we wanted to support each other but also share in the good things. We are still going strong as a mailing list, but a large number of my FB friends are also on that list. We still use the closed list to discuss things that require privacy, but we mainly have moved the kid-brags to FB. I am happy to see the posts. It makes me feel happy.

    What I REALLY hate on FB: those proscriptive videos that people post: “Watch this video and your heart will melt”. “watch this cut kitty snuggle with a mousie and you will understand the joy of the season”. Sorry, if you have to tell me how I am supposed to feel, it probably isn’t a very good video.

  13. SWVA & Mooshi,

    “She didn’t like going to school because she was bullied. She was telling me that girls were saying she was fat and talking about her scars from her transplant.”
    Lovell often cried to stay home from school, her mother said. “We discussed it with teachers, but it got worse. It got so bad I wouldn’t send her.”

    I’m not one for violence but those girls deserve a savage beating. I mean seriously, making fun of someone’s transplant scars? The mind recoils in horror.

  14. One thing I think is weird is that a lot of teens prefer to watch videos of others playing games on YouTube instead of playing the games themselves. A friend of mine who is a noted game designer posted about that recently, saying that he just could not understand it.

  15. I have friends (all parents of girls) who say they check everything their girls do on-line. And I think this is probably appropriate for the age/stage these kids are in. But, like MooshiMooshi notes, most of the ‘social media’ for our kids is things like Minecraft, which has a chat function. It’s impossible for me to monitor what’s being said. So I don’t really know how to monitor.

    This is a tough day/age to be raising kids, I think.

  16. MBT – I support your fact checking. My MIL is not on facebook but will forward horribly inaccurate emails to a large group of people. I will reply (just to MIL, not the whole group) with a link correcting the info. This will help the emails from MIL die down for a couple months before she gets back into action.

  17. Rhett,
    I am just shocked to learn that the bullying is that bad in this small, tight-knit community. I thought we had learned lessons about inclusion and caring for others from the previous tragedy, but maybe I only see that on the college campus. I haven’t had contact with the middle school yet, but I think kids at that age are probably the worst.

  18. My extended family has people posting what seems to be apology/contrite letters to their spouses on FB. One drama involved one wife deleting a FB post of her husband’s. Of course all this is being tracked by all their FB friends. Then there are couples who change their profile picture based on things are going with the spouse. No spouse in picture = mega fights IRL. In this vein, I was asked by DH’s cousin where DH was in a bunch of pictures I posted. I ignored the post. DH doesn’t like his picture taken.

  19. One more data point…16yo DS tells us that the kids really don’t use Facebook much (confirmed by 19yo DS). Much more use of snapchat, instagram, twitter.

  20. “One thing I think is weird is that a lot of teens prefer to watch videos of others playing games on YouTube instead of playing the games themselves. ”

    DS does this, but he also plays the games. I don’t get it, but the videos are relatively harmless as far as I can see. Mindbogglingly boring, but harmless.

    MM – I also am annoyed by those types of videos. Also, the ones that say “You’ll never believe what happens next.” Oh, I won’t?

    I would imagine that middle school kids are absolutely the worst when it comes to bullying.

  21. Yeah, my college students do not use Facebook. They also don’t use Twitter – they see that as something for 30-somethings who are trying to “establish their brand”. As part of my first-class ice-breaker, I ask them to tell me what their favorite apps and sites are. Snapchat and Instagram come up, as well as YouTube, and really boring choices like the ESPN site. They love sneaker sites too. Suprisingly, none of them have mentioned YikYak, that nemesis of professors everywhere. Maybe they don’t think I know about it?

  22. current post from my campus on YikYak: “guy in front of me has a hair just clinging to his shirt and I have the urge to remove it”. Um, ok.

  23. I agree with the double standard point. So many parents I know try and limit phone time/screen time of their kids while they themselves cannot peel themselves away from their iPhone/FB/whatever. Try limiting screen time for yourself first.

  24. “it isn’t just typical social media where the “grooming” occurs from predators.”

    This. I have a relative who met a very nice young man at a party, through friends. They went out on a date or two. And then they went on another date and he and a buddy drugged her, kidnapped her, raped her, beat her, and left her on the street almost a day later (and had lied about how old he was, etc.). We’re just glad he didn’t kill her, because honestly, if you’re willing to go that far, and she can ID you . . . .

    My response to the original article is sort of a smiling “sure.” I mean, some of that is just basic annoying stuff people do. But I do think it’s cute how teens think they invented the internet and that *only they* get to declare How This Shall Be Used. Yeah, no, sorry. If I think I need to limit your access to certain apps or lecture you on long-term effects from poor short-term decisions, it’s because I have slightly more life experience than you and am responsible for protecting you. Even if that does pierce your Bubble of All-Powerfulness and Independence. Tant pis.

    Besides, if I don’t follow your self-imposed “rules,” well, I am just doing my most important parental job: I am giving you more reasons to mock my cluelessness. So stop whining and start laughing at me behind my back like all good teenagers.

  25. seeing as how I was hacking about with TCP/IP protocols in the BSD kernel back during the ACTUAL birth of the Internet, I just laugh at teens who try to tell me that they invented the Internet. Then I watch them start to glaze when I describe my research area, which is massively interconnected global data via semantic networks, or what Tim Berners-Lee (the actual inventor of HTTP) calls Web3.0

  26. I definitely post happy birthday pics of my kids on FB with the current photo and baby photos. And a happy anniversary post every year – I love our wedding pics so I am glad I can post those every year without fear of reprisal. :)

  27. Lfb – That is a horrible story about your relative. Without knowing more details, it seems that’s the kind of thing everyone risks when they socialize beyond people they know very well. Sure, there can be clues, but sometimes not. It’s also the kind of story that sometimes gives me nightmares for my kids when they go out. I’m such a worrier.

    One thing I was guilty of when first using FB was tagging people who turned out did not want to be tagged. Lately I’ve noticed that some of my photos automatically get tagged. Not sure if that’s a setting I can control.

  28. it seems that’s the kind of thing everyone risks when they socialize beyond people they know very well

    I think the risk from people you know well is vastly higher than any stranger danger.

  29. “Then I watch them start to glaze when I describe my research area, which is massively interconnected global data via semantic networks, or what Tim Berners-Lee (the actual inventor of HTTP) calls Web3.0”

    I love this Mooshi ! I love to tease my kids. They are taken aback when I spout pieces of information they thought I must not know.

  30. I have a family member who does not want any pictures including his children to be posted on FB. Kids are under 12 and don’t have their own accounts. I’m wondering if this is a thing now, and how parents can possibly monitor what other people post if the kids aren’t identified or tagged?

  31. Scarlett my sister has declared that her baby will not have a social media presence. So far there has been nothing but baby is only 7 months old.

  32. Scarlett, there are a *lot* of parents here who are furious if their kids’ pictures are posted to Facebook, even if it is something like an action shot of the soccer team and there is nothing identifiable about the back of their child’s blurry head.

    As we use more of the photo software that can use a picture of DH now to identify his baby pictures, I am starting to get more concerned myself, although I still think the odds of anyone doing something nefarious with a picture of my kid are really low.

    Mostly I use FB for the hilariously strange things my kids say, like this little gem:

    “Mommy, I think the Pillsbury dough boy is the best superhero – because what is better than cupcakes? NOTHING.”

  33. I’m not looking forward to parenting in the digital age. I hope that we will be able to keep up with the new apps, but I doubt it.

    Baby Rhode has a digital appearance. Mostly because DH or I post 1-2 pics a month if he’s doing something fun (like yesterday, he “drove” a Jeep at the autoshow), but I can’t be bothered being glued to social media.

    I do like the “no screens” at the table. DH loves to play games while we are feeding DS, or eating dinner. I called him out on it and he’s stopped. I like it so much more now. And DS learns that screens aren’t everywhere.

    Scarlett – when I have pics of other kids, I ask if I can post them. If the parents prefer them to not be online, I don’t post them. I think it is a thing now to ask to not have photos of kids on people’s FB pages. I vaguely remember an article about a parent who flipped out because their child was photographed in public (and it ended up somewhere, like the town’s website). It wasn’t a posed portrait, but one in playground where you could barely make out the people in the photo. As for monitoring what other people do – I don’t know. Don’t make public appearances?

  34. I have instructed my husband to never, ever, wish me Happy Anniversary over Facebook. Just totally not my cup of tea.

  35. How can parents prevent others from taking pictures of their kids in public places, and then doing whatever they like with them (other than FB posts?
    Some swim leagues forbid taking phones into locker rooms during meets, but short of patting the kids down at the door, it’s impossible to enforce that rule.

  36. my son’s pre-K teacher took a video before xmas of the kids singing a few short songs and ringing bells. she asked permission from all of the parents before posting to fb. it was very cute!

  37. I don’t tag people unless they ask me to. My logic, if you know the person in the photo the tag is unnecessary. If you don’t know them, then the tag is unnecessary. I am very cautious about what I post with other people involved. If you don’t look terrific in a photo I ask you first. If I have a photo that is even slightly embarrassing (trust me, I have plenty) I won’t post it. I think it is about respect.

    Can’t even tell you how much this stuff weighs on me in regards to my children. My son just plays video games and watches others play games. My younger is much more into the stuff online and I worry about what they are exposed to and how that will influence them!

    I like all the pictures of kids and families. I don’t like 6 thousand “you are good enough” inspirations, help find this child that it turns out was found 3 months ago, and 30 ways to make your life easier where I have to click 30 times!

  38. Scarlett, if the parents see me taking a picture of my kids in a group setting (game, party, playground) they will come up and tell me that they don’t want any images of their child online, and ask if I can crop their kid out.

    I ended up sending out team photos by email instead of posting to the team page last season, because several parents have that rule.

  39. I find the no pictures of my kids anywhere to be hard to enforce. I used to be cautious when they were younger but now they are in several different activities, it is nice to see their picture with kids from the same activity in a group on the website or brochures pertaining to those activities. I sign off on limited access. We also have several parents taking group pictures so I don’t know where those end up. I personally don’t post activity pictures to my FB page.

  40. I’ve never heard anything like that about pictures, and I tend to be fairly cautious. I generally don’t sign photo releases, or only release them when my kids will be in a group shot and not identified by name. I don’t want anyone who knows me in a work setting to look by my last name, pull up a photo of my kid in front of (Generic) Elementary, and know where my kid is at, etc. Perhaps because of my client base I have more than standard concern about this. That said, I think it’s really unlikely that anyone is looking for my kids I just figure it’s easier to keep a smaller footprint publicly. I do share pictures on facebook, and I regularly refer to my kids without using names so that their names aren’t readily searchable on my account. Anyone who knows us will know what we are talking about. Anyone who doesn’t know us, doesn’t need to know. But I’ve never asked a parent at the park to crop out my “random child playing in the background.”

  41. I don’t think MS are the worst for bullying because they don’t know, or use some of the terrible stuff like yik yak, whisper, secret, and burner. these seem to be used generally by 8th graders and above so the bullying can be anonymous. You have to continue to educate yourself about the different apps because the kids are always getting new stuff once the adults start to use an app.

  42. The ‘no phones in the locker room’ signs are posted in my gym. No enforcement attempted AFAIK. Practically every time I’m there changing there’s some guy talking on his phone near me. No photos, I’m sure, and the conversations are always like “I just got to / finished at the gym, so I’ll be there in an hour / a few mins, etc.

  43. ” these seem to be used generally by 8th graders and above so the bullying can be anonymous.”

    Isn’t 8th grade Middle School? I would call Middle School 7th through 9th grade. Regional difference? By later in HS, my recollection is that kids start to branch out a bit more away from school via jobs, sports clubs, outside activities, college visits, etc and the world expands a bit. Also, they start to gain a little more confidence & social skills.

    I agree with asking before tagging people on Facebook. You used to be able to decline the tag, but it seems that now you cannot – you must actually actively remove tags, which seems much more aggressive & by that point, it has already been broadcast.

    I didn’t think that the facial recognition software on FB actually tagged people – i thought it just suggested tags. No?

  44. On Facebook, I have to approve everything posted onto my all. That may not prevent other people seeing me tagged in a photo, but it will prevent it from being broadcast on my wall. So while mutual friends of the poster and me may see it, people who don’t know the poster won’t see it unless I allow them.

    Tulip’s vigilance re: publicly naming her children is interesting. I never thought about it before and have always just put a pic of my kid on FB and said “Baby Rhode doing X”. I make sure that my FB page is completely private (DS isn’t in my profile picture or my cover photo because those are public), and I restrict my posts (I only allow friends to see them). I wonder if I should become more vigilant in protecting his identity. I guess I fall into the trap of thinking that if people know me, they know him. Particularly with details I’ve made public (and on this blog). Hopefully he won’t decide I’m too horrible of a parent for putting pictures of him online doing baby things – like crawling, “driving” a car, eating cake, etc.

  45. I want to check in with Finn, while we wait at the Denver airport hoping our flight is not canceled, that we had several great days of skiing with no adverse altitude effects. My older two took to skiing like cows to cud. I was shocked. By their second day, they were competently skiing intermediate trails in 12″ of fresh powder.

  46. Milo, that’s the beauty of starting stuff like that at a young age. Kids have no fear. Plus they have less distance to fall so it doesn’t hurt as much. I hope you make it out today.

  47. Milo: You might run into DH. He had to rebook on a later flight, but he is also returning from a ski trip and will be at DEN airport shortly.

  48. Milo, I’m so envious of your vacation! Glad the kids enjoyed it. One of the benefits of skiing is that once you reach a certain level, everyone can ski together. Even if you split up for a bit to take a different trail, you can still meet at the lift and ride back up together. Our group includes elementary age kids to seniors in their ’70’s.

  49. Ha, Milo, I’m at SFO hoping my flight into Denver isn’t canceled, but it’s looking grim.

  50. Sky – love your story about your son and the Pillsbury dough boy being his favorite hero. These are the sorts of things I love to see on my facebook feed :-)

  51. Milo, if you’re stuck overnight, email me and I’ll give you my address and the combo to the key box. My cat will be glad to see you and the kids.

  52. One pitfall on Facebook is replying to public posts. If you do, your reply will be public. I have made that mistake a few times. Unfortunately, I have friends on Facebook who make all their posts public. What is with that? I have learned to not reply to them.

    My main reason for being on Facebook at all is to share cute kid photos. All the relatives are there, and we all share photos of our kids. Most of the rest of my Facebook friends are denizens of my mommy mailing list or other good friends. So I do share photos of the kids. These days, I ask their permission first. I also check my Facebook page every so often – there is a way you can log in as someone else to see what others can see. I learned how to set up friend lists too, so I can customize who I share to. Mainly, though, I don’t accept Facebook friends unless they pass my basic tests: ” Am I OK with this person seeing photos of my kids? Is this a person who wants to see my kids photos?”

  53. What’s going on in Denver? Storm? I’m glad the kids loved it. I wish I learned at their age vs. high school.

    I’m stuck on train trying to get into NYC. Someone jumped in front of s train near Botanical Gardens so everything is stuck.

  54. Many parents seem to be concerned about how to keep their child (girl) from being a victim. I have only read a bit about the murder in Virginia, but I can’t help thinking about the alleged perpetrator, who is little more than a child himself and probably came from a tote bag family; it takes resources to produce a star cross country runner. What in the world happened to him (if he is guilty)? How do parents prevent their children from becoming victimizers?

  55. @Scarlett – I think parents feel that their kids have been accepted to good colleges, are in a good major so everything is all right. It may very well be. But there still continues to be adjustment, growth through college years. If you recall the Rutgers case those were freshmen as well from Totebaggy families.

  56. Total totebaggers
    From the WaPo
    “A second arrest Sunday was just as shocking. Natalie Marie Keepers, 19, is accused of helping Eisenhauer get rid of Nicole’s body. She’s an engineering student from Laurel, Md., who once interned at NASA.”

    So sad. The little girl survived lymphoma, one of the more lethal childhood cancers. And a liver transplant. What people are not seeing is how lonely the survivors are. The teen years are really hard for them.

  57. What Rutgers case? The kid who committed suicide?

    I hope everyone gets home all right tonight. My family members are affected by that NYC commuter delay, so I may be eating dinner by myself in front of the TV. Which for me would not be horrible tonight. :) My gut tells me that Sanders and Trump will win in Iowa.

  58. When I learned the reason for my delay, I felt so much sadness. This tragedy today on Metro North tracks was a student from Fordham Prep. He’s the second young man to jump in front of a train in two weeks.

    It’s so tragic for these kids and their families.

  59. Milo, I’m glad things worked out for your family. Altitude sickness is no fun and can really ruin a vacation.

  60. “He’s the second young man to jump in front of a train in two weeks.”

    The second one from that school. It may be the copy cat effect.

  61. The starkest earnings differences are for business majors, where graduates from the selective institutions earn 12% more on average than midtier graduates and 18% more than graduates from less-selective colleges.

    That’s a stark difference?

  62. @ Rhett, I agree. Doesn’t seem like such a stark difference to me, especially when factoring in the additional cost of tuition and the drag that student loans can be.

  63. Rhode, Rhett and anyone else – we’re trying to figure out our vacation plans for this summer and want to do some kind of house-with-water-access kind of vacation. We want to be able to swim or rent a canoe, chill a bit and yet still have stuff to keep 8 year olds occupied and off electronics. Rhode Island and the Cape come to mind. We have never done this before, so any recommendations?

    We’re also considering a trip to Boston.

  64. @ ATM – would you come South? If so, look into Kiawah Island (fly into Charleston) or Amelia Island (fly into Jacksonville). You could rent a house, do bike rides, tennis lessons and golf lessons for the kids, do some fishing…the weather would be deliciously hot and humid but with a great ocean breeze.

  65. ATM,

    house-with-water-access kind of vacation. We want to be able to swim

    Just make sure you’re on the south side of the Cape or in RI and towards the end of the summer if you want to swim. If you’re on the north side of the Cape all the way up to Maine the water is almost always going to be too cold to swim.

    Personally, I’d say Nantucket is best but being the best it’s also the most expensive.

  66. ATM – if you have questions about the lower Cape I can answer (I grew up there). I think you would just have to look at VBRO for water access (and it might be late, I’m not really sure). Weekly beach stickers are usually only around $50 but you have to get to the beach before 11:00 to get a parking space.. The ocean side is very cold but 8 year old boys would probably not mind. The bay side you can swim in and low tide is really fun for little kids. Cape Cod baseball games would probably be fun for them too.

  67. ATM,

    This is July:

    Atlanta, I assume you mean ocean side as in the Atlantic? I think of the ocean side as Nantucket Sound.

  68. I think this year we’re going to be in RI the last week of June and then spend the first two weeks of July on the Cape.

    Some of the fun things we did last summer – We did a whale watch out of P-Town which was really neat, did a band concert (they have them in Brewster and Chatham and probably other places) and packed lobster rolls and wine, did a baseball game (have to go in July for these) and went to the Welfleet drive in. And ate loads and loads of ice cream. Seriously, my town doesn’t even have a stop light and has no grocery store, but there are about 5 ice cream shops.

    Rhode Island is beautiful too. My in-laws live in Providence and I think Bristol is so pretty and Water Fire is fun.

  69. Rhett – yes. Nauset Beach! When I was 8 I really didn’t mind the 50 degree water, the waves were so fun. Of course, now there are sharks to worry about.:)

  70. Once you get past Chatham the water gets pretty cold, particularly before August. You could also go to a lake if swimming is preferred. My kids can swim at Squam Lake NH in late June/early July but it would be warmer in August. We go here: http://rdcsquam.com/ They give you 3 meals/day so you don’t have to cook for everyone – they always have plain pasta etc. for the picky eater kids. It is pretty much a swimming-canoeing-hiking type of place; they also have planned activities every week.

  71. We have done a beach vacation for several years. Our practice is to get a house with a pool, preferably heated. That way the kids can play in the pool and ocean (that counts as 2 separate events in the kid brain). We also rent a kayak for a week. This is all we do. We rent with friends. When the kids were little, we rented on the beach. As the kids became more mobile, we rented on the other side of the road for less money. 8 is old enough to be on the far side of the road.

  72. We go to the Cape a lot, and you can definitely swim in the Bay side or in a lake. We tried the ocean one year during a record breaking heat wave, but that was unusual. I love the Cape with kids because there are so many beaches and towns to explore. We’ve stayed in Chatham and Brewster. In resorts and a weekly rental. Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are wonderful, but more expensive if you go in season.
    Another option is Block Island. We go there for much shorter trips, but it’s really quiet if the weather is bad. You can take ferries from Rhode Island and CT in season.

  73. Lark – Friends of ours relatives have a beach place near Charleston. (Charleston airport is the setting of my lost child at the airport story.) Not something we can invite ourselves too, but we did it once. Despite the lost child episode, I really enjoyed it!

    We are trying to stay more local, but not too local. All ideas are still on the table. I haven’t gone to Fire Island and had forgotten about it, thanks for reminding me.

    We’re also considering a Philly/Amish/ Hershey vacation for the family, and DH and I separately doing a more chill out vacation while the kids are with family.

    Thanks for all the suggestions!

  74. The police are having a news conference at 2:00 today. I hope that will explain more about what they think the timeline and motives were.

    MM – I’ve seen photos on Facebook of tributes to Nicole at school – signs and blackboards with drawings and notes to her family. I can’t help but wonder, where was all this love when other kids were apparently bullying her? And what are those kids saying now?

  75. I hope that will explain more about what they think the timeline and motives were.

    Based on the mothers comment about “way out there” websites, I wonder if the girl was suicidal and the kid was looking for a thrill?

  76. “I can’t help but wonder, where was all this love when other kids were apparently bullying her?”

    I can be cynical about this sort of thing, but I think a lot of people are grief whores, and they want the attention of being associated with a major news item.

  77. Rhett – From reading that she was on a lot of “teen dating” sites, I’m thinking she was looking for acceptance, validation that she was cute. Then it went to meeting IRL and something went terribly wrong. But who really knows…

  78. Rhett – that story from the Boston Globe is so unbelievably disturbing. That girl is a sociopath.

  79. ATM – How about Ocean City NJ? It’s an island so you’ll have beach and warmer water you can actually (usually) swim in for when you want that and you can do canoe stuff on the bay. Boardwalk with all the usual quality food and plenty of rides. Note: the town is DRY, so you need to bring in your adult beverages. Lots of weekly house/duplex rentals. If you want more specifics, let me know.

  80. ATM- Have to pop in here and and agree with Fred on OCNJ. Wonderful little shore town. Can get quite busy in July. Best time to go is in August when the crowds start thinning out a bit and the water is warm but always a great place to visit. Cape May NJ is also quite nice but doesn’t have the boardwalk and other attractions like OC.

  81. “The starkest earnings differences are for business majors, where graduates from the selective institutions earn 12% more on average than midtier graduates and 18% more than graduates from less-selective colleges.”

    “That’s a stark difference?”

    It is relatively stark in comparison to near zero difference for STEM majors.

    IME, the differences tend go away in engineering jobs, but going to more selective schools opens more doors.

    And we’re already discussed how alma mater matters for jobs in academia.

    “there’s no significant earnings difference between engineering graduates from selective and less-selective colleges, and only a marginally significant difference between selective and midtier colleges.”

    No difference between most and least selective colleges, but mid-tier are different? That makes me wonder about how they assigned schools to categories.

  82. ATM – Southern Rhode Island is fantastic in July. You have the ocean and the Bay. The bay doesn’t have the waves, so very family friendly (Narragansett has a great beach, but is very crowded). Plus, there are some inland things to do (some large lakes/ponds for canoeing or hiking). I’m a saltwater girl, so I don’t know much out the inland waters.The food choices can’t be beat, and food trucks are also stating to make an appearance at Narragansett Town Beach. My favorite time of year is the summer in ‘Gansett.

    Plus, RI is so small, you can visit anywhere in about an hour. Mystic Aquarium is about 45 minutes away, Providence, a half hour, Boston 1.5 hours, Newport 20 minutes, etc. And, you can always go to Block Island for the day and rent scooters (though I’m not sure if the boys are old enough to ride…) to drive around the island.

    Also, I like Point Pleasant Beach, NJ. It’s got a great boardwalk, and is a fun family place. Jenk’s is fantastic, and I do love myself a salad from the Tiki bar. Plus that place has great tequila sunrises.

    If you want to know more, let me know.

  83. “I can’t help but wonder, where was all this love when other kids were apparently bullying her? And what are those kids saying now?”

    When I was around 5th grade or so, a kid in our school died. He was ‘different’ in that he was well below average mentally, and he was bullied a lot and shunned by the ‘popular’ crowd. But when he died, all the kids in his grade went to the funeral, and apparently a lot of them put on quite a show of mourning, especially some of the ‘popular’ girls.

  84. “IME, the differences tend go away in engineering jobs, but going to more selective schools opens more doors. ”

    Maybe, but apparently, there’s not actually any more money behind the additional doors, so it’s of dubious value.

    I think that we all tend to over-attribute certain opportunities or successes to some specific experience or credential when, in fact, it was probably a lot more arbitrary, or at least what one perceives as the lesser alternative would have been advantageous in its own right. The Harvard-educated employee thinks that he got in because of the name on his school. The Penn State grad says she got the job because of the vast and supportive alumni network. The West Pointer believes that potential employers are impressed by his “demonstrated leadership.”

  85. “but apparently, there’s not actually any more money behind the additional doors, so it’s of dubious value.”

    I think the value is more pronounced in tight job markets.

    I remember going through stacks of job applications to pick out the people we would interview. The top two criteria were college(s) attended and GPA. Even among more experienced candidates, those mattered.

    I’m also wondering if those for whom few doors open are more likely to leave (or perhaps never enter) the profession, and thus not count in the statistics.

  86. I think the value is more pronounced in tight job markets.

    From an economics perspective, the salary data would reflect that if it were true. If the MIT degree can open more doors, then on average, its recipients should be able to command higher earnings simply by having a wider range of options from which to choose. Obviously, some will choose based on other factors, like more lifestyle flexibility or a lower-COL area, but I would expect that people who choose those tradeoffs would tend to have been the ones who picked nearby, in-state land-grant U over MIT (thinking of WCE). In other words, while I would assume that the opportunities as a function of degree prestige are completely equal, I might still expect the Iowa State grads to be earning a little less because they’re more likely to stay in Iowa, or the Midwest, and since they stayed closer to family at 18, they’re probably more likely to start a family earlier, have a bigger family, etc. The fact that they’re STILL earning on par with the more prestigious brand name schools does not lend credence to your belief that the name brand school has much value in the STEM fields.

    “I remember going through stacks of job applications to pick out the people we would interview. The top two criteria were college(s) attended and GPA.”

    That’s because you’re a nerd. :) Someone else might strongly favor an Aggie, or an applicant with military experience, or someone who can get along better with the oil rig workers because he got his hands dirty in the field for 10 years before cobbling together a degree from four different online universities, even if his engineering degree is in “_______ Engineering *Technology*.”

  87. “That’s because you’re a nerd.”

    More likely I worked in a nerdly corporate culture. We all looked at college(s) and GPA, and if you wanted to interview the directional U grad over the Stanford or MIT grad (we did group interviews, and typically picked candidates by consensus), you would need to make a case. It would often help if we’d previously hired someone from that same directional U.

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