My niece just turned 13. What does that mean? Her bat mitzvah is tomorrow morning. She’ll have her first event entirely devoted to her, with hair and make up. It has the same flavor as the wedding she’ll have some day. Her mom told me, “she’s old enough for Facebook”. And this is when the objections started, in the same tone I had when I told her she could absolutely not wear pants with writing on the butt. “Are you sure? I think it’s 16”, I texted her as I began searching Google for the answer.

13.

But she’s not ready. I’M NOT READY. I was scared for all the things I hear about- things that happen to other kids- cyber bullying in all forms- blatant and subtle. The tiny mistakes that are now amplified with today’s technology. News of a crush that now rivals the speed of light.

FB_usersWhen I talked to my niece this week, I nonchalantly asked her if she was on Facebook yet. “No, I haven’t had time”. This was already good news. “Are a lot of your friends on it?” “Some are. It’s just so much work finding friends. And I don’t really have anything to say”. She’ll soon find that even people who are on Facebook don’t have much to say. I was uplifted by her lack of enthusiasm. And it’s nothing I ever considered. I thought getting on Facebook would be like finally getting to ride the ride you had been too young or too short to board. But it’s not. It’s a burden. Because at 13, you don’t have a mountain of friends. You have 20. Maybe. This hadn’t occurred to me. She doesn’t have a world of multiple schools, past jobs and guys in bars. I have 16 years of guys in bars alone. Three more years than she’s been alive.

She’ll be on Facebook someday. Or maybe there will be a newer better (or worse) thing that “all the kids will be doing”. Maybe they’ll all just continue to G-chat until college. But right now, I’m comforted that my beautiful budding niece has better things to do with her time, than sit on her computer and watch everyone’s life go by.