Kids, Lighter

If You’re Inviting People On Facebook… Click “Private”

Thessa's party Hamburg Germany; image: AP
Image: AP

When Thessa’s birthday was coming up, she decided to throw a party. After all, it wasn’t every day a girl turned 16!

So, as many kids do these days, Thessa posted an invitation to her party on Facebook. She wanted all of her friends to come.

But she made a big mistake. She forgot to set her Facebook invitation to “Friends Only.” More and more people saw the invitation and signed up to come to the party. They sent it to their friends and told more people about it… and before long, more than 15,000 people had confirmed on Facebook that they were coming to the party.

That’s when Thessa, who lives in Hamburg, Germany, told her parents and they called the police.

A hundred police officers, some on horseback, arrived to control the crowd of more than 1,500 people who showed up for the party. Thessa’s parents also hired a private security firm to protect their house.

Some of the “guests” brought cake and presents for Thessa. Others held up signs asking, “Where’s Thessa?”

The party turned out to be a peaceful gathering of 1,500 people Thessa had never met in her life. People were drinking alcohol, but for the most part everyone behaved himself. Eleven people were detained by police and one police officer was injured when he tried to keep one partygoer from breaking off the Mercedes-Benz logo on his police car. And a few girls in flip-flops had cuts on their feet from broken glass. But that was about it.

Meanwhile, Thessa was never even at the party. When things got out of control, she put up a “party cancelled” notice on Facebook and fled. She spent the evening quietly celebrating with her grandparents in an “undisclosed location.”

Thessa feels terrible about the incident and says she doesn’t want people at school to laugh at her over the incident.

Thessa no longer uses Facebook.


Writing/Discussion Prompt
Luckily, most people behaved well at Thessa’s party; however, it could have gotten very out-of-hand!  This is one of the reasons why people are sometimes nervous about using social networking sites, like Facebook.  What are some other reasons why people are hesitant about using Facebook?  Are you and your friends on Facebook? Do you think there should be a minimum age for people who use Facebook?  Do you think people should post whatever they like on Facebook, or should there be rules and restrictions?

Reading Prompt
In most non-fiction texts, you cannot hear the journalist’s “voice.”  However, some articles, like this one, have a clear “voice.”  For example, the journalist selects specific words, sentences and phrases to explain the story.
With a partner, highlight and discuss which parts of the text show the journalist’s voice.  Why did you pick these specific pieces of text?
Does “voice” help you to better understand the article?

Identify some elements of style, including voice, word choice, and different types of sentences, and explain how they help readers understand texts (OME, Reading: 2.4).

Identify various elements of style – including word choice and the use of similes, personification, comparative adjectives, and sentences of different types, lengths, and structures – and explain how they help communicate meaning (OME, Reading: 2.4).

Identify various elements of style – including foreshadowing, metaphor, and symbolism – and explain how they help communicate meaning and enhance the effectiveness of texts (OME, Reading: 2.4).

Grammar Feature: Types of Sentences
This article includes three different types of sentences:
1. Declarative – a statement that ends in a period.
2. Exclamatory – a sentence that shows a strong feeling and ends with an exclamation mark.
3. Interrogative – a sentence that asks a question and ends with a question mark.
Find each of these types of sentences in the article and explain how you were able to identify them.