DEAR AMY: My teenage daughter and her cousins have a 40-year-old aunt who has a Facebook page.
This aunt routinely posts baby pictures of the kids, and frequently comments on their pages, writing on their "walls" and interjecting into their communication with their peers.
Not only are the kids embarrassed by the pictures of them their aunt has posted, but also they do not like their aunt being a part of their social network via the Internet.
While one niece has blocked this aunt and another has refused to "friend" her, my daughter is too intimidated to block her aunt.
How should these children respectfully get their aunt to stop checking on them via Facebook, short of blocking her?
Talking with her is futile; she already knows her nieces and nephews are offended by her comments and postings, and this has not stopped her.
I think the kids should be able to go on Facebook without having to worry about their aunt intervening in their "conversations." What do you think?
— Too Old for Facebook
DEAR TOO OLD: There are plenty of middle-age people capable of navigating on Facebook, but the experience is easier for everyone if the older generation accepts that Facebook "rules" are dictated by people who want to be able to reveal all — but don't want for anyone else to violate their "privacy."
If this aunt wants to play with the kids, she's going to have to suffer the slings and arrows of adolescence, right along with them.
They've tried to be respectful, and she has not complied. They should refuse to "friend" — or block — her. A block is a wordless wall of virtual bricks. Blocking is not impolite; it's neutral.
If the aunt in question wants to find out why she has been blocked, she can ask.
While I do feel that all of the teenagers involved here should be able to tolerate a small amount of virtual cheek-pinching, the adult should think about how she would feel if someone posted her baby pictures on the Web without her permission.
The young family members might be able to handle this by sending their aunt a friendly, funny video, telling her that they're blocking her from Facebook — but saying that they look forward to letting her torture them in person over the holidays.
DEAR AMY: Our daughter is maid of honor at one of her best friends' weddings. Her mother and I are invited to the wedding and reception. This daughter was a bridesmaid at another friend's wedding a few months ago. We were not invited to this wedding or reception. My wife was surprised. Is it standard practice for the parents of bridesmaids or for that matter ushers to be invited to the weddings?
— Curious Dad
DEAR DAD: Despite the perception that weddings are supposed to be run according to a set of prescribed guidelines, there is little about a wedding that conforms to any "standard practice."
If the bride and groom consider you and your wife to be close friends of the family, you will be invited — your status as parents of attendants notwithstanding.
Parents should not presume that an invitation will be offered based on their relationship to the attendant — but on their relationship to the marrying couple.
DEAR AMY: My wife and I are senior citizens and enjoy our access to the Internet.
A member of my wife's social club constantly pelts us (and others) with e-mail, usually forwarded from unknown sources.
Lately she has been sending a lot of e-mail with religious or political overtones.
Many are simply brazen bigotry, while others can be considered hate mail.
I have asked my wife to ask her to remove us from her mass mailing list. She believes that any action to stop it will cause resentment. How do I handle the situation while keeping the peace? I simply do not want such vile trash on my computer.
— Angry Old Man
DEAR ANGRY: If you don't want to confront or block this unwanted e-mail and if you don't wish to receive any e-mail from this person, you can have all mail from her address sent to your "spam" folder.
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