08/09/2012 03:12 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

eWise: Wedding Thank-Yous, Policing Kids on Facebook


I recently bought a friend a nice wedding gift and traveled at significant expense to her destination wedding. A few weeks later she sent me an email thanking me for the gift. I haven’t responded yet because I feel like wedding gifts should be acknowledged with a written thank-you note. Or is that no longer the case?
- G., Boston

Spending hundreds of dollars in plane fare, hotels and wedding gifts is one of the most generous things we do for our acquaintances. A handwritten note is not too much to expect in return. But there’s no need to acknowledge her inadequate acknowledgement of your gift — even the most thoughtful thank-you card does not beg a response. I suspect you don’t feel obliged to respond, but are reaching for a way to remind her she is a bad friend. Don’t. She knows she is cutting corners, and there is no use trying to reason with a new bride. A gift is an expression of thanks for a lavish party and best wishes for the couple’s future. Next time you are invited to a wedding, give no more than these things mean to you.

When my adult niece told me that my teenage son had postings with the f-word and drug references on his Facebook page, I went straight to my son to take down those posts. He knows I have no idea how to use Facebook, so I told him how I found out. The next day my niece emailed that he had unfriended her. She didn’t seem particularly fazed by it, but was I wrong to intervene?
— Mom glad not to be on Facebook

No, we need to help those who can’t help themselves, and teenage boys need lots of help. But there are sneakier ways to make sure your son isn’t broadcasting his worst habits. A service called ZoneAlarm SocialGuard will alert you when certain words, potential strangers, cyber-bullying or malicious links appear on your child’s page without allowing you to see what he is posting. You can customize it, so be sure to add any code words your son and his friends use to describe their antics. This is only a partial solution, as he may create a dummy page or move the colorful talk to chats if you’re clueless. Mentioning his chances of getting a cool summer job could convince him to clean up his page on his own.

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This story originally appeared in our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, available in the iTunes App store.