Adult Invasion Equals Change of Hangout? by Ryan Bretag

I remember seeing one adult skating around then another and before I knew it, every time we went to the bowling/skating rink, adults were there in full force.

We soon found a new hangout and that pizza parlor held up for the remainder of my youth. In fact, I have some of my fondest memories at that pizza joint but it would have only taken a few adults to force us somewhere else.

You see, I don't think it was so much the place but that the place was our own. It was a place where adolescents could be adolescents but also adults by way of being the oldest there.

Now, don't jump off this post just yet. This isn't a trip down memory lane, I promise.

I bring this up because of the latest Facebook trends that show adults have not only entered the building, they have entered in great force according to Inside Facebook: "45% of Facebook’s US audience is now 26 years old or older and the fastest growing segment in the US: Women over 55, up 175.3% in the last 120 days."

What does this mean for teens and college students? Will they flee for "a place they can call their own"? Should we as adults invade this place, this sanctuary?

These are questions to ponder especially for teachers who I'm hearing, often as I cringe, about connecting with their students via Facebook as some sort of course learning space. While I find it wonderful that educators are looking to leverage social networking and seeking new ways to connect with their students, I wonder how many have really talked to their students about how much they want adults, specifically their teachers, connecting with them on Facebook. In my conversations with students, the overwhelmingly majority state that they don't want their teachers using Facebook educationally.

Can we blame them? This is their skating rink, their mall, their arcade, their pizza parlor.

And, just for the record, Facebook is still their place as the overall numbers show:

But, as the aforemention trends show, this is changing.

So, how long will they tolerate this adult invasion?

After all, the past, virtual or not, tells us that we can invade their space all we want. They will just find a new and even better one that we can flock to in a few more years once we accept it as valuable long after they have. Images come from Inside Facebook