Dear Abby: Brother is alarmed by his teen sister’s dangerous choices

Advice column

Dear Abby: A few weeks ago, my 14-year-old sister snuck out and had sex with a boy she met on Snapchat. I know this because my distraught mother decided to tell me.

My sister lied to my parents repeatedly about it, but later, when they went through her phone, they found explicit images that a girl her age should never have. Furthermore, after they confiscated her phone, she acquired a new one from a friend and continues to message boys through Snapchat. She continues to lie to my parents when they ask her if she’s communicating with anyone.

She has been hanging around a toxic group of girls at school, and she’s very impressionable. She isn’t a bad person, but all this lying has left me confused and upset. What can I do to help her?

— Her Worried Brother in Georgia

Dear Brother: The age of consent in Georgia is 16. Do your parents know the identity and age of the person your sister met on Snapchat? The inappropriate pictures your parents discovered on her phone could be considered child pornography, and there are laws against it.

It’s very important that your sister understand how dangerous what she has been doing is. Because the peer group she has chosen to follow is undesirable, it would be better if your sister was removed from that influence and home-schooled or transferred to a different school. Please suggest this to your parents.

Dear Abby: My best friend, “Betsy,” died suddenly a week ago. She was only 58, and I am devastated. She was the most upbeat, positive person I have ever known.

A year ago, a new neighbor, “Claudia,” moved across the street. I befriended her and introduced Claudia to Betsy a couple of months ago. They met twice and texted each other a few times. I was pleased, thinking we could have a girls’ night out once in a while.

After Betsy died, I heard Claudia has been telling people her “best friend” had died. The day before, she told me she barely knew Betsy. Claudia also said that at least now she didn’t have to share me!

I am appalled that this woman is trying to co-opt my grieving for my dearest friend and make it her own. How do I deal with this?

— Sorrowful in Washington

Dear Sorrowful: I am sorry for the loss of your best friend. People who knew you and Betsy know how close you were. Claudia may have said what she did in order to gain sympathy or attention.

Your grief is your own. No one can steal it from you. Claudia may be insecure or jealous of the closeness you shared with Betsy. Now that you know what kind of person Claudia is, act accordingly.

Dear Abby: Do you feel the words “cool” and “perfect” are way overused and should be retired indefinitely?

— Curious in California

Dear Curious: No, but if you do, I’m perfectly cool with it.

How about overused words like “huge,” “awesome” and “epic”? And is everything and everyone truly “AMAZING”? See what you have started? Somebody hand me a thesaurus.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)