Do as I Say, Not as I Did: Parenting in the Facebook Age

Teenage girl in trouble with parents

Comedian Tom Green (1) said it best. “Before Facebook, you used to be able to lie and get away with it. Now you can’t get away with s***” (his words, mind you).

If you can remember having an actual telephone— not one that fits in your pocket, but the one next to your fridge that had that damnable cord— then you can remember when you at least had a chance of doing something without your parents finding out. Or even worse, your kids finding out.

Those were the glory days. It all changed in 2004, when a few umbrella-in-the-drinks Harvard nerds, led by Bill Gates’ mini-me, Mark Zuckerberg, introduced the world to the most addictive and mind-consuming drug on the world market since “Yo! MTV Raps”—Facebook.

Facebook is the ultimate snoop tool. Now we’re plugged into everyone’s lives, with the ability to know where our friends have been and what they’re doing and thinking. We can see who “likes” the latest photos and ecards, and while some pics are hilarious, many are just plain TMI.

Tag – You’re It

You know better than to take photos of your spontaneous, alcohol-binging escapade to the strip joint with friends. But do your friends?

Waking up to find you’ve been tagged on a Facebook photo of your best impression of a puke faucet in view for all your friends to see is more than just temporary embarrassment. It’s damning evidence of what, at the time, was carefree fun, but may later turn into regretful recklessness.

So you’ve made bad decisions in your life. You’re human. That hilarious photo of your mugshot you posted on Facebook after you were nabbed for drunk-riding a Razor scooter will never come back to haunt you. You’re only 21. You aren’t thinking about kids. Worrying about what your kids might think of or learn from you is light years way.

This Is Where You Should Take Pause and Think

Do you remember that crushing notification on Facebook that made you cringe and turned your blood cold instantly? You know, when Mom joined Facebook and friend requested you?

Facebook is no longer a place of carefree expression for you. It has become a watchdog tool of your life for your parents. It’s the ultimate babysitter, giving your parents up-to-date notifications of your doings, wrongdoings and all. And they don’t even have to pay for the babysitter at the end of the night.

With chains of limitations now firmly locked in to your Facebooked brain, now knowing mom is “watching,” your texty fingers hesitate when you’re out with friends and you feel the urge to post a video of you on spring break falling off stage during a dirty dancing contest.

Parents today, both young and old, are learning what soon-to-be-parents-but-don’t-know-it-yet people need to be learning, as well — behave and be responsible, especially on Facebook!

Need real-life examples? Cheezburger has a glimpse into parenting in the Facebook age. Confess to your Facebook friends you’ve done drugs and forget to block dad from the post? Burned. Post your frustrations about your boyfriend and mom chimes in? Burned.

So, do yourself a favor. Remember your parents were once young and carefree (and, no doubt, careless) as you are now, and your kids will be just as pestered with you as you are with your parents.

Guest post by Catherine Draper.  Cath has been working in SEO and Social Media since before Twitter was invented, although she loves the great outdoors just as much as surfing the net. Writing is just one of her many passions.

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