I am taking a break from the Childless mother story today and I wanted to touch a more up to date topic 🙂 . Social media has become the thing nowadays and if used properly it can do wonders. Internet is an amazing tool as well as it can be a very powerful enemy. Parents, grandparents, they are all using it in order to communicate and share faster, more efficiently. As long as the human physical interaction is not replaced, everything is great. When I see people in their 60s or 70s using the computer, trying to understand their grandchildren’s language, the world, the speed, I truly admire them. It’s amazing to want to be a part of the changing world instead of resisting it. I know stories of people who were born back in the days when there were no cars on the streets and now they are turning on their new computer and browse away on Facebook or Skype family and friends around the world. Amazing, right?
But, there are some rules to be applied especially when it comes to Facebook. No matter how much you will try to stay hip, the gap between generations will always be there. When your parents have a Facebook account and you are in your 20s or 30s, the situation can become a little uncomfortable for the latter.
Now some words of advice for the parents. You think you know your child better than anyone and maybe you do, but when it comes to Facebook no one really knows anyone. Just like back in the days your kid was uncomfortable if he was shooting pool with some friends in a bar and you wanted to go and hang with your friends at the same bar (it happened to me); it makes him feel like he needs a baby sitter and embarrasses him in front of his friends. This applies to Facebook too. Don’t comment on their pictures, or status if you are going to use inside jokes or reveal personal stuff about him/her. And I will give you a short list of comments I’ve seen and should be banned when it comes to parents: “Oh, my precious little princess. It seems like yesterday I was breastfeeding you.”; “When are you going to introduce us to the girl in the picture?”; “Call me. Signed Mom.”; “Why does your status say you are at the movies when you said you are going to the library?”. The list can go one forever, but you got the picture.
Also, keep in mind that all these kinds of websites have security measures that most probably your kids or grand kids will use on you if you misbehave 🙂. This is a great tool to communicate when you are away from each other, but don’t over do it and if you really have to say something personal send a private message. I know many parents that are friends on Facebook with their children and because they are so open with each other in real life, you will never see weird or uncomfortable posts, comments, status on their walls. They take it as it is and it’s working like a charm.
I’ve been asked many times why am I so resistant to help my mom have an account. My answer is simple. I am not. She asked me about it, I explained to her how it works and she realized that we can have the same virtual communication through email too; and it’s private. I did tell her though, that if she wants an account I will walk her through it, but set my privacy settings differently, not because I don’t want her to see something, but because she would be one of those who comments weirdly on my stuff. I for one use Facebook more for work than fun, so it was much easier for me to prove my point than for a normal user.
Bottom line is: parents should listen to their kids when it comes to these kinds of things. They know better and the system was created for them, by them, shaped after them; so don’t fight it. I know it’s hard thinking that your child knows better than you, but if you don’t stop and listen, you won’t be adapting, you will just be proving that your way is the old way. Let him help you be a part of the change.
Secondly, children who have parents, grandparents on Facebook or whatever the network and say that they bug you, instead of throwing rocks at them, take a step back and imagine this: you wake up one morning and the computer is gone, the cars are gone, everything you used to know and made your life easier is gone. What do you do? You try to adapt. How do you do it? You start to research. What would be helpful? For the people who know how to survive to teach you the technique. So stop being so harsh on them and teach them how to improve. Don’t roll your eyes at their mistakes, be patient, they were too when you were driving them crazy. Good luck!