For my mother’s birthday, my dad bought her an iPhone. When she first mentioned wanting one, I thought it was kind of funny. She never used the iPod nano he bought her for Christmas, and she’s not what you’d call a technophile. Whereas I use my iPhone for all manner of inane things, my mom doesn’t text, or chat, or need to surf the web on her phone. She uses her phone to make calls.
And now, to further stalk me across the world wide web. (My mother, reading this, has just said, “I don’t stalk!”) Just a little hyperbole, Mom, you know how I love it.
Mothers on social media sites – it’s not the end of the world so many people seem to think it is. In my case, there is absolutely nothing I could do on the internet that would result in me being grounded/arrested/pregnant/or all of the above. I’m just not that interesting, so while it occasionally bewilders me as to why my mother wants to be aware of everything I do, it doesn’t bother me. My father looks down on all matter of social networking with scorn, so I don’t worry about him. If he ever joined Facebook, then I’d be convinced it was the end of days.
For ‘kids’ (and I use the term to encompass all progeny embarrassed by their Facebook-friending elders) who don’t have such great relationships with their parents, I can see why having Mom on Myspace might be horrifying on many levels. There’s the potential for posting of nudie-pics, reminders of chores yet to come, and the ever popular ‘friending of all your friends.’ (By the way, Mom, these are not suggestions.)
But for those who fear retribution, here’s a thought: either spend your time carefully crafting your security blocks, or just stop posting about the stupid shit you do. No one can foresee all the ways information can get around on the internet. Bad news travels fast through the ether, and it’s highly likely that someone will see your hilarious pictures of underage drinking and casually mention it to your dad at the next P.T.A. meeting.
Frankly, I see the whole ‘parents networking’ thing as reminiscent of teaching children to behave. The more emphasis you put on how bad something is, the more curious the kid gets, and the more likely he is to run with scissors, or use that swear word you absolutely forbid him from saying. Treat it like it’s no big deal, and the child gets bored and moves on.
Likewise, the more a kid protests about the presence of parents on Twitter, the more suspicious they will get that the reason you don’t want them online is because you’re behaving badly. And you probably are, but you don’t really want to fan the flames. It’s like telling someone, “No, don’t go into that room under any circumstances, ever, just don’t.” “Why? What’s in it?” “Nothing.”
If you simply accept the temporary intrusion into your personal life, chances are they’ll get bored within a few days, or simply overwhelmed by all the applications and the passwords, and never remember to check for updates again.
Though I do hope my mom continues to enjoy her shiny new toy. Happy Birthday, Mom!