It’s a milestone in every mother-son relationship. For me and my 15-year-old son it happened earlier this week; he started following me on Twitter. The last of my social media networks has been breached by my kids. THEY’RE EVERYWHERE.
First it’s your body. I’d say pregnancy is pretty invasive, wouldn’t you? Then it’s your home. They leave traces of their presence in every corner of every room. And just when you thought you had a kid-free zone on the internet to vent, rant, mock, and be sassy, they add you as a friend on Facebook. BAM.
We are the first generation of parents to face this interesting situation. I think there are good things about it, but I’m not sure we’re even capable of foreseeing the implications of it. We need to approach it carefully.
My daughter has been reading my blog for years. I’m so glad. She knows me better and gets a rare look into my point of view. I am glad I have 10 years of blogging through marriage, pregnancy, and kids for my kids to read when they go through all of this later. BUT it does change the way I write and what I write about. Unquestionably. My daughter is on Pinterest, too, which is really pretty fun. (I have a board called “Maggie’s Wedding.” She’s 12. I’m that mom.)
My son has a Facebook account, and we are “friends.” For the most part, it’s a fun way to stay in touch. We share cool articles and make jokes. I’m sure he thinks my husband and I say lame things to him, but he’s civil and he reciprocates. I also like to keep up on what his buddies are doing. That said, there are no compromising photos of me on Facebook. There probably won’t be. But if there were and if my social life were a bit more spicy, I’m not sure how I’d handle that. For now (remember, they read my blog) let’s just say I’m glad I didn’t have Facebook when I was in high school. But our kids will have had Facebook when they were in high school. So, that’s their problem (I guess). But I do try to warn them: People can look at this forever. Be smart about it.
One of the main problems with Facebook is not just what you post, but what your friends post. So you have to have the conversation with your kid that goes, “So and so is my friend, but they are cray cray and I don’t agree with anything they ever post on Facebook.”
For me Twitter was the last frontier, my last little piece of of the internet without sticky kid fingerprints all over the place. It’s OK. It’s not like I have some secret elicit Twitter life. In fact, sometimes I find myself telling my kids about a Tweet I wrote that I thought was funny. “They tweeted this, and so then I like totally tweeted this,” which is either a sad commentary on conversation in the modern world or an awesome example of meta-discourse in a post-modern society.
On Seinfeld, when George Costanza’s mom decides to start dating she says, “I’m out there.”
George replies, “No you’re not! Because I’m out there, and if I see you out there there’s not enough voltage in the universe to electroshock me back into coherence.”
I’m out there folks. And so is my son. And just like sleeping through the night or eating solids, it seems to be a new milestone for parenting in the digital age.
What do you think? How will you handle this? If your kids read your blog, would it effect what you write? Would you think twice about that tweet you sent @MagicMike? More importantly, how can I bridle this new technology in the service of getting my kids to help out more around the house?
“Oh mom,” my daughter just thought. “It always comes down to that, doesn’t it?”
To which I reply, go make your bed.
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