The blogosphere is currently bursting at the seams with insightful posts and articles from parenting authors providing helpful social media rules and guidelines for their teens and tweens, everything from iPhone rules, Instagram guidelines, to general social media parenting advice how to monitor your teenagers online activity (in a world where Facebook is just one of many choices).
I’ve been using some of these articles as discussion-springboards with my daughters. After all, the one common denominator almost all this research shares is the advice to parents to regularly dialogue about this with their kids.
Ashley (my 15-year-old), of course, is all “sighs” during these conversations. If I bring up social media, she rolls her eyes, exhales loudly, and proclaims, “Dad, have you ever had any problem with me and this stuff? No. Then relax!”
If I only had a dime for every time my daughter told me to relax.
Yesterday, after asking Ashley a little about Instragram and showing her an article with parental guidelines, she sighed, rolled her eyes, and informed me that its parents who really need a list of rules for social media. “Because if parents expect us to talk with them about this stuff, they need to not be so dorky.”
“Oh really?” I asked? Trying not to sound defensive.
“Relax Dad. I’m not talking about you. It’s those creepy parents!”
Then she began to list her rules. NOTE: When she said them, she was just ranting to me, but I started quickly taking notes (which was pretty difficult while rolling on the floor laughing). She didn’t intend for me to post this rant. It was only afterwards when I asked, “Can I post these?” She agreed for a small price.
So pardon her sarcastic tone. Just think of this as ‘the things teenagers might want to tell us, but never do.’
So here they are, and I guess when you read them… you’ll know if you’re a creepy parent or not… according to Ashley.
Ashley’s Rules for Creepy Parents
- Don’t sit on Facebook all day. It’s easy to see who is and isn’t on Facebook all day. Some parents are obviously on it waaaaaaaay more than kids. Don’t you have a life?
- Don’t comment on everything we post. If you were there or have something unique to offer, then fine. But please don’t comment on every picture posted by every teenager you know. It’s a little creepy.
- Don’t try to talk like you’re 16. You aren’t. Act your age. Embrace the fact that you’re 45. Talk 45. Be 45. We like you as 45.
- If sexting is a problem, I haven’t seen it. Please don’t tell me that Snapchat is only for sexting. I use Snapchat all the time with my friends showing them my facial expressions for fun. I’ve never sent or received a sexy pic in my life. Chill!
- Don’t LIKE every picture we post. See #2 above.
- And definitely don’t comment on your kids’ friends pictures or posts. That’s sort of six degrees of separation creepy.
- Stop stalking your kids on Facebook. “Who was that kid you were sitting next to at the football game in the orange shirt?” Creepy! How would you like it if I asked you, “Who was that lady in the lowcut top you were talking with by the copy machine at work today?” It’s okay to keep up with us on Facebook… but stop spying on us.
I was guilty of one of these. One out of seven isn’t bad, right? Does that make me creepy?
Alyssa (my 17-year-old), agreed with most of these, but inserted, “Yeah, but just because Ashley has never used SnapChat for bad doesn’t mean that all kids are innocent of that. Parents need to know their kids.” She also added that “It’s okay when some of my friends’ parents comment on my pictures or posts. That’s nice. Just not every picture and post.”
So… are you a creepy parent?