10 worst parental crimes on social media

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“If you want to know what we are doing, just ask. When you look without asking, it feels as if you don’t trust us.”

Elders and social media are like oil and water: they simply do not mix. And on those occasions when they do try, it usually results in disaster, social media disasters, that is.

To help the often clueless adults, 14-year-olds Lara Brown and Grace de Souza from England, in their Guardian story, explore the 10 worst parental crimes on social media.

1. The ‘talk’

Although parents make it a point to warn their children about the dangers of the internet (“you mustn’t ‘friend’ anyone you don’t know,” “post anything you might regret later in life”), they tend to forget the hidden, more insidious things lurking in the shadows.

“[They] neglect to warn you about really bad stuff, such as the brutal body-shaming, or the pornography they are too embarrassed to mention."

2. Hypocrisy

“No phones at the table, they say. So while parents answer emails, check the weather, or get a quick football update on their phones, teenagers must eat in awkward silence,” the girls said.

On those times when children are granted access “to the internet for long enough to retrieve an interesting fact, it is automatically written off as false because it was found on the internet.”

“Did you know an ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain?” we say. “Nonsense! Did you find that on Facebook?” they sneer (while entering some fresh query of their own into Google).

3. Boasting

“Their bio states: ‘Mother to two lovely daughters; both keen musicians, sportswomen and academics,’ and their most recent post is, ‘Having a lovely time playing Scrabble with the family.’

“Parents use social media to conjure a fake family life, which is weird—and embarrassing. (Parents who post their children’s exam results on social media, with the caption “So proud of my wonderful son/daughter and his/her amazing grades” deserve a special mention. DON’T DO IT.)”

4. Getting Facebook wrong

“a) Using your child’s Facebook wall as a method of communication is wrong, wrong, wrong.

“b) Posting family pictures that include your teenagers is another no-no. Yes, we had a great time at the theme park, and yes, the photo of the whole family on the log flume was hilarious, but don’t post it.

“c) Liking your child’s friends’ photos. A Facebook “like” doesn’t just mean you like something. It is a way of saying you are interested in reading about what the person is doing.”

5. Getting Twitter wrong

“The hashtag allows you to categorize a post by its keyword, thus allowing an individual to find your post. So when a parent tweets “#OnHoliday with my #family and drinking #DietCoke, the #weather is #Great” it is hilarious.”

6. Getting WhatsApp wrong

“WhatsApp allows you to write a brief status that appears when someone looks up your contact. It is not a place for “profound” observations, or witty quotes from films.”

7. Getting Instagram wrong

“Captioning an Instagram is hard. There is a thin line between pretentious and interesting. Every teenager spends quality time deliberating over what to write under a picture, but not parents.”

8. Using bad science

“My mother often tells my brother to take his phone out of his pocket in case it makes him infertile,” one of the girls says. “Inventing bad science to convince teenagers not to look at their phones in the evenings just makes you sound silly.”

9. Spying

“If you want to know what we are doing, just ask. When you look without asking, it feels as if you don’t trust us.”

10. Asking “What have you been doing all day?”

“To you it may seem as if I’ve wasted a day staring at a screen, but if I don’t stay in contact with my friends, I feel terrified by what might happen. I don’t feel I can explain that to you. So please, leave me to it.”

READ: Kids and gadgets: How to help them disconnect and deactivate!

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