“@_clickclack hello darling #wishIknewhatIwasdoing #twitterisconfusing”
This is what my mother adorably tweeted me last week having just discovered the social networking site. Not only does she think it is compulsory to have a hashtag on every tweet, she also finds it an amusing tool of sarcasm.
“@_clickclack getting the hang of this #sonot”
Although I found it slightly cringey, it was quite a nice, endearing way to hear from my mum that wasn’t a text or phonecall.
Can our parents’ generation come online? Do they even belong there?
Many of my friends have recalled various painful experiences of teaching their relatives “how to do The Facebook” and been incredulous at their lack of understanding. I don’t think it’s a case of ignorance, more a complete lack of exposure. Let’s face it; our parents probably have better social, organisational and general life skills because they, unlike us, do not rely on the Internet for over half of their sources of information and communication. The reason why they are trying is not to try to be cool and current, but simply as a means of talking to us and seeing what our lives are actually like. As I have moved away from home, I can understand how having a way of surveying your child’s life away from home that can be accessed just through a website is appealing.
Is there a line of privacy that needs to be drawn though? I’m sure there are certain tagged photos of certain nights out at certain clubs (most likely Ocean) that you would not want your innocent gran’s eyes to ever see. However, you can’t just ignore the friend request; it seems like the equivalent of slamming the door in their face.
Do you then have to start filtering your content to make it PG friendly? That isn’t even possible; someone is bound to frape you at some point, provoking your mum to comment: “Darling, I’m not sure Facebook is the right place to talk about your sexuality. Please ring me.”
Certain university students have two profiles, a home and away divide if you will. On the ‘home’ page, nice tame photos are posted and statuses are usually along the lines of “Off to library once again!” Then the other (perhaps slightly more truthful) profile is used ‘normally’, cue incriminating photos and statuses about take away pizza at 4am. That way, everyone is happy.
I think it is a positive thing that our relatives attempt to embrace the socialising of the future but do believe there should be a necessary degree of separation. If it gets to the point that it is always your parents that like your posts before anyone else, they are probably stalking your every move. Just gently ask them to back off slightly and maybe call them a bit more – chances are they just miss you.
After all, what they don’t know won’t hurt them…