This social media stuff has gotten out of control. Blood pressures are rising, stress is mounting, and lifelong friendships are dwindling – from behind a computer or mobile device. It’s all because we like, or agree, or vote, or debate, or choose not to debate, or my all time favorite – have suffered more.
And on the last one…let’s change it to we believed we have suffered more, or longer, or harder, and we are going to prove it. On social media. Today.
And here’s a new one: Posting anything new or different or positive apparently now means that we have forgotten about the struggle or the social ills of America or the election or whatever we’re upset about.
Before you know it we become offended. And stressed. And tired of having to explain ourselves. Then the unfriending ensues. Y’all, I’m not exempt from this behavior. I’ve unfriended and I’ve unfollowed as well. I’ve even written the oh-so-sly yet really passive-aggressive post that usually ends with, “Unfriend me if you must…this is the truth.”
As a parent though, and as a parent of teenagers who have very active social media lives, I discovered something very important. Sometimes when the kids become frustrated with an issue that shouldn’t even be on social media in the first place, the first thing they want to do is unfriend, unfollow, and block. Even if there’s no real place for it.
They think that’s what they should do because that’s what they’ve seen us do.
One of my precious babies posted something highly innappropriate on social media. It was full of expletives and foul language. It was embarassing for me as a mom, and it tested every bone in my parenting body. As I’ve said time and time again, I was expecially glad for my personal rule of “Be where your children are on social media.” And because in my house, there’s always a sibling who will call my attention to something in case I miss it, I was able to catch this pretty quickly. And when said child and I discussed it, within five minutes I was told, “Everything’s fixed now mom. I blocked and unfriended someone.”
I’m sure you can imagine the next part of the conversation. The part where
I lost it we discussed how unfriending doesn’t matter in this case because said child actually said those offensive, hurtful, and disrepectful things.”
Somehow, said child felt like those words were justified..well…because our president-elect of the United States can say similar things and get away with them. But we are not even going to go there. We are however, going review the new conversationall and social media rules of engagement for my family. I truly hope you never have to deal with this, but in case you do, I’m hoping this will offer you some encouragement,
Rule #1: If you wouldn’t say it to me, don’t say it, type it, text it, or post it to someone else. This includes text acronyms that are abbreviations for something profane. Reality check for me as a mom – I may need to watch my own texting language because children, even teens, tend to imitate the behavior of their parents.
RUle #2: If you are interested in getting to know someone better with the intent of dating them, there are certain boundaries you should not cross. Even if they feel the same way about you. You are to always address them by their government name or family-endorsed nickname, that’s why they have one. Translation: Lil Mama, Big Sexy, Wifey, and Baby Daddy will not work.
Rule #3: When you think about the twerking in the music videos, the scantilly-dressed male and female video dancers, and the bumping and grinding that some musics references – THINK OF YOUR MOM DOING IT. Note: I don’t twerk or bump or grind or make a habit of doing any of those things, but I’m hoping the visual freaked them out enough to not be enamored with this lifestyle.
Rule #4: This infraction may have cost you a temporary loss of social media privileges and placed a dent in your social life, but subsequent infractions will have consequences that last longer and are more painful. Translation: If you think the two weeks without a mobile device and the deactivation of your social media accounts was bad, let’s see how four weeks with account deletion feels.
The objectification of both men and women is real in this world. I’m currently looking for ways to continue the conversations at home but to also participate in a community service activity that reinforces what I’m
nagging about teaching at home.These teens years are hard. I’ve read more and my friend Cheryl has given workshops on the teen brain, but none of it quite sticks until it affects your own family.
What do you do when your child who knows better suffers from a lapse in judgement?