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The Parental Misuse of Facebook

Anyone who regularly uses Facebook would have seen that the social networking site turned 10 years old this week. I noticed this as my feed was rammed full of identical movies from pretty much everyone I’ve ever known. In 2006/7 everyone joined. The pictures showed that they looked young, they drank and they were happy. By 2014 most had got married, had kids and on the whole looked old, sober and miserable.

Having seen those movies it is hard to deny that there is a positive side to Facebook. It’s become a scrapbook of your life, documenting every moment and memory with the additional benefit of providing you adverts for Russian hookers who are lonely in London. However, there is an aspect of social sharing that riles me like no other. It’s what I deem ‘The Parental Misuse of Facebook’.

Let me clarify exactly what I define that to be. I’m besotted by my little girl and like most parents am eager to thrust pictures of her at people at the first inkling of their interest. As such, I appreciate the parental desire to share and update, often regardless of who might actually be interested. What I’m talking about is a trend of a specific type of sharing. The type of sharing that makes you think, “ok, that’s too much.”

The following highlights specific examples of the Parental Misuse of Facebook:

1) Potty Training Updates

Since when is this news? No one cares if Sammy has just done a poo in the potty and I hate to think what kind of a degenerate ‘likes’ a post like that. What did potty training parents do before Facebook? Post little pieces of their child’s faeces to all their friends to keep them in the loop? No, no they did not!

2) ‘My Amazing Family / look how lucky I am’ persistent proclamations

Everyone should be allowed a couple of these. It’s lovely if you have a family who you love and who make you happy. It’s the persistent offenders that I’m talking about here. Let’s get one thing straight. No one’s family is that amazing. In fact, 90% of the time they drive you bat shit crazy. The more you post, the less we believe you.

3) Pictures of kids in the bath

‘Dear Mr Paedophile, I understand with Operation Ore and other police clampdowns you are struggling to get hold of nudey shots of toddlers? Well, I thought I’d cut out the middleman and post pictures of my child completely starkers straight to the Internet for your perusal.’ Serious point here, it’s just not safe.

4) ‘I’ve had no sleep’

Then don’t have kids. Simple.

5) Direct messages to your child

I’ve never met a young child with a Facebook account. Considering this fact, they seem to receive a disproportionate amount of messages wishing a happy birthday, good luck for their first day of school or just a simple declaration of love. If you possess a child who is able to boot up the computer, log onto Facebook and read the message you’ve sent them, then I suggest rather than spending your time posting crap, you contact Oxford University or a circus because your child is clearly a genius or a freak.

I’m really not against people posting updates about their kids. It would be hypocritical if I were as I’m partial to the odd post about my daughter. It’s amazing to live in an age where we have a tool that allows you to observe family and friend’s children growing up, hear the hilarious things they say and do and of course witness the enjoyment that people derive from their little ones.

All I’m saying is to think whether the gem you’re about to post would be acceptable in every day life. Would you: Talk about poo at the pub? Show naked pictures of your kids at a party? Continually boast how lucky you are or how hard life with your child is in a room potentially containing those who, for any number of reasons, would do anything in this world to swap places? I’d say probably not.

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