August 10, 2012
A few weeks ago, the web site Lamebook, which chronicles the best and worst of Facebook encounters, found an interaction between a child and his parent that perfectly represents one of the (many) dilemmas occurring on the social networking site.
The interaction went like this:
Maybe I’m nostalgic and miss the time when Facebook wasn’t open to the public. Or maybe when my mother tries to interact with me via Facebook, I get overwhelmed with images of momma’s boy embarrassment (i.e. dropped off by mommy to your first drinking party or Frances McDormand yelling “Don’t do drugs!” to her son as he walks into the Black Sabbath concert in “Almost Famous”). However, as shown by the example above, I think that there’s certainly just cause for concern among my fellow Gen-Yers who have parents they also call Facebook friends.
I’m not saying that parents with children on Facebook shouldn’t be allowed to use the social networking site, but, like everyone, really, they must learn that the boundaries online are much the same as they are in the actual world.
I consider myself to be pretty great friends with my mother and father, and really enjoy their company when I can get a chance to visit them. And as I’ve grown older (now 24), I’ve enjoyed the fact that, for the most part, I can have no qualms about inviting them to gatherings where peer are involved. But would I have in high school or college? The answer is no. Very much no. And I believe most youngins feel the same way.
It’s an issue of personal space. This may seem a ridiculous concept given the vastness of the Internet and the core vanity of Facebook, but it’s relative to each child’s right of passage into adulthood (or at least my generation’s pedestrian version of it). Usually around ones upperclassmen years of high school, parents are forced to accept their child doesn’t need them the same way they did when they were children and are often forced to deal with, ironically, bouts of childish acting out to prove that fact. This leads to the parent feeling resented, though they know its just a phase that will pass. And if mommy decides the best way to tell little Tommy to get off Facebook and clean is room is commenting on his most recent status, the lines between parent and child can only grow further apart.
So parents, just because your kid doesn’t want to Facebook chat with you or have you comment on photographic evidence of their drunken escapades, it doesn’t mean they resent you, it just means they’re not mature enough to accept that you two can socially interact in the same atmosphere.
Plus, there’s always email.