I don’t usually write rants. So brace yourselves. Last week we saw Alicia Silverstone mushing up food in her own mouth and feeding her child with a bird-like mouth-to-mouth technique on Youtube (link below). Today as I scanned Facebook, Babble asked it’s fans when their menstrual cycles returned after their children were born. (And the question received 150 comments and 41 likes within 4 hours.) Seriously? Is this a productive way to spend our time, bare our souls and reflect positively on the art of Motherhood? I think not.
I was introduced to a website recently called STFU, Parents. (You can guess the acronym). With categories such as ‘Spoiled Brats’, ‘Mommy Drama’ and ‘Bathroom Behaviour’, it is a brilliantly curated compilation of Facebook missteps by parents. The site “reaches thousands of daily readers and averages 1.5 million pageviews per month”. And no wonder. I could lose hours staring incredulously at the inane things that parents feel the need to share. I chuckle at the inappropriateness of the posts and yet I also feel sad and mortified. That there is a site like this makes a statement about our society. In my opinion, we have crossed a line where nothing is sacred to us or our children. What will Johnny think about the poop-smeared crib photo when he’s 13 and looks back at the Facebook legacy of his childhood that lives in perpetuity?
Having a laugh and feeling connected makes social media valuable and enticing. Friends joking with each other and revealing tidbits about their day is interesting and also a great way to lesson a geographical distance. But people must realize that this information is ‘out there’. Potential employers have asked recent graduates for their Facebook login information, and reputations and careers have been ruined. Posting negative or embarrassing information about your children could come back to haunt them – or potentially harm the trust within your parent-child relationship in the future.
The internet allows us to access information and have our questions (sometimes) answered without needing to communicate in person or search out a book. Information on bodily functions, sex, and other taboo dinner-table topics from reputable, research-based sites are an excellent source of information. But when I look to social networking sites for camaraderie, friendly laughs and the sharing of knowledge, I really don’t want to hear about vomit in your minivan. Nor do I want to see a photo of the placenta. And I most certainly don’t want to know the specifics of your teenager hitting puberty. The value of social media is knowledge – real information that enhances our collective experience of our world. We have incredible tools at our disposal and we are littering them with inappropriate information.
The Mouth-to-mouth feeding video.
What are your thoughts?