Let me start off by saying social networking is not for children. It is an adult space intended for “adult” ideas. That being said, I do think what someone is posting on social media speaks volumes about a person’s integrity, character, and maturity. This isn’t a post about the ills of social networking (well, maybe just a few rants). In fact, I love the connection social media brings to businesses and political discussions. However, many posts are just a plain waste of time, garbage for your brain. A gal I work with was saying her pet peeve with posts is when people show pictures of their dinner. She was pointing out how it’s a basic human need to eat so “Good job. You cooked food for yourself!” I similarly cannot stand pictures of people’s pedicures. Ugh! Thanks for that disgusting picture of your foot! By far, I am most concerned with posts made by people that, for better or for worse, have interaction with my children.
We all have people in our lives that are beyond our choice, our extended families. However, as parents, we must do our best to filter the influences of family members that do not reflect the values we are trying to teach our children. Mostly what’s concerning to me are posts involving sex or drugs. Call me a prude, but I believe once you become a parent, you are effectively a role-model. Being a parent gives you a sort of “professional power,” which is respect given to your title as a parent, extending even beyond your own children. Many parents experience a transition with their children at different stages of their lives (namely the teenage years) where children challenge their “professional power.” Parents, thus, need to earn their children’s respect through “personal power.” “Personal power” is power earned through the relationship they have with their children, proving their willingness to listen, love, set boundaries, and most importantly set examples. Hopefully, they have this intact prior to those challenges. Sorry for the detour, but the point I’m getting at is, that being someone’s parent means something to other people, not limited to, but including our children. Once you are a parent, other, younger, impressionable relatives that are able to cross your path on social networking, are absorbing your behavior as something that truly has power and influence.
I am, by no means, saying that any parent is perfect. We all are human. We all mess up. However, when it comes to my children, there are certain lines that cannot be crossed. To me, posts about sex ( some borderline pornography) and drugs, show a lack of judgement and values that I really cannot overlook. I’m not talking about a political discussion about the legalization of marijuana, something with intelligence and discourse. I’m not even talking about jokes sexual in nature. I’m talking crude and personal things that belong in one’s own personal space, not flaunted about on social networking through the narcissistic pageant of immature “adults.” Similar to the “Hey look at me I cooked myself food,” it’s “Hey look at me. I like sex and drugs.” Lately, I have kept a keen eye on these types of things. To our children, our family titles mean something powerful. Even the friends we have mean something to our children. We cannot fail our beautiful babes by putting them in harm’s way with someone that lacks judgement. All I can say is learn about the people that spend time with your children. It’s a hard line to walk when it’s a family member. Keep your distance and keep your children safe. God Bless.