There comes a time in every young adult’s life when we’re faced with the hard reality that our parents are on Facebook. Yes, your dorky creators have worked out how to use a computer, started up a Facebook account, and worse, are requesting to be your newest online buddy! That glowing red notification up the top right hand corner, usually stimulating a euphoric rush of excitement and wonder, suddenly presents a critical ethical conundrum: ‘to accept or not to accept,’ that is the question.
On one hand, an un-responded-to ‘friendship pending’ status may result in a total excommunication from all future family events (and the disastrous termination of all future birthday funds), on the other hand, to accept the request may have the potential of opening a ‘Pandora’s box’ of access to online debauchery from a profile that chronologically depicts years of reckless behavior from the ‘I cut my own hair’ teenage years, to the present day.
Ultimately the pressure seems too much, and out of fear of being stricken from the family will, one accepts the request! OK, so now you’re Facebook friends. The question then becomes one of approach. Do you suddenly “PG-13” your life; eliminating all those Friday night drunken status updates, or do you put them on some kind of a limited profile? Some even go to the effort of creating a second Facebook account for their more conservative family members, forging a phony online identity, ‘checking-in’ to Church on a Sunday morning when in reality they’re boozing it up at the all you can drink BBQ brunch two doors down. But really who has time to lead a double life these days?
While having your parents online (and sometimes even Grandparents in the case of a tech-savvy Nana) may seem to have its initial disadvantages, ultimately it’s nice to be able to share your life with your nearest and dearest in this new and exciting way – especially if they’re wiling to make the effort. This can be particularly favorable if you’re living on the other side of the world, or, if and increasingly busy work schedule denies the frequency of regular catch-ups.
My rule is simple: ‘Parentals, if you want to be my Facebook friend, you will be exposed to everything I post whether you like it or not – and moreover, you forfeit your right right to make snarky comments on my wall or in friends’ pictures of me.’ This approach paves the way to a social media golden rule that I employ on a daily basis: ‘Don’t post ANYTHING you wouldn’t want your mom to read.’
While connecting with your nearest and dearest online may have its initial disadvantages, it is a reality of the modern world that this form of communication favors accessibility as it can be done anywhere at any time. It is, however, no substitution for organic face to face interaction or ‘family time’ – a realization I’ve just recently made living in NYC away from my family.
Though I have to worry – do they know I blog too?