Being granted parental permission to setup my very own Facebook account was one of the highlights of my childhood.
It was right up there with losing my virginity – although that wouldn’t come until years later – and the first time I took a sip from one of those thick chocolate shakes you buy from low-rent cafes.
I used my Facebook account mostly to play a game called Crazy Taxi, which if you ask me is a tautology.
But I also enjoyed the sense of community. And the idea that, as a 13-year-old whose life was dictated largely by the will of his parents, it was a platform one could establish an independent identity.
My group of friends, both male and female, felt the same.
Listen: I speak about all the times my own mum overshared embarrassing moments from my life on social media. Post continues after audio.
We never shared anything truly personal on Facebook. Most interactions revolved around sharing game high scores, or crafting statuses we perceived to be funny.
Even then however, they were crafted in our own tone. With our own vocabulary and our own linguistic flair. From an account we owned. With a picture of our face in the top corner.
After living as dependents, reliant on our parents for everything from underpants to breakfast cereal, we were given control over our own public image. It was invigorating.
We were finally able to realise the unique person we wanted to be… and then simply be that person.
Each time our parents publicly interacted with us on Facebook however, it held us back from being that unique person. It anchored our identity to the mother or father or family that, as teenagers, we tried so desperately to create distance from.
You can only imagine then, how each endearing wall post or butt-naked baby photo we were tagged in made us cringe.
‘Bingo’s First Bath,’ the caption would read. ‘He loved playing with his willy!’
He still does, but that’s beside the point.
It wasn’t our parents’ fault, how much they embarrassed us. We were a guinea pig generation after all. The first brought up conversing far more eloquently online than we ever could have hoped to in real life.
Now, however, it’s a different story. Social media has been around for nigh on two decades, and parents needn’t feel around blindly for where the line lies between friendly and embarrassing.