kids

"The social media rules I wish my Mum had followed when I was growing up."

When you’re a kid, you’re a bit self conscious.

You want to fit in, so everything your parents do or say is MORTIFYING.

And if you’re a kid growing up today, then the explosion of social media has doused fuel on that already raging fire.

Because parents now have another channel through which to communicate/interact/embarrass their kids.

It’s a far more dangerous way of sharing, one that we don’t fully understand yet.

I’m nineteen now and every kid my age or younger is part of “the guinea pig generation.” Our parents have been presented with a platform to share quotes and stories and photos their children.

Listen to Luca and his mum Mia Freedman discuss sharenting with Jessie Stephens and Holly Wainwright on Mamamia Out Loud.

So, speaking from the perspective of my fourteen-year-old self, here are the six clear-cut social media rules that kids want their parents to follow.

1. Don’t tag me in anything. Ever.

“Mum has tagged you in a photo/status” is the Facebook notification no kid wants to receive.

Sure, a Facebook status is relatively harmless. But the issue with tagging is that all my friends can see whatever I’m tagged in. So if you tag me in an adorable family photo – I know this concept may be a struggle – everyone I’m friends with can see it. Even if they’re not friends with you. And that’s not cool because I’m very much ashamed of how daggy you are.

It’s a toughy. I know. You’re proud of me and tagging is cool and YOU WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW YOU CAN DO A SOCIAL MEDIA.

But. Give me some space. I’m my own entity on social media: a real life mature person. Not someone’s cute kid.

Jessie's Mum can DEFINITELY do the social media.

2. You cannot - under any circumstances - be friends with my friends.

Here's what you need to understand: I'm responsible for you.

If you misbehave on SM (that's social media, for you non-cool cats), the responsibility falls on me.

To my friend's you aren't you. You're Luca's mum. Luca's mum. People my age associate anything you do with me and that's terrifying because I have no control over what you do.

If you follow my friends on Instagram... if you add them on Facebook... we're going to have some issues. Serious ones.

When I was fourteen, one of my closest friends messaged me one day:

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'Omg your Mum just followed me on Instagram.'

I can't -... there are no words. Your weaseling your way into my friendship group and this is my sphere and get out daggy pest your embarrassing me.

3. Only 'like' something on my page... if a number of people already have.

This is a no brainer. If 14-year-old me is scrolling through Instagram... comes across a friend's photo... and one of their parents is the only like? Umm...

It's like finishing the 100m dash in the athletics carnival in fifth place, running through the line, and high-fiving your Mum.

Not cool.

4. Parenting experiences: they're not only yours to share.

Only in hindsight do I understand how tough this is.

We had this moment TOGETHER. It is both yours... and also MINE.

Every single thing your child does: it isn't just an experience for them... it's an experience for you too.

And to be honest, experiencing a situation from the perspective of 'parent' is equally as interesting/hilarious/shocking as it is from the perspective of 'child'.

But every parenting experience you share on SM - first boyfriends, experiences with alcohol, awkward sex conversations - releases into the ether a moment your child is just as entitled to own as you are.

When I was fifteen, Mum and I had a conversation about online gambling - not exactly pouring hundreds into the virtual pokies - but chucking a couple of bucks on the odd sporting match. My friends were doing it. And I wanted in.

The next thing I know I woke up to an article on my Facebook feed about the conversation we had.

It was published under a pseudonym. My name wasn't exclusively mentioned, but it was a private moment we'd had. A private conversation. The details of which were now all over the internet. I felt violated. And thinking back on it, I still do.

5. Photos - just don't.

The big one. Here she comes...

Don't. Ever.

At an age where kids want nothing more than to FIT IN - and be thought of as INDEPENDENT - there's nothing worse than a photo being published without your approval.

managed to nab a selfie with Mamamia CEO Jason Lavigne and Founder @miafreedman #starstruck #familiesthatworktogether

A photo posted by Luca Lavigne (@luca_lavignay) on

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 'Shparenting' - The act of sharing your parents' parenting.

Because it's never a good photo. It's a 'cute' one. Or a 'silly' one. Or a family shot in which you're midway through a sneeze. Parents are overcome with cuteness and pride and THE WORLD NEEDS TO SEE MY CLEVER CHILD,LOOK!

But no. Your child is trying so hard to assert themselves. To create their own identity and image separate from being 'Jim's daughter' or 'Carrie's son'. What could possibly compromise that more than a photo of them being 'adorable'.

You have to remember... if there's a photo of you and your son/daughter. That photo belongs half to you, and half to them.

6. Limit interaction to 'liking'.

No commenting. And by GOD steer clear of wall posts. You're not just embarrassing me. You're embarrassing yourself. (But mainly me).

You may disagree. And by all means you're entitled to. If you want to post, post. If you want to share, share. But keep in mind that the information, the photograph, the story... doesn't only belong to you. Every social media move you make impacts your kids: It may be immediately. Or it may be ten years down the track, when their bully digs up the nude baby photo you posted. Because you better believe they'll find it.

You've been warned, sharents. You've been warned.

You can listen to the full episode of Mamamia Out Loud right here.

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