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Watch Out Kids! Mom is On Facebook Too

Cheryl Hodges
Cheryl Hodges

Once upon a time there was a really fun and creative way to connect with all your friends if you were in high school. It was called MySpace. There was also something much cooler, more elite, which was exclusively for college kids – the now iconic Facebook. In keeping with the rapid technological advances of our time, the social aspect of these venues also quickly evolved and changed; soon Facebook was ok for high schoolers, even middle schoolers. And, in a truly terrifying turn of events, Facebook is now for Moms too.

I have long lamented the whole Facebook thing as I watched my kids and their generation wind their way through the often confusing, last-ditch chance to experience a dry-run at the labyrinth of life, a stage of their lives also known as High School. Isn’t there enough drama without a constant community commentary going on to create additional drama, even the kind that wasn’t really happening in the first place — Fake Drama?

It has been interesting to watch how this is impacting our kids’ generation. The best we could do was pick up the phone (land line mind you) and talk in whispers or in Pig Latin while our mothers hovered somewhere nearby. If we got lucky, and she was busy, we could monopolize the phone in the back bedroom. All this effort to communicate with: exactly ONE person at a time!

Facebook reminds me of the “Matrix” movies — with the gently but rapidly falling, omnipresent bits and bytes of data streaming down the computer screen, (along with your brain) impersonating real life. It’s everywhere and it never goes away.

But along with the ease of communication via Facebook, comes an abundance of nuance which results in the exacerbation of many inherent human weaknesses – a reality often lost on the young people most involved in it. Translation: people can be rude, selfish and snotty AND think they are getting away with it more than ever. Consider these typical scenarios:

Two-faced/ passive aggressive:

One young lady’s boyfriend thought it would be “fun” to change their status (see explanation below)  to “in an open relationship” for a day or so. He acted like it was a joke – the classic passive aggressive approach.  Why not just put down what he really meant: “player.” It got the expected and desired outcome: attention, and drama.

Needy/ trying-to-feel-important

These are the ones constantly updating their profile, pics and activities with earth-shaking and potentially life-saving information such as:

-Johnny is in the shower (try not to picture that)

-Susie is eating sushi with friends (like we are supposed to be impressed she has friends AND likes sushi)

-Mary likes Mike’s photo album (Mary is letting Jenny know that she looked at Jenny’s boyfriend Mike’s pictures – got that?)

-Shannon didn’t pass her learner’s – for the second time – LOL (going public can sometimes make you feel important, even for being dumb)

“Status” is never the status quo

Status usually refers to one’s relationship situation, as in single, married, broken-hearted, thinking it over etc. Think: revolving door; Baskin Robbins ice cream; anything with a lot of choices. It is apparently the norm to claim to be married to someone or something unlikely or in your dreams, like Bruce Springsteen. Status is rarely static and we all get to know about it via Facebook.

I had resisted getting a Facebook account for all the above reasons but if nothing else curiosity prevailed—that and “lots of Moms are doing it.” There actually are some upsides to the whole thing. I mean, how cool is it to be messaging friends you have not been in touch with for 30 years? My Facebook Broker (eldest son) set up an account for me and said I really should get with the times. Just for fun and without my knowledge, the Broker friended his sister on my behalf.  I give her credit for restraining herself and quietly asking “MOM!!! WHY DID YOU BREAK YOUR LIFETIME PROMISE to never ask to ‘friend’ me?” That’s Ew. When I finally got a profile pic up it turns out she is wearing the exact same dress in hers. Double Ewwww. I knew this was going to be awkward. Suffice to say we are not friends on Facebook. For now that is as it should be.

So I have delicately been tip-toeing amongst the Facebook pages and finding that it is kinda neat that people connect so easily. Still, there is an undertone in all of it that makes one wonder if people will survive such self-absorption and TMI – Too Much Information.

I am keeping my rudimentary Facebook account but I am also currently rushing to get my Psychology degree because I am busting to get out there and enlighten any who will listen — I hope to be one of the first to be able to teach Facebook 101. Syllabus title:  Get Over Yourself!

By Cheryl Hodges
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