Jan 17, 2014

What Parents Should Tell Their Kids About Social Media

Have you watched The Social Network? If you haven't (and you have some free time), then I recommend you to watch it. Despite the controversy whether or not the movie tells the true story, I found it enjoyable, seamless and just great. It's one of my fav, that, I think, is also well worth 120 minutes (multiplied by 7, or maybe more) of my time.

For me, there are many things to love about this movie - Mark's fast-paced monologue in the opening scene while creating FaceSmash, the intense conversations that take place while cutting back and forth between two lawsuits, the great and complementing choice of soundtrack, and above all, the clever and powerful dialogues between characters that give some takeaways. One of the latter, I think, is stated beautifully by Erica, seething at the comments Mark blogged about her,
"..The internet's not written in pencil, Mark, it's written in ink!"
Touché, Erica! I bet many people have learned this the hard way, and this, apologies for beating around the bush, is the thing that I want to write more about.

Social networking sites, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, play a significant role in society these days. In 2012, every minute of the day:
- 600,000+ pieces of content are shared on Facebook,
- 100,000 tweets are sent,
- 3,600 photos are shared on Instagram. (source: here)
If they are not the most used tool and the greatest way that connect folks around the world, then I don't know what else is.

Yet lo and behold, here's the interesting part.

Social media statistic in 2013 based on the age group of users.
Source: here

While almost a quarter of social media users are teens (16-24 yo), the number of parents who use social media sites (arguably in the age group of 45-54 yo) are far less than that amount. That means, even if we assume that those few of parents, who are involved in this techie thingy, understand well how they should utilize social media AND manage to transfer the knowledge to their kids, then due to the number of teen users, there is still a serious lack of (parental) guidance about the do's and the don't's.

I think that explains why I once felt like, "I wish my parents told me something about this," but then mind changed, "wait, how is that possible? I'm the one who taught them how to login on Facebook."

If you can relate to that, then maybe you'll agree that here is what we wish our parents could tell us few years back.

(Disclaimer: all characters appearing are may be fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely may be coincidental)

..

*HIMYM style*

Kid, what Erica said on that movie is right. The internet is written in ink. Whatever goes online (most likely) stays online. So there are few things you need to remember every time you're about to post something.

Foremost, those personal and private matters should never be shared on social media sites. The problems you have with your friends or colleagues, issues you face at school or work, just keep them to yourself, kay?! Trust you can use your best judgement about it, but to make it easier for you, ask yourself this question every time you feel like posting something, "will someone get the benefit by knowing/reading what I share?" If the answer is no, then there's no point of putting it as your status and/or tweeting/sharing about it.

Ever heard that one song by The Script? That 'six degrees of separation' is no joke. As the world is more equipped with this techie stuff, we are all getting more connected, that even someone from the place which name you've never heard of, is only six or even fewer steps away from you. You may now have no idea how small the world has become, but trust me, you better maintain your reputation, and the sooner you start the better! And that means, as well, online. 

Ditch those curse words from your social updates. Forever. Just because some friends of yours do that, doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. I know, I know. Mark did that on the movie and the Twinklevosses approach him after - which lead him to the idea of Facebook. You know what, unless you can create the next Facebook, you're not allowed to.

No, kid, no! Do NOT post that squishy-huggy-lovey-dovey photos/texts with your bf. Again, just because others do that, doesn't mean you should too. What? You love him? How old are you now, 17? 22? Trust me, you don't know if in the next 5 years you may meet 5 other guys with each of whom you'll think you're in love. And who knows that by the time you meet the fifth, you may even also regret the day you ever dated the first. Take it slowly, kid. Putting things online is like launching a business, and trust me, no announcement should be made, until the "real" deal is signed.

What you say? That selfie duck face?? Oh well, that one, you better ask your dad. He has more to say, I think.