Monday, December 27, 2010

Social Media Mom

The Boy Harem
The Boy Harem
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
The bed vibrates as a text arrives on my phone. Stop txtn! Itz creepy. This is immediately followed by the considerably more polite and grammatically impressive: Thanks MrsC. We appreciate the ride.

I text Daniel back No worries D. See you tomorrow. To my daughter, Only creepy in your own mind, sick child of mine.

The bed vibrates because of my increasing deafness. The only way I can tell I'm receiving messages now is if I put my electronic toys on maximum buzz. The dispute between my daughter and myself, however, is more difficult to explain. The source of our friction isn't Daniel; The problem is my expertise with basic forms of social media.

My presence on Facebook and Twitter, Google Buzz and Digg, is a difficult for my eldest daughter to reconcile with parental image and expectations. Sometimes I'm convinced that she'd have an easier time envisioning her father and I engaged in a scenario worth of Kink.com than accept that her mother might have more online cred than the average half-assed teenager. It strains belief that her friends not only actively accept me into their FB community but welcome my texts, posts, and tags.

For the most part, I find the endless drivel of Jaime's circle of friends hardly worth the time it takes to load into my browser. The stream of content builds a classic picture of teenage angst, drama, and stupid shit. The pictures are inevitably cringe-worthy, the spelling and grammar non-existent, and then comments insipid when not simply mean. And yet I participate willingly.

Y YYY mom u so makes me madd get off!!!

Okay, yeah. So I have two motivations for being so in your face about Facebook. The first is parental: what I know might avoid hurting Jaime. These kids lay themselves wide open in ways that our generation never did. The down side is that the information is there for the harvesting of bullies, advertising and government agencies alike. The upside is that there are no secrets: no secret parties with booze and drugs, no secret enemies, no secret targets of anti-fag hate rhetoric. Oh yeah... parties, enemies, and targets of hate speech... no secrets. When a kid is in danger or just being an asshole, I call them on it. When a post goes online from a kid skipping school, I show up at the Bakehouse and rip him a new one. When Jaime is late returning from a party, I get the address and go grab her and Ash to bring them home.

Make me

I'm a big fan of letting your kids get on Facebook and let it all hang out. It makes it super easy to step up to the adult plate and participate in their lives. Of course, you have to speak their cant, step willingly into their world, and not preach. You have to be a role model of sense and acceptance, strength, good ideas, and alternatives. I'm not that paragon, but I strive for it. And if posting a cross-link to the ItGetsBetterProject pisses off one of these kids' parents, I'm not sure I give a rat's ass as long as it reaches one of Jaime's wide circle and spreads some positivity.

A bed in the lounge creaks, the reason obvious moments later as Jaime storms into the room to extract the cell phone from my hands. “Stop texting my friends, Mum. It's just.... stalker-y.”

I smile up at my daughter, “Love you, babe.”

Jaime stomps self-righteously out of the room, “No texting after 10, Mom.” The door slams shut on, “Love you too.”

1 comment:

jomamma said...

I have two kids, one whom I'm friends with on FB and one who I'm not. For her it's almost a 'in your face, Mom' kind of thing. For him it's that he doesn't want me to worry when I see him and his friends doing dangerous things on the crotch-rockets and then to have to put the bike in the garage later... I could accidentally drop a hammer on it. I try to bite my tongue and my texting fingers a lot.

And that thing about the hearing loss... that just shows that we rocked it at many a concert and party.