I really love my parents. I love spending time with my parents. They gave me life, which was great; they make me food, which helps a lot; they’re freaking hilarious most of the time.
But I’m a 20-year-old woman now (Girl? Woman? Hamster? I don’t know), out trying to make it on her own in the big city, getting into hilarious scrapes and generally doing the college thing. As you all know, “the college thing” is largely played out on the Internet, where we lay out every aspect of our lives for public discussion and dissection via Facebook and Twitter. It’s a place to let off steam, generally be your unbridled self, and say things you wouldn’t say in front of your aul pair. Stuff like “Totez gee-eyed last night omg, the head is fucken WRECKED this morning” accompanied by a picture of you doing something like this:
This is how Facebook is for the majority of people. Up until recently, I was not a member of this majority.
My parents are on Facebook. And they added me. At first, I refused to accept their requests. There was a lot of nagging and whining and despairing looks on the part of my mother, and puzzlement from my father. We’re cool right? We’re not embarrassing, are we Val? It got to the stage where I was being accused of being completely devoid of filial love, so I had to concede defeat. I figured: it’s grand, right? They’re never going to use it. It’s far beyond them. Sadly, I was wrong. My mother and father have developed a healthy online social life, thanks to Facebook’s user-friendliness and general calming blue aura. Thanks a bloody lot, Zuckerberg.
There are three main reasons why you should not be friends with your parents on Facebook.
One: they are snoops. Completely unabashed snoops.
One day I was minding my own business, watching de tele while Mum was on the laptop. I was all: Aw, isn’t that cute. Look at her being all technological and stuff. Until I realised she was creeping on my Facebook page, slowly scrolling through my tagged photos. The absolute horror! Then she turned to me and asked: “That boy with you in your profile picture. Is he your boyfriend?”
…Right. That was it. Facebook privacy settings were never hit so hard, or so fast. Tagged photos = blocked from Mammy and Daddy Loftus.
Two: they think everything you post on Facebook is up for family discussion.
Now, in real life, I have quite the potty mouth. People don’t tend to notice for some reason (perhaps because of my angelic looks) but I curse like a sailor. Naturally, this translates into Facebook and any communicating I do online. However, due to my parents being on Facebook, I was making conscious efforts to tone it down. The same could not be said for my pals, who cursed in comments and wall posts with the gleeful vigour of small children learning bad words for the first time. I thought I would be forgiven. Not so.
“That status you posted the other day, why was there such swearing in it? Your uncle (who is a priest) is on Facebook, you know.”
I couldn’t very well ask my friends to stop swearing for the sake of my dear uncle. Facebook privacy controls were again my saviour. Statuses = blocked from Uncle Loftus and from Mammy and Daddy Loftus as well, for good measure.
Three: you become, in their eyes, the expert on everything Facebook related.
Though they are now part of the Facebook universe, my parents still don’t understand it. Various aspects of Facebook remain out of their grasp, such as the fact that it is, for all intents and purposes, a public place.
“‘Mary Murphy posted on my Wall’. Can everybody see this? How do I make it so nobody can see it? What do you mean “that is the nature of Facebook”? Don’t be smart.”
There is also the problem of status updates such as this one on their news feeds:
“SECURITY WARNING, URGENT!. People are starting to get requests allegedly linked to an application called “my calendar, birthday”. I received 30 requests from friends connected to this program. ATTENTION!. “My calendar, birthday” is a malicious program designed to extract data from each of their profiles. is very aggressive, just one click to start sending requests to each of your friends/contacts. IF a REQUEST COMES FROM my part, PLEASE just disregard it. ATTENTION PLEASE COPY AND PASTE TO WARN YOUR FRIENDS”
These, along with anything that offers a free iPad, send my mother into a blind panic. Computer viruses are her worst fear, and Facebook has taught her 50 more ways your computer can be infected. Unfortunately, there are no real-life privacy settings and my mother cannot be blocked from asking me questions about Facebook. Zuckerberg, any way of making this happen for me rly soon kthnx?
You may think I’m a dope for accepting them in the first place, but what else could I do? They’re my parents and I love their funny little ways. Even when their funny little ways have a funny little way of driving me bats.
(All quotes used throughout this post are actual quotes from my actual mother. Mum, if you’re reading this, please don’t be upset at my using your cluelessness about Facebook as the basis for a (hopefully) humorous article. LOVE YOU!)