Thursday, June 13, 2013

Parental overshare: the children's revenge

The end of parental overshare may be afoot. And it has nothing to do with my attempts to get a campaign going to stop it. No, the credit goes to children themselves, who are apparently oversharing about their parents. The BBC Woman's Hour podcast (better than the title suggests) had a segment about technology in the home. It was mostly about children being spoiled entitled Young People Today with their gadgety whosawhatsits that presumably their parents bought for them.

But it was also about what happens when children post about their parents. Specifically, one kid went on the social media and wrote something like, 'you know your parents are alcoholics when the buy a wine refrigerator.' The implication on the program being that the parents are of course not actually alcoholics - which, well, maybe they are, probably they aren't, but either way, the parents won't want this online, even in jest. Think of their reputations!

It's also, in tone, exactly the sort of thing parental overshare usually consists of - an anecdote meant to amuse peers (not generally a newspaper audience, if a kid's the author), without a thought given to how the subject of the anecdote might feel.

Some connection was made on the show to parents oversharing about their kids, including one mother of a presumably adult child posting a photo of her daughter with a hangover and no makeup on. (A dry country, the UK, it appears.) The emphasis was on how kids don't know what is and is not appropriate to reveal, but the takeaway seemed to be that through their concern about their own reputations, parents come to recognize their children's privacy. A father said that he and his family made a pact not to write about one another without prior permission (and yes, yes, I'm skeptical of getting children's 'permission' for this sort of thing), and the first to break the pact was... the dad, who then had to pay a fine. The shoe on the other foot and all that. This is it - this is how the message will get across.

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