The Mum Network

A Parents Guide to Social Media


As a social media addict, it has occurred to me of late how many parents still read the paper on a Sunday and occasionally check their Facebook page but they don’t have a clue about what else is happening in the digital world. Can’t cover all social networks in one post as it would bore everyone but if this is of interest and shared around, will keep posting about other Social Networks that parents need to know about…….

Screen shot 2014-02-27 at 10.39.50 PMFACEBOOK – Formerly the domain of the young folk, they’re deserting in droves in favour of hanging out where their updates can’t be seen by old people (you are old if you’re over 30 according most teens).

Facebook has been embraced by stalkers, talkers and everyone in between.  The stalkers check their newsfeed endlessly to see what their ‘friends’ are posting whilst simultaneously passing judgment on those who do post their entire lives to the social platform. Seen now as an evil necessity, a little like email, you use it but only because you have to.

The angry people sit in wonder as to why people would share so much of their lives and yet they can’t look away. As addictive as nicotine, Facebook is the dominant platform where no account can mean you’re missing out on life in the digital sphere. It’s now common place to assume if you put it on Facebook, your friends are across what you’re doing, where you’re going, where you’ve been and how you are feeling about it. Also the domain of young parents who take great pride in posting endless photos of babies. Facebook is central to most people’s communication where conversations now occur in ‘messages’ rather than on email.  Beware though, just because you are ‘friends’ with your child on Facebook, doesn’t mean you can see all the content they post. Privacy settings can now be set so that Mum’s and Dad’s are left out of the loop. Company and community pages are now spending thousands of dollars each year for your all important “Like” so choose who you “Like” carefully.

Screen shot 2014-02-27 at 10.40.16 PMINSTAGRAM – Ever noticed that a number of your friends seem to live a life similar to that of a celebrity? They seem to constantly sit a beach surrounded by clear blue water with perfectly tanned bodies whilst you wonder where the hell that blue water is given you only had coffee with them yesterday?

Instagram is a photo sharing application which can be shared directly to facebook which is why you see loads of Instragammed photos. Instagram allows you to put different filters on photographs to make them look far better than real life. Formerly a skill that only wedding photographers could charge a premium for, putting a filter on a photograph is now a ‘must’ for every teen and 20 something. In editing each picture, teens can now perfectly orchestrate their profile to show only their best side. Grown ups have latched on and are now editing their perfect dinners, lunchboxes, holidays and family activities too.

Instagram is the home of the selfie and where young celebrities are most certainly the most followed with millions of followers. Justin Beiber, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Kendall Jenner, Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Taylor Swift make up the most popular Instagram feeds. Much of the content posted is not appropriate for immature eyes.

Users can post Hashtags which group certain photos together so that you can see, for example, every photo with the hastag #selfie can be seen in one group. Just be careful which hashtags you click on, sometimes you can go places that you don’t want to be.

Less conversation and more photos, there is rarely any two way conversation on Instagram. Sure people comment but there is less pressure to reply and engage in long winded conversations.. Many people have ‘started again’ with their Instagram feed, locked it down and only let in the people they truly want to share with.

The best narcissists post most of their content to Instagram. It’s the ultimate social media platform that is only about ‘you’.

Screen shot 2014-02-27 at 10.40.35 PMTWITTER – If you’re not on twitter yet, you should be. This is where the those in the know share everything they read and find with the world. News networks no longer need reporters on the ground, they have reporters monitoring twitter 24/7 as this is where news breaks first.

A social network where users must condense what they want to say down to 140 characters it can be a fascinating way to follow people, businesses and brands you find interesting. Often a link to a website will be posted which makes the old internet a far more interesting place where you do not need to go hunting for content that interests you.

There’s also a couch potato second screen community on twitter. These people tweet their way through every tv show they watch. Not content to just sit and watch anymore, commentary on every single TV show being aired at any time in the world. So, if you’ve missed a TV show, don’t worry, simply type in the program’s hashtag and you can get a second by second rehash of what’s going on.

Twitter has an evil dark side. It can be a place for social anger and hatred, where there are no repercussions for the internet trolls and bullies. Fake accounts with anonymous posters bully, lash out and leash havoc not only on celebrities but every day folk. Keep a close eye on younger kids using the platform as an open account can attract all types of weirdos.

Screen shot 2014-02-27 at 10.40.56 PMSNAPCHAT: New and the latest social network to take the world by storm. Luring the younger kids into a false sense of security Snapchat is a mobile application that allows users to take photographs and video to friends which self destruct after a few seconds. When a user sends a message, they get to decide if it lives for between 1 and 10 seconds and after that, it’s history. Maybe. Maybe Not. Much has been said about Snapchat luring kids into a false sense of security that nothing is kept but as most will know, a simple screen shot of anything will make it a permanent fixture on the internet for a very long time. Nothing is deleted online. Beware.

One comment

  1. Good one! My husband and I were just talking about Facebook, wondering if our son and his friends will even know what it is… and wondering if we should let him have an account when he’s older? Social Media is everywhere so it’s impossible to avoid. Really interesting to think about all of this.

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