Please enjoy our first ‘The Mother’s Weekly’ of 2017. This week she is reflecting on boasting parents, Facebook and how to make everyone a little happier by thinking about your posts. Have a great week and don’t forget to ‘read your post to assess your boast’!
The Mother’s Weekly: Why I Quit Facebook
There are many things I am changing in what may be described as a mid-life crisis – or panic over my own lack of life achievements and happiness. One of the biggest changes in my quest to create more positivity in my life, through reducing the negativities and increasing the feel-good experiences, has been to stop (yes: shock horror) using Facebook.
We know Facebook is popular, but it is slightly turning into an addiction for many people. Some statistical geniuses claim that there are over 32 million users around the world. In 2015 alone, 75% of American parents were users, with many logging on daily.
A survey in 2014 found two thirds of parents only post Facebook posts about their children with 56% doing this at least weekly. The most popular type of post being about their child’s achievements or awards (53% of child themed posts) and 46% of posts being about children’s typical daily occurrences such as what children ate, toilet training or something funny they have said.
Why I Quit
Reading the last section will give you a hint why I stopped swiping through long lists of posts full of pictures of children with gymnastics awards; videos of children showing their latest skill and the feigned ‘surprise’ of the parents trying to down play the apple-of-their-eye’s success: ‘I can’t believe Bobby has got player of the week for the millionth time’. For other – less fake – parents, there is outright boasting (or Boastbook) as I call it, where there is no pretending, no faking, no hiding the pride; what we encounter is an outright brazen brag on FB to tell the whole world about little Lily’s amazing skill in some activity or another. Pride bursts forth through words such as ‘I am so proud’, ‘amazing’, ‘can’t believe what she has achieved’.
Unfortunately, as a parent an innate reaction occurs when you read these posts and what transpires is something like an all-out boasting war. It becomes more competitive than a Wales vs England rugby match. With parents – predominantly mums- uploading pictures and posts in increasing frequencies, trying to out-do other competitors –sorry I mean parents, and prove that their lives are as good as their ‘friends’ and their child is just as amazing as ‘Little Jonny’. A creation of the perfect life prevails with people only showing the good, not the bad and the ugly – also known as reality.
The Bad V’s Good
Let’s set the record straight right now: they are not celebrating their child’s achievements, this is done at the time and to the child’s face; they are blatantly telling the world what a great parent they must be and how happy they are to have raised a child who is good at something. That is the bottom line.
This is not to say all child-themed posts are part of ‘Boastbook’ and we love to see occasional achievements and pictures of friends and family. If we live away from loved-ones, FB can be a wonderful way of sharing those superb moments we miss out on; we just need to make sure that we do not go over to the dark side.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Before you post about your sprogletts, ask yourself the following questions:
Why are you posting this?
Does it fill a gap for friends and family or does it fill you with smugness?
When was the last time you posted an achievement post?
Does it boast or just inform?
Do you need to post this to all and sundry, or a select few who will appreciate it?
My new warning to parents is: ‘read your post to assess your boast’.