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There is no parenting rulebook for social media, but there should be. Because social media, with its immediacy and ability to reach a lot of people, can bring out the child in all of us. That's why, even when we're frothing at the mouth mad and want to get dirty and Tweet someone where it really hurts, we never ever post, Tweet or comment on someone else's kids.
Case in point: last week's Twitter tsunami launched by
rapper Kanye West onto rapper Wiz Khalifa. Wiz shares a child with Kanye's ex,
model Amber Rose, and Kanye unceremoniously brought up the 2-year-old boy in an
Here's what went down. Khalifa tweeted
Kanye asking him to change the name of his new album "Waves." That's
when Kanye tweeted, "You let a stripper trap you. I know you
mad every time you look at your child that this girl got you for 18 years. … You
wouldn't have a child if it wasn't for me. You own waves???? I own your
Kanye's not the first parent to forget
to read his "Twitter for Dads" handbook. And he probably won't be the last.
Truth be told, the nuances of social
media can be confusing. And for those of us parents who didn't grow up with
Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Vine and Instagram, following the previously nonexistent rules of social
media can be more than confusing. It can be totally overwhelming.
So since my Twitter account didn't come
with a handbook, I've made one of my own. Here are the parenting rules I'm
following online. Feel free to add your own.
1. Never ever bring up, or comment on,
Your issue is with a grown-up, not his
or her child. Don't go there. Kids didn't ask to get Tweeted about and they
don't deserve to.
2. Before you post anything online,
pretend like your Grandma is going to see it.
if it's too embarrassing, mean or racy for your Grandma to see, it's too embarrassing or racy for Twitter to see.
Different than our parents, grandparents
have a strong ethic and no filter. They have no problem telling their grandkids
when they're out of line. So before you get into a Twitter spat online, pretend
like your Grandma is going to read what you write. That may encourage you not
to press, "send."
put anything online you don't want screen-shotted and remembered forever.
You may think you can just delete a
comment or Tweet if you come to your senses later, but that doesn't mean what
you write online isn't permanent. Anyone who sees what you wrote can screenshot
your posts and save it or forward it. They can even repost it. What you write
online is permanent. So think before you post.
your kids can't already read, someday they will.
Someday your kids are going to be able
to read your Facebook page, cruise your Instagram feed, and Google you. How are you going to explain that verbal
smack down you unleashed on Facebook or that near nip slip you posted to
Instagram to your kids? Answer, you're not!
5. Don't say anything online you
wouldn't want said about you.
Pretend like social media is your
elementary school playground. The same rules apply. If you don't have anything
nice to say, don't say anything nice at all. And don't post anything you
wouldn't want anyone to post about you.
your kid's teachers have Facebook, too.
You may think you are so careful about who sees your Twitter or Facebook
posts, but truthfully it's very easy to search for anyone. So remember your
kid's teachers might come across your Facebook page. How are you going to feel
about walking in to parent/teacher conferences knowing your kid's teacher saw your latest mean Twitter or Facebook rant?
Nobody wants to send their kid to a play date
at the house of a parent they just saw go nuts online. In fact, nobody wants to be around another
parent who is always ranting and angry on the Internet. Your actions could make
your kids play date road kill. Think about
that before you press, "post."
So if it's too embarrassing, mean or
racy for your Grandma to see, it's too embarrassing or racy for Twitter to see.
Now go back through your Twitter feed. If you're blushing reading through what
you wrote, you probably need to clean up your act.
And by the way, Kanye has since apologized for
bringing up Rose and Khalifa's son saying, "God's dream … Never speak on
kids again … all love … all blessings."