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“I let my kids follow me on Instagram, but I won’t let them
on my Facebook,” my friend shared with me. The single dad admitted to being "loose" on Facebook and he didn’t want his kids to see that. I thought about my
own social media activities and I cringed, knowing good and well that my kids are
actually witnessing my mayhem, drama and fun.
I didn’t really think they would notice what I was doing
when I first started my
YouTube channel. I wasn’t doing anything racy, just sharing my thoughts
about my life, pretending I was a philosophy teacher and sometimes creating
videos to popular songs. But then as I gained a following I began to share more
of my creative side and my personal life. People began to react positively, the
same way they did when I was a blogger so I felt free to share more.
It wasn’t until my son informed me that his friends told
him they saw me in a bra on YouTube that I remembered my kids use social
media too, and everything that I do will eventually get back to them. Did I tame
myself after that? No. Instead, I shared more of myself with them, even sharing
for the first time that Mommy is bisexual so that none of their friends could
beat me to the punch.
My son follows me on Twitter and I follow him back. I asked
him to follow me on Instagram but he refused to do it until I changed my name
from "SaiandSolsMommy." I did it for the follow. My son has a Facebook page and
we are friends but he never updates it. Both of my sons are subscribed to my YouTube
channel to show support for what I am doing. They have been in
countless videos, and they root me on and they wish I would blow up, yet I haven’t. They'll even call me and ask if they can watch a certain video of mine depending on the title. Am I ever embarrassed by what I post? Yes, of course.
“Mom, I saw you posted a video called ‘I Should Punch His
A** in the Mouth’ can I watch it?”
“Um. No baby, when you get older.”
Who I am in front of them is the same person I am when I think they are not watching.
Social media is a playground for adults. We log in and have
real-time fun with our virtual friends and family, most of whom we wouldn’t "see" at all if it weren’t for social sharing sites. We forget that anyone is
watching, much less our children, and we share racy jokes, expose our emotions
and argue back and forth with strangers.
Most people have more rules than I do when it comes to
social media sharing because they are at risk for losing jobs or being judged
by what they post, so they police themselves, especially their social
footprints. I happen to not be confined by those rules, slapping together my
income from a myriad of creative pursuits that all celebrate the fact that I am in
nearly every nook and cranny across the Internet.
I am a whole person and my kids know that. Do I sometimes
cringe when I think about them reading about my latest date gone wrong? Yes.
But these are all experiences that they will one day go through. I am not too
worried about presenting a particular image of myself since who I am in front
of them is the same person I am when I think they are not watching.
Should my children be intentionally exposed to the messages
and remarks I make through social media sites? Not necessarily since I wouldn’t
have some of those types of conversations with them, but then again, why not? What
is so wrong with expressing passion, opinions and laughter? When I love myself
and share who I am freely, I give my sons permission to do the same.