If you’ve ever felt humiliated or embarrassed by your parents on social media, know that you are not alone: a survey of British social media users has confirmed that parents are deeply mortifying online, just as in ordinary life.
According to the survey results from Three, a mobile provider, 29% of British children have been embarrassed by their parents online, prompting 30% of social media users ages 18-34 to block or delete their parents from Facebook (no word on whether these respondents felt guilty about snubbing people who slaved their whole lives away for them).
In a finding that will surprise no one, fathers appear to be more embarrassing parent, cited by 40% of respondents, compared to 28% for mothers; the remainder presumably found both parents equally embarrassing. Mothers were also twice as like to understand standard social media slang like YOLO, ROFL, and LOL. Go moms! Dads: ask mom.
The most embarrassing parental behaviors included posting inappropriate photos of the child, at 24%; posting inappropriate photos of themselves, at 21%; using online slang incorrectly, at 10%; posting inappropriate comments on the child’s wall, at 10%; commenting on the child’s status, at 9%; chatting with the child’s friends, at 4%; commenting on the friends’ photos, at 4%; commenting on the child’s photos, at 3%; tagging the child in posts, at 3%; and liking posts on the child’s wall, at 3%.
While this is all very amusing, it could also be contributing to the apparent decline in teenagers’ use of Facebook. Last year a “Global Social Media Impact Study” by the University College of London found that Facebook is “dead and buried” among European teens ages 16-18, who are migrating to Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat. According to the study the main reason for the decline in Facebook’s “cool” factor is all the adults who showed up in recent years, especially parents and other family members. UCL anthropologist Daniel Miller observed: “What appears to be the most seminal moment in a young person’s decision to leave Facebook was surely that dreaded day your mum sends you a friend request.”
On that note, back in 2010 a survey of teens by ROI World found that 16% of respondents who left Facebook or use it less said they did so because their parents joined, while 14% said they did so because there are “too many adults/older people.” Also in 2010 a survey by Nielsen and AOL found that 30% of teens said they would like to “unfriend” their parents, given the option; teens were twice as likely to want to “unfriend” their mothers as fathers, perhaps because mothers are more likely to violate the “no comment” rule.