For all the fretting about social-media-obsessed teens not grasping the concept of privacy, kids today would actually very much prefer their parents please, please stop posting about them on Facebook and elsewhere. Or at least check first.

Yes, that’s right. The kids wish their elders would ask before posting sweaty-faced casual shots from Saturday’s miserable hike, or at least think twice before sharing embarrassing stories about the mold forest discovered under their bed during spring cleaning. Which seems reasonable, frankly.

The New York Times reports on findings from researchers at the University of Washington and the University of Michigan, who:

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studied 249 parent-child pairs distributed across 40 states and found that while children ages 10 to 17 “were really concerned” about the ways parents shared their children’s lives online, their parents were far less worried. About three times more children than parents thought there should be rules about what parents shared on social media.

“I really don’t like it when my parents post pictures of me on their social media accounts, especially after finding out that some of my friends follow them,” one eighth-grader told the Times. What seems harmless and adorable today can become mortifying when they’re in seventh grade, as another teen attests:

“I definitely know people who have parents who post things they wish weren’t out there. There was a girl in my eighth grade class whose mom opened a YouTube account for her in the fourth grade to show off her singing,” she wrote to me in an email. “Finally, on one of the last months of middle school, a peer played the song in class and almost the entire class laughed hysterically over it.”

Another reason to thank God for having experienced adolescence before high-speed Internet and ubiquitous digital photography.


Contact the author at kelly@jezebel.com.

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