20-40-60 Etiquette: To post or not to post? Ask your child
QUESTION: Should parents announce their child’s academic achievements on Facebook and Twitter?
CALLIE’S ANSWER: I wouldn’t call it an “announcement.” Today people “post” on social media about their lives. Posting about your child! Why not?
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: I think we all decide for ourselves how we use social media, and we also don’t always agree with how others use it. So this is a really personal decision. First, I’d make sure your child is OK with it. Second, there is a fine line between celebrating a child’s accomplishments and bragging, and we all have to figure out where that line is. My children and I have talked about this, and usually I only post about them if they have worked really hard for a goal or their effort is part of a group’s success (like orchestra performances or someone else made their success possible) — I like it when many people have a chance to shine.
HELEN’S ANSWER: We are so proud of all of our children’s accomplishments and want the world to know. It is important to listen to them because our posts could embarrass them. Always ask before you post their information.
Also, there are still some people do not ever feature children on social media for security reasons.
GUEST’S ANSWER: Yvette Walker, Assistant dean at Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma: The social media announcement praising one's child is the digital equivalent to the bumper sticker that says, "proud parent of an honor roll student." And why not, you may ask. The family of a child who gets all As, excels in a sporting event or wins the spelling bee has every right to be happy and to shout joy into the digital atmosphere. However, today's trend of celebrating all children just for participation should be considered before posting. Is the achievement truly something to celebrate? If so, post it.
Of course, celebrating one child over another in a family of several children could be seen as cruel. A child who has raised his or her grades from a C to a B has something to be proud of, too. But does the parent of that child post that accomplishment? It is important to show love and respect equally to your children, whether its online or face-to-face.
Callie Athey is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email email@example.com.