It's Official: Parents Are Ruining Social Media

It's Official: Parents Are Ruining Social Media

Facebook was the brainchild of a young Mark Zuckerberg, designed for bored students stuck in their dorm rooms in between partying. Now, thanks to parents, it’s an entirely different beast. Your mum, my mum – yes, they’re all to blame.

This is more than just an opinion – this is fact. Research shows social media users are older than ever, with 56% of online adults over the age of 65 having Facebook accounts in 2014. Furthermore, a recent Ofcom report revealed 41% of baby boomers (born between the 1940s and 1960s), now have Facebook, too.

This surely can’t be coincidental to the loss of a younger audience. Most early adopters of the social media platform around 2007, are now in their mid-twenties, but it has struggled to pull in the teenage audience the way it once did, with surveys indicating Gen Z feel social media has had a negative impact on their lives.

The impact of fewer teens and more parents is obvious to us millennials who still frequent the site, no matter how periodically. One minute, you’re swimming in a sea of your peers’ virtual profiles, ‘nudging’ that guy who was singing along to Rihanna at the SU, the next you’re scrolling through a never-ending feed of your ma’s view on Doctor Foster.

Plus, accepting a friend request from your ‘rents means you immediately start filtering yourself. Make no bones about it, your parents are keeping tabs on you. You don’t call? They’ll know where you’ve been – they can see it on your profile. Want to chat with your friends about how crazy Saturday night was? Your mum will be on your case for your drinking habits. Anthropologist Daniel Miller shared his findings in a 15-month ethnographic study of social media in eight countries conducted in 2013, and explained that Facebook is “so uncool” to teenagers because their parents and other family members used it to keep tabs on them – despite the fact they recognised it was technically superior to Twitter or Instagram. “You just can’t be young and free if you know your parents can access your every indiscretion,” Miller said. “Young people care about style and status in relation to their peers, and Facebook is simply not cool anymore.”

Many parents are also not privy to the rules of Facebooking – in fact, 71% of children said their parents don’t respect their privacy. They also commit a number of cardinal social media sins: thou shalt not comment on all of your photos; thou shalt not comment on your friends’ photos; thou shalt not overshare; thou shalt tell their friends not to add you. Because let’s be honest, if there’s anything worse than your mum sharing emotional memes about ‘loving her children until her dying breath’, it’s having to also see posts from her friend from way back who is obsessed with Britain First.

Now we have a whole new wave of online mothers to worry about – mums who have grown up with social media and are used to oversharing. The sharents. Sure, they’re proud as punch of their sproglett for baby’s first trip to the potty, but sharents have been accused of digital narcissism, their profiles serving as a never-ending humblebrag. How will that child feel when they’re a flourishing teen, and all their embarrassing childhood photo are immortalised in Zuckerberg’s virtual mausoleum of memories? We can picture it now: ‘Ten years ago, you were weeing unassisted for the first time – congratulations! Hit like and share with your friends…’. Us millennials, we’re lucky enough to have our naked baby photos stored in chunky photo albums, all of which are highly flammable and thus easy to dispose of…...

So let’s just appreciate the lack of parental presence on our other favourite media hangouts like Twitter and Pinterest – but hold on to your Insta accounts folks, because they’re coming for your filters. The presence of 50-64 year olds on the picture sharing app had already risen from 11% in 2014 to 18% in 2016. Slow progress, but it won’t be long before they’re liking all your pictures and commenting “Who’s that on the left? xxx” on every single snap. Don't say we didn't warn you...

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at

The Parenting Edition from SheerLuxe
Delivered to your inbox, quarterly