People always seem to want to criticize parents for “living vicariously” through their children, but sometimes, perfectly innocent parents are thrust into that role through absolutely no fault of their own. Sometimes, the real culprit is actually their child.
When our daughter was home from college recently, she uploaded (or is it downloaded? I really have no idea) her Instagram account onto my iPad. I’m not 100 percent sure why she did this, but I can speculate. I’m betting it’s not because her eyesight is failing and she can’t see her friends’ pictures without the benefit of a larger screen.
I’m stepping out on the proverbial limb here and guessing that her phone was dead and my iPad was the only device that was charged at the moment, so she simply helped herself. After she performed this download/upload task, she cyber-socialized a bit and then drove herself back to the university and her dorm.
Things were quiet for a few days. (For those of you who aren’t blessed with a college student, these kids are super dedicated to their studies, and, hence, your investment, for three days out of seven, so there’s not a lot of traffic on the social interstate Monday to Wednesday.)
It was a few days later, the following Thursday night, when I was lying in my iBed reading my iBook, minding my iBusiness, when all Hell broke loose. “Notifications” start dinging their way across the top of my screen, as though the Trans-Siberian Orchestra had set up right there inside my iPad to play me my own personal lullaby.
I fell asleep long before I had a chance to become annoyed, but it appears as though the dinging continued merrily throughout the night.
The next morning was a little like waking up to that first snowfall of the season. When I poured my coffee and attempted to check my email, my screen saver had been blanketed overnight with a flurry of “LIKES.” Around 300! I didn’t even know what I had done, much less who I had done it with, or more importantly, how I looked doing it.
But, what I did know, was that my 20-year-old daughter was buried somewhere under this avalanche of social validation…
I waited patiently about five hours before I texted her. (We have different time schedules.) When I politely asked her about it, SHE actually had the audacity to fuss at ME.
“Whatever you do, Dad, DO NOT HIT THE “LIKE” BUTTON ON THOSE PICTURES! You have no idea how Instagram even works! You’ve actually done that before, and since that’s MY account on your IPad, it’s the equivalent to me liking my own pictures! I’m really not trying to hurt your feelings, but it’d probably be best if you just steered clear of my Instagram account for now.”
That was on Friday morning.
That night, around the same time, maybe a tad later, the same thing happened. If possible, it seemed as though I was even more popular than the night before, with even more people dinging my praises!
Ever curious, I just couldn’t help myself, I closed out my book app and tapped on that camera-looking-thingy, devoting the rest of my evening to “steering” my way around her Instagram. I’m a firm believer in, “learning by doing,” “trial and error,” and, if all else fails, I’m not above a short YouTube tutorial.
My wife and I had the most entertaining weekend getting to know our daughter’s friends over Instagram. It was like Parents’ Weekend, without all the unnecessary travel and costly hotel and restaurant charges. And those kids had the cutest names! They reminded me of those old CB Handles from the 1970s.
With our family schedule being quiet demanding my wife and I rely ion each other to keep tabs on the kids. Who has what when. (That’s one of the reasons I’m so keen to keep my social media skills sharp and current.) This morning, she asked me if I’d heard anything from our daughter yet this weekend, I answered, “Not so far, but I can show you a cute picture of her from last night on Instagram!”
Just as he reached out for my iPad, I started to admonish him,
But it was too late. A red heart emoticon popped up right over the fluffy blonde head of “bythegracieofgod.”
As you might imagine, she got an immediate notification on her smart phone that the good folks back home had not just LIKED her own picture on HER OWN INSTAGRAM account, but, actually maybe even just LOVED IT! She’s none too pleased and mentioned deleting her Instagram account off my IPad as the first order of business when she gets home.