‘Oh, how cool. My parents are getting net-savvy!’ This stage lasts for 30 seconds.
‘Aaaarghh!! They can see everything – my photos, my friends, my profile pictures, what my friends have said about my pictures, my wall!’
Deep breathing. ‘It’s okay. I won’t accept the request.’
Later that evening: ‘Beta you didn’t accept my friend request? I sent it to you this morning, will you please accept, abhi?’
For the first time in your life, you take an in-depth look at Facebook’s privacy settings. You realize that it’s very, very inscrutable. Two days later, your girlfriend posts the pictures of you and her at the party you went for last week.
Mom posts a comment on the picture/your wall, asking if this is how she behaves in public. Your friends shriek with laughter and you hide under the bed for a week. When you come out, you find your girlfriend has dumped you and will never face you, your parents, or any other friends in that party again.
You spend three days scanning every photo you put up, comment you made, note you posted, and quiz you took, deleting, deleting, deleting.
Mom discovers quizzes! The world finds out that she has a 98 per cent dirty mind; she is Surma Bhopali from Sholay; sings ‘Who let the dogs out’ in the bathroom; and her stripper name is Hot Chocolate.
You don’t log in for a month.
You finally log in again, and find that her entire friend circle – including your aunts and your dad – has joined the social networking site. They have been, via your cousins, going through your profile with a fine toothcomb. There are 17 friend requests pending.
Dad becomes a fan of Megan Fox. It’s followed by intensely aggressive reaction from mom. Aunts support her. Friends start taking screenshots of the discussion and forwarding it around among each other. You throw your computer out of the window.
On the serious side Should parents be on Facebook? The immediate reaction is negative, because we’ve got used to a certain level of privacy and freedom out here, and we’d rather not have someone looking over our shoulder disapprovingly.
But are you doing something that you’d be ashamed to share with your parents? If yes, why are you doing it at all? It may take some getting used to, but in the long run, it can be an opportunity to bond with your parents in a way that you had never thought of before.
Remember, they did figure it out on their own – doesn’t that deserve some respect? And won’t it be a lot more fun if you can help them through this, without embarrassing them or you? And once you know they’re around, thinking – even for 5 seconds – before posting is not such a bad habit. It can save you from making the blooper of a lifetime.