STFU Parents: Back-To-School Social Media Dos And Don’ts

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It’s the week before Labor Day, and for many kids, school’s already back in session. I don’t know this because I have a kid of my own, or because I pay particularly close attention to TV commercials or other youth-focused advertisements; I know it because I’m on Facebook. Just five or so years ago, a person like me might have been vaguely aware that school was starting up again but wouldn’t have necessarily known the precise day that each of my Facebook friends’ kids were strapping on their backpacks for the first time that semester. I wouldn’t have known their exact ages, the grades they’re in, what their lunch boxes look like, or what they wore on that special first day before stepping onto the school bus. For decades, this is how we all lived, ignorant to such important details in a youngster’s life, focusing only on our personal fall wardrobes and/or adult lunchbox preferences, but now, with the help of Facebook, we can be ignorant no more.

In 2014, you’ll learn a lot about your friends’ kids throughout the last half of August and into the first week of September. That’s because school milestones are increasingly abundant on the social network whose core audience is getting older, and whose kids are growing past the potty training stage (thank god) and entering the academic phase of their lives. I’ve seen pictures of kids entering preschool and kindergarten all the way through high school, and the older the parents in my Facebook sphere get, the more I inevitably learn about their children. At some point, a person like me might even stop and ask herself, “If I have kids, will I do this?” (According to 99.99% of parents in my newsfeed, the answer is a resounding “YES, DUH!”) More specifically, I wonder what kind of back-to-school parent I’ll be, because the larger the BTSP (back-to-school parent) sector gets, the more fragmented it becomes.

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