This week, Hello Flo surfed a very high crimson wave with its new commercial “First Moon Party,” which has racked up more than six million views in just three days (so far). Aside from being extremely entertaining, the (period) spot got me thinking about how parents don’t really stop oversharing once their baby becomes a toddler, or once their first grader enters junior high. For parents who love sharing information about their children, no age is “too old,” and no information is “too private,” especially on sites like Facebook which have become ground zero for overshare. If a kid hits a new milestone, be it “first steps” or “first pubic hairs,” for many parents the immediate reaction is to praise the child on the internet. That’s just how information gets transmitted now; it’s fast, effective, and allows parents to virtually reach every single person they know. In some ways, it’s like sending a totally useless telegram, except that it costs nothing and involves very little effort. Thirty years ago, no one would have considered sending a communiqué about a daughter getting her first period, but today, it’s as easy as ordering a case of tampons off Amazon Prime. I’ve even seen parents discussing their teenager’s “extra long showering habits” on Facebook as though they’re sitting around a bar sharing pitchers of adult beverages, rather than openly exposing their children’s adolescent habits and body changes to everyone they know online. It’s weird.
So in the interest of reminding parents that at some point, the overshare MUST stop, I’ve compiled some examples that detail just a few of the bodily changes that pre-teens and teenagers go through that can really, truly stay offline. Even if parents want to share this stuff with the world, they should know better. We’ve all been through puberty and remember how much it sucks. Just imagine going back in time to all those confusing moments and having your mother share the “big news” not only with a neighbor or an aunt, but with every single person in her social circle. Yikes. Being an adolescent in 2014 is rough.
1. Water Park Heartbreak
This submission came to me a little blurry, but if you squint, it’s still quite easy to read the shamefulness of what’s happening here. You know what sucks more than getting your period at all? Getting it when you’re only 10 years old and knowing that your mom has a big mouth and internet access. Yes, being a female does suck sometimes, but your mom is supposed to be the one who makes you feel better, not the one who outs you for wearing a bulky pad at the water park.
2. Scalp Report
You never get a second chance to make a first impression in real life, but when you’re a mom on the internet, anything is possible! You can tell the whole world that your kid has dandruff and needs to get his “head right,” and you can even use the excuse that embarrassing kids is just what moms DO. In years past, moms had to wait to display embarrassing photo albums on prom night, but now they have 24/7 access to child mockery with the simple swipe of an iPhone app.
3. Puberty’s Big Day
When Jacob alerts Diana that he has pubes, will she post that on Facebook, too? Where does “hair overshare” begin and end? And why did Diana have to quote her son on his two hairs being “big”? Now I’m just picturing a young man’s baby-smooth armpit with two long, protruding hairs anywhere from 6-12″ long blowing in the breeze. Maybe Jacob should stay away from tank tops for a while.
4. T-shirt Shaming
This is just mean. A mom swap isn’t needed so much as a Moms Seminar on when to use Facebook and when to use a journal. I can remember my own mother telling a pre-teen me to shower more, change my clothes, etc. and if she’d told everyone on Facebook, I might have just stopped showering altogether to retaliate. At a certain point, kids have ways of discovering stuff that their parents say and do online, and this really isn’t one of those things that a kid wants to “catch” her mother talking about so openly. So screw you, “Cap’n Diane”! You ain’t the captain of your daughter’s t-shirt collection!
5. It’s Only Fair.
I love Michele’s definition of “fairness.” It’s only FAIR that she share her daughter’s period with Facebook, because if Haylie was going to have her private business exposed online, why shouldn’t her sister? Hello, FAIRNESS. Michele believes in raising her daughters equally — one will not have more opportunities, or fewer opportunities, than the other — so why wouldn’t that rule extend to the moment a girl becomes a young woman? I’m looking forward to the future when Michele lets everyone know that her “other daughter” lost her virginity. She’s going to tell everyone about Haylie’s first time, so it’ll only be fair.