Educating the non-digital natives

Social media tend to emphasise the generational gap between us, generation Y or Z, and those born and raised without the ubiquitous presence of the Internet (the NON digital natives, also know as “our parents”).

Have you ever noticed your parents struggling with technology, online practices and vocabulary? Yes… yes, you have. Ever had to set up an online account for them? Help them reset their password, install a printer, show them how to scroll, view messages, pay online..? Probably a hundred times.

Out of all these funny, and honestly quite adorable parent fails, I find their social media behaviour most amazing. Parents are experimenting with social media out of curiosity; to stay in touch with their kids or reconnect with old pals from school. The funny part is that they don’t seem aware of the fast-evolving “code of conduct” that we have learned to master after about a decade of social media usage (yes, we can call ourselves experts here).


Remember these times when you kindly ignored, or better, deleted, embarrassing comments they made on your Facebook profile – visible to all your friends? (“You are so beautiful and intelligent and I love you so much and miss you, why don’t you come and visit more often?” – something like that). It’s a bit the equivalent of them kissing you ten times when dropping you off at school when you were ten. Social humiliation.

Or when they profusely use “lol’s” and weird smileys, or even sometimes leave spelling mistakes or shortened words in their posts, thinking it’s cool. You probably don’t use “lol” since 2012 and stopped shortening words when the text message length got unlimited.

They might also randomly poke you (why does that even still exist?) or get mad if you don’t instantly answer a Facebook message. If they are connected, you should too: is that not like an SMS?!

So, I think that, as a good starting point (vocabulary is always the basic of learning), we should send this link to all parents, possibly grand-parents and elders in our network: the Top Social Media Terms and Acronyms Defined. Don’t bother reading it, just send it.

Remember when your parents sermoned you for doing socially-awkward things in the real-life world, like trowing a tantrum in the supermarket? Start giving back, send the link, and hope for the best!

PS: Dear parents, we still love you 🙂

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