This mom learned a very important lesson about social media and teenagers: Know your audience.
Yesterday, my daughter needed an emergency tooth extraction. Such a bummer, right? But my kid's usually a rockstar with this kind of stuff so I wasn't too worried. Which is why, when she gave me her phone to hold during the procedure, I decided to have a little fun with it. Taking full advantage of the fact that she was under the influence of a little nitrous oxide, I typed in her password, opened up her Snapchat, and then proceeded to Snap the whole thing and post it on my daughter's story.
Check it out:
And that's only part of it. My antics went on for about 500 seconds—an eternity on Snapchat. And when my daughter was finished and I finally handed her the phone back with a little smirk, she had about 15 private messages from her friends alerting her to the fact that "YOUR MOM IS ON YOUR SNAPCHAT!" because OH EM GEE what could possibly be worse?
At least I didn't make her a custom filter AT SCHOOL like Jenna Fluegeman's mom did, right?
My mom does the absolute most pic.twitter.com/VPFzZ2EguB
— jenna fluegeman (@jfluege) March 30, 2017
Now, I don't know Jenna. Or her mom. But I know this: My kid would KILL me if I ever did this to her. I know, I know, it sounds like such a sweet gesture—and after Jenna posted this shot to Twitter the Internet wasted no time siding with her Snapchat-savvy mama.
@jfluege Wow she went out of her way to do something thoughtful? What a terrible mother! (mom, please adopt us Twitter folk we'll cherish you)
— Karim (@karimtbe) April 4, 2017
I definitely see this Twitter user's point. But I'm a mom, too. And while I love a good custom Snapchat filter and have been known to design one on occasion, you have to know your audience. Because setting a custom filter up to go live during school hours is embarrassing AF if you're a 17-year-old girl just trying to make it through the day, never mind the fact that the entire student body had access to this thing, so I can only imagine the creative ways some kids probably found to abuse it.
Worst birthday surprise EVER.
So the Twitterverse may be busy scolding Jenna for being an ungrateful daughter who broke her poor mom's heart—she's already tweeted out an apology, btw—but I think it's Mrs. Fluegelman who needs a time-out for committing a social media faux pas that is basically the equivalent of showing up at school with party hats and cake for every student.
It's hard sometimes as a parent to remember what it feels like to be a teenager—to be embarrassed by the mere existence of your family, to walk through the high school hallways not always feeling 100 percent comfortable in your skin. I know I'm guilty of not always being conscious of those feelings. I may have been having a blast posting on my daughter's Snapchat story yesterday, but she was NOT HAPPY about it and couldn't delete those pics fast enough. So I'm pretty sure her response to a surprise custom birthday filter would have been pretty much the same as Jenna's:
"Why would you do that," she wrote.
Probably not a bad idea to put ourselves into our kids' shoes and ask that question a little more often.
Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of two who writes about parenting and pop culture. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and then follow her on Instagram and Twitter.