1. They follow you on social media.
You know they’re lying there in bed before they fall asleep, scrolling through your feeds, trying to understand you better. You really wish they wouldn’t because any information gleaned from these cybersnoop missions disguised as good parenting is inevitably misinterpreted. You’re tired of explaining that you’re not dating so-and-so just because you tagged them in a photo and that you’re not gay just because you hashtag #love all your girlfriends so much.
2. They think your use of Internet abbreviations is cause for concern.
Instead of appreciating the time a good abbreviation saves you from typing out lengthy messages (time that’s better spent, say, doing your homework), they express concern for your grasp of the English language when you accidentally pop one in a text to them. As if your vast lexicon of useful abbreviations means your vocabulary is somehow less good than that of a person who can’t decode a simple lmao, wtf, or imo.
3. They don’t get memes or gifs.
They don’t even know how to pronounce these terms correctly, let alone understand why any particular meme or gif is can be such an effective, valuable means of self-expression. You’re tired of trying to explain why a specific image is hilarious, or going viral. You’re even more tired of spelling out what going viral means, exactly.
4. Their enthusiasm for emojis gives you second-hand embarrassment.
They overuse them and you know it’s because they assume that by doing so, they’re speaking to you on your level or something. The problem is that they routinely misuse them, which is sometimes hilarious but usually just super annoying. In their eyes, the praying hands emoji is two people high-fiving. And the crying tears of joy emoji is devastated instead of elated.
5. They try (and fail) to adopt your slang.
They see a Beyoncé video or an episode of some reality TV show and suddenly feel empowered to drop terms like “bae” and “OG” into conversation. Within a day they’ve forgotten what their favorite new word means, however, so they call you (not text, because they’re actually still programmed to pick up the phone when they have a quick question) for a reminder. Reluctantly, you provide the definition, then you send a follow-up text using the word correctly in a sample sentence, but within half a day they’re mucking it up again in a Facebook caption.
6. They’re extremely worried about the dangers of “hookup culture.”
They’ve read countless studies and forwarded you several articles on the dangers of hookup culture. None of these articles reflects your actual reality, like, at all, but you’d really rather not talk about sex with your parents. So you reply to each and every single email with faux gratitude (Thanks Mom!!! Didn’t realize sexual assault was such a big deal on college campuses!) to confirm receipt and then pray that they don’t mention the whole thing later.
7. Ditto to the “pornification” of your generation.
They don’t want you watching porn because they’ve read all about how porn warps young peoples’ minds, turning innocent women into Brazilian bikini waxed sluts and their male counterparts into sex addicted predators destined for early onset erectile dysfunction. You let them believe those parental controls have actually protected you from pornography, but you’ve obviously seen it all anyway. The thing is, you’ve seen just as many of the raw, amateur videos that are widely available free of charge as the big budget, over-produced pornos, so it’s not like you’re confused about what sex really looks like.
8. They’ve also awkwardly warned you about sexting.
As if you need your parents to explain the risks of sexting. You’ve watched enough Lifetime movies and seen enough hacked celebrity new stories unfold to know that you have to crop your face out of every naked shot you send. Somehow you doubt that mom and dad are privy to the same basic sexting 101 tips, but you’ll keep your knowledge to your self.
9. They endlessly glorify the pre-Internet past.
They think their childhood was so much purer than yours just because “screen time” wasn’t a thing. They also think they were so brave just because they had to ask people out irl, as if sending a text and having to wait for a reply were somehow any less nerve wrecking than saying a few words out loud.
10. They dismiss time spent online as completely wasted.
They’re always telling you to sign off or to put your phone down, as if every single second spent online were wasted. You dream of the day you’re old enough to get out of the house and off the family phone plan so you can sign up for unlimited data and be done with all the nagging already. Sigh.