Being a parent is hard work. You have to care for the well-being and growth of a tiny human who will consistently test boundaries, attempt to eat household objects, cry uncontrollably, and defecate in public. It's like caring for a drunk. For years. And that can be incredibly daunting!
Fortunately, the internet can help. One Redditor, for instance, recently grappled with how to let a 5 year-old know he's about to be disowned for placing the toilet paper roll backwards. (That's not up for discussion, by the way. There is one way to correctly place a roll of toilet paper, and this isn't it.)
So, lesson number one in being a good parent? Teach your kid that toilet paper goes OVER the roll, not under it.
This is vital. While you can't exactly teach someone how to have rhythm and, ugh, swag, you can at least set a good example. Dance with your little booger factories, and dance often. Start simple with moves like the wop and the running man and the cabbage patch. But do make sure you channel those cute little bops into real dance moves or else, my God, they are never going to outgrow it. They'll be jumping up and down in place at school dances and will never move out of your home. Don't do that to your kid. Let the internet help you help them. Pass the gift of twerk.
Internet is Forever
This post? Will live online forever. I'll be able to search for it, find it, and show it to my future womb weasels in order to let them know that my views on twerking and music festivals have always been consistent. That said, there's also a Photoshopped image of me in a quiceañera dress floating around the interwebs, and that's not going anywhere either.
Your kids should think about this every time they post a Facebook pic like this.
Seriously, the Internet is Forever
Your kid is all yours, sure, but he or she is also a separate, autonomous human being with her own thoughts and feelings. And that human being might not want photos, videos, and lengthy, descriptive blog posts about his or her most embarrassing moments plastered all over the web.
Respect your child's privacy.
Just as you should be sure to teach your child to use caution when posting information or images online, so should you take those lessons to heart. Until your child can co-sign the online dissemination of their image and personal info, err on the side of discretion. The internet will somehow miraculously recover from the loss of not seeing EVERY single Halloween or birthday or bath or cold or haircut or diaper rash your precious baby experiences.
Your kid is the best. You know this, obviously. He or she is so bright and creative and sweet and just brimming with talent and potential.
Unfortunately, most of the world will never realize this.
Your kid is going to be just another member of the lowing herd they'll have to deal with while trying to commute to work. But there is one way you can ensure that your child will stand out in the crowd, and be respected for the beautiful, smart, wonderful person she is: Teach her to hold open doors. No matter what sex or gender your precious tyke is, he or she should learn that they're just one little drop in the ocean. That infant solipsism has to be outgrown one day, and a lesson as simple as "hold the door open for strangers" is a great, lasting, effective way of doing that. How does this apply to the internet? That awareness that we're all connected will serve your child well if she ever finds herself trapped in a YouTube comment thread.
Kids are capable of great things. They can be (mini) president, they can change the way we look at fashion and business, they can create and inspire and impact real change. They can leave this clump of dirt and sand and rock a little better than they found it. And the internet can create paths for them to do just that.
Sure, there will always be people online who will try and knock them down, or call your child slurs, or make them feel inadequate or unwanted. They're not any of those things, naturally, and it's up to you to make sure they know this, so that when an anonymous stranger tries to put them down, they can either laugh, roll their eyes, or click away -- no harm done. Treat your children well, and they will treat themselves well, too.