Sunday 23 September 2018

Colette Fitzpatrick: So, how much do you really want to know about what your kids get up to?

A third of Irish mums and dads snoop through their children's Facebook pages
A third of Irish mums and dads snoop through their children's Facebook pages
Carol premiere
Reese Witherspoon attends the "China: Through The Looking Glass" Costume Institute Benefit Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

So, a third of Irish mums and dads snoop through their children's Facebook pages. An Irish Life study also found that many Irish parents even set up fake Facebook accounts to befriend their children.

Spying on your kids' social media activity is well-intentioned. Malicious third parties have been known to prey on unsuspecting or over-trusting individuals online, so parents do, of course, have legitimate concerns.

They're terrified of cyber-bullying and grooming by paedophiles. But parents may want to ask themselves just how much exposure to their kid's lives they actually want? Do they really want to know every teeny detail?

Speaking at the Cannes Film Festival, actor Gabriel Byrne suggested that parents who want to try to "befriend" their kids online are likely to suffer a humiliating knock-back. A previous survey found that 16pc had tried to become their child's friend on a social network and a third of those were rejected.

It's all well and good when they're under 10 and sweetly uploading pictures of birthday parties or dressing up as Elsa or Olaf, but what happens when they turn 15 or 16?

What happens when they're liking a picture of someone mangled or passed out drunk? When they're uploading pictures of themselves drinking or smoking. When you see them in clothes on a night out other than the clothes they left the house in. When cute kitten pictures are replaced by a level of access into your child's private life that they'd never, ever allow in the real world.

In an ideal world you'd have "Goldilocks" access. Not too much. Not too little. Just right.

But Facebook is nothing if not the most revealing of all social media platforms. It's never "just right".

Being smack bang in the middle of your child's timeline could ultimately open up a whole new world of parenting pain. A version of them you never knew and that they're not actually like.

Who hasn't edited their lives in the cybersphere? Who hasn't given an impression that's not totally accurate? When you're a teen, the impression you want to give is of how older, how cooler, how mad you are. Even if you're not.

The point is, even the best brought-up, most rounded, respectful, polite kids become teens and have hairy, scary, undignified, crazy moments. It's called growing up.

We had those moments too. Today's generation just document them differently.

Either way, by the time you decide to fake friend them on Facebook, they'll have moved on to Snapchat.

You see, not only have they copped it's you, but they also realise that Facebook is now mostly being used by middle-aged parents clogging up their timeline with baby pics.

If you don't know what Snapchat is, there's no chance of you winning an Hercule Poirot award for snooping on your kids.


Cannes message falls flat with ridiculous row over killer heels

Heels have always been at the forefront of feminism. Now they're at the centre of another feminist row in Cannes.

Apparently, heels on women are "black tie". News to me. I thought "black tie" meant a tin of fruit for the lads and a nice dress, possibly long, for women. I had no idea vertiginous shoes were compulsory.

But the fashion police at Cannes decided to refuse entry to women who were wearing flats at the black-tie premiere of Todd Haynes' lesbian romance Carol.

Carol premiere

The move seems to have backfired. Director Denis Villeneuve said he was planning to stage his own protest over so-called Flatgate.

"Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin and I will walk the steps in high heels," he said.

Now, I'm pro-choice re footwear, so it really irritates me that squishing your hooves into stilettos is considered compulsory.

It is simply not the same as men being compelled to wear ties. Ties never compromise musculoskeletal health. The increased weight on your toes when you wear heels causes your body to tilt forward, and to compensate you lean backwards, creating a posture that can strain your knees, hips and lower back.

Ties don't lead to injured leg muscles, osteoarthritis of the knee and lower back pain. A dicky bow never made a man fall sideways and pull ligaments. Killer heels can really kill you. Or at least kill your feet.

Waging her own war against high heels, Emma Thompson went on stage at the Golden Globes in 2014 with hers in her hand, clutching a martini.

Ironically, this year was meant to be the year of la femme at Cannes. Instead, it's all fallen flat for women. The message - "Can't do heels? Well, don't do Cannes."


Celebrity is not  a lifestyle choice

"Pretty please. It's not just a way to get what you want. It's a lifestyle." Uuugggh. That line is from Reese Witherspoon's new lifestyle website, Draper James (awful name, dontcha think?), where you can buy "contemporary, timeless Southern style, no matter where you live".

Just like Gwyneth Paltrow's, this celeb website seems to have a slight air of self-importance and delusion.

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon

Listen up celebs, y'all need to stop peddling things ($250 dresses) and lifestyles (living on air and berries and decoupling or recoupling or whatever it was).

We're not buying the notion that we can buy things and then be just like y'all. Because we don't want to.


I've had enough of calamity TV dads

So Peppa Pig delivered a billion-dollar return for her owners last year. The tiny swine is also expected to sign a broadcast deal for China. Ker-ching.

I hope the profits aren't off the back of portraying Daddy Pig as a complete moron. Daddy Pig is painted as stupid, unshaven, out of shape and lazy. Sure, he's loving and faithful, but Daddy Pig seems mostly to be a bit of a hindrance.


In one episode, Mummy Pig, Miss Rabbit and Mummy Sheep put out a fire set by the hapless Daddy Pig, who couldn't even get a decent barbecue together.

He's not the first - Fred Flintstone and Homer Simpson have been similarly portrayed. As Father's Day approaches next month, it's worth remembering that most daddies aren't stereotypical calamities.

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