Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Not your average mother

Not+your+average+mother
Hadley Hinman

Facebook Mom: She’s the online version of a Karen. A middle-aged woman with kids, she rocks the infamous bob and spends every second of her free time online. She goes about her days harassing other moms in parent groups, posting endless pictures of her kids, regardless of whether or not they want her to. She’s a menace to society, both on and offline. Online, she portrays the picture of a perfect mother with perfect children, but IRL, she’s not all that. 

For starters, your average Facebook Mom will get WAY too involved with others’ lives and often stick her nose where it doesn’t belong. Scouring my mom’s Facebook parent groups, I came across several concerning images. One mom I saw had the absolute audacity to post a picture of a random kid skateboarding in the middle of the street. In her defense, it was kind of a stupid and dangerous thing for him to do, but did that warrant her publicly shaming him? These moms take it upon themselves to parent every random child they see on the street, both figuratively and literally. 

Don’t even get me started on their complete disregard for how their actions might affect others. I mean, seriously, some of these moms post their kids’ personal business for all other moms to see. One mom, in a how-to-borderline-stalk-your-child group, posted some very concerning and personal things she found while digging through her kid’s phone, and posted about it, with a lot of detail. If my mom did this to me, I would feel angry and violated, and rightfully so. There’s a fine line between asking for help and violating your children’s privacy. While I understand the dangers of being online, parents have to place some trust in their children.While some parents post comments that are legitimate questions, many of the moms in this particular group are paranoid helicopter parents who need to take a couple steps back from their kids, and let them actually live and learn from their mistakes.

“I believe these parent groups exist as a place for parents and guardians to ask questions and share information that are pertinent to our specific community”

— Katie Meyer

On the topic of not thinking about their actions, your typical Facebook Mom usually speaks, or comments before thinking. We all remember the controversy that surrounded last year’s Pioneer yearbook, and as I’m sure you can imagine, the Facebook Moms had something to say about it. Moms stormed their parent groups, throwing accusations, insults and opinions at anyone who would listen. They took it so far that one mom felt the need to ask other moms to stop harassing her for her response in support of the yearbook, which had gotten reposted by other moms. Why these moms chose to get so worked up over the yearbook when there are much bigger issues in the world, I couldn’t tell you. I agree that it was controversial, but it shouldn’t have caused this much fighting and online harassment among parents. To their credit, some moms did support the yearbook, but despite whether they support it or not, it’s not cause to go and harass other moms. 

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Essentially, Facebook Mom is just a nicer thing to call someone who gets way too involved in other’s lives, overreacts, acts like a middle school girl and dramatizes every little thing that happens to them. If they could learn to behave more like the high schoolers they obsess over, we’d all be better off. Now, this isn’t to say that every mom who uses Facebook is a nosy Karen. Some out there do choose to use their powers for good. And believe it or not, these parent groups are not all about the moms, although they may not see it that way, there are people behind the groups, running them, creating them, and moderating them. One of these people is Kate Meyer, an admin to the Kirkwood Area Parent Network (KAPN) group. While we look in on the outside at these groups and these parents, she deals with them on a daily basis. As someone who helped create these groups, she can give us real insight on why exactly they were created.

“I believe these parent groups exist as a place for parents and guardians to ask questions and share information that are pertinent to our specific community,”

Meyer said. “This could be Kirkwood Schools-specific input, recommendations for local businesses (anything from roofing to cookies to restaurants to babysitters), share local updates and to look for help.”

Meyer also touched on what she does as an admin when things do get heated, and what she does to prevent it in the first place. Because even though these groups were created for good, there are still those certain people that will take any chance to be hateful towards someone who disagrees with them. 

“The admins of any community Facebook group are not perfect. We have lives, families and actual jobs. I don’t think anyone knows how much goes into monitoring one of these pages.”

— Katie Meyer

“Since it has also become a hub to share news and information, that’s when we typically see things get heated. KAPN reflects our community and the community reflects the nation. We all know things, politically and politically adjacent, can get heated, now more than ever,” Meyer said. “While most of the sharing is positive, our Small Business Saturday, positive stories about Kirkwood, fundraisers, lemonade stands, etc., there will always be topics that incite discourse. We do not allow political posts for anything other than local elections. We also try to keep all political posts informative, when voting day is, where you can vote, what’s on the ballot, etc. Another thing we have done to try to curb negativity, is turn on post approval. This lets us deny a post that is hateful or rude before it gets posted. This doesn’t mean we don’t allow healthy debates but we try to keep it respectful. We’ve had to delete comments that are offensive, and on many posts we end up turning off comments once things get out of hand. Usually that’s when the conversation has stalled and no new points are being brought up and it’s gotten very ugly or personal. We have also deleted entire threads when they’ve gotten very ugly.”

The work that the admins put in to make these Facebook groups respectful and safe places is impressive. But to me, it should not be this much work just to moderate a parent group page, whose purpose is to help people. When people start flooding the comments with hateful and personal attacks, it’s a lot of work for admins to filter through. 

“The admins of any community Facebook group are not perfect. We have lives, families and actual jobs. I don’t think anyone knows how much goes into monitoring one of these pages.

I’ve spent hours in the evening refreshing the page to keep up with comments on a post. I’ve gotten calls from the Kirkwood Community Center about a post that was on our page. I field DMs about our policies and what people think we can do better.” Meyer said. “I talk to others that admin other pages and they have the same sentiments. I enjoy what the page can provide, but I don’t always enjoy the leg work to provide it. At the end of the day, as an admin, I feel my name is on anything on the page and therefore I have to hold it to a high standard. It’s very easy to be a keyboard warrior these days.” 

See, as long as these moms think before they speak, or go about disagreeing or asking for help in a way that is respectful to everyone around them, we won’t have any more issues. I do believe that some of these moms have their community’s best interest at heart, but they need to do a better job of showing it. By taking a couple steps back, I think we’d all get along much better. So, even though I’ve spent almost this entire article bashing Facebook Moms, try not to judge too harshly of the people behind these groups, and the moms who are truly on there to help others, and use the pages for their intended purposes. There will always be people in the world who are hateful, and if we can just look past these certain people, we can focus on the good that these groups provide.

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About the Contributors
Millie Reithel, news writer
She/Her Hobbies and Interests: movies, friends, books Favorite movie: Legally Blonde Favorite Quote: "To live for the hope of it all." -Taylor swift
Hadley Hinman, artist
She/Her Hobbies and Interests: drawing, volleyball, and listening to music Favorite movie: Fried Green Tomatoes Favorite Quote: “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
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