April Moments

Maybe, just maybe, telling the story is just as important as the story itself

When social networking support goes wrong

On a recent weekend afternoon while Cecilia was napping and Elliot was coloring, I searched for a new Facebook support group to join.

I found one called “Parents Who Love Coloring.” I was planning to sit down and color with Elliot, so I thought, This could be a good choice for me. I clicked “Join” and prayed to the Administrator gods that they would accept me into the group.

A few moments later, that beautiful, red No. 1 appeared atop the Facebook Earth icon, letting me know I had a notification. Yes! I was in. I couldn’t wait to get some great advice and support from other coloring-crazy parents.

I began writing my first post.

Hi everyone! I’m new to the group and need some advice. My son and I are coloring a picture together, and we’re trying to decide if we should color the bird blue or yellow. What are your thoughts?

The responses started coming immediately.

Commenter 1: Hi April! Welcome to the group! We are happy to have you join us. I think either color would look great. Maybe let your son choose?

Commenter 2: I am partial to blue.

Commenter 3: Definitely yellow!

Commenter 4: Are there multiple birds? You could do one in blue, one in yellow.

Me: Good idea, Commenter 1! I could let him have the final choice. And Commenter 4, there are two birds in the picture, so that would work well. Thanks for the suggestions!

Commenters 1 and 4 both gave my reply a thumbs-up. I was making friends and feeling happy. I logged out of Facebook while Elliot and I finished our picture. We tore out our coloring book pages and displayed them on the refrigerator. All was well with our world while we played games – “Trouble” and “Cootie.”

A couple hours later when I checked my Facebook, I saw that the thread had continued.

Commenter 5: Both are good bird colors, and, depending on the scene, either could work!

Commenter 6: I don’t like either of those colors. Have you thought about red or black?

Commenter 7: Are any of your crayons organic? That’s what I would base my decision on.

Commenter 8: ^^^Agreed! We have only organic crayons in our house!

Commenter 9: I didn’t even realize there was such a thing as organic crayons.

Commenter 1: I’m pretty sure the OP was looking for color recommendations, not a debate about organic vs. non-organic crayons.

Commenter 7: I have done my research, and I just wish more parents would do the same. I’m not judging anyone for choosing non-organic crayons. I’m just saying I could never support that. It’s barbaric and inhumane.

Commenter 4: How is calling someone’s choice “barbaric and inhumane” not judging?

Commenter 8: All parents are free to have their opinions. But I base my decisions on facts. I’m unfollowing this thread. I’m tired of being judged for trying to educate people.

Commenter 9: I thought this was supposed to be a “support” group? If this is how we treat other parents who are looking for support, I’m leaving the group.

Commenter 10: Have you thought about how your color choices now will affect your children’s preferences in the future? You could be altering the course of their lives forever.

Whoa! Perhaps this wasn’t the support I was looking for. I deleted my original post and got away from the screen and back into my real life.

Author’s note: The above story is a fictional account based on real social media interactions I have witnessed. No offense to anyone who uses organic crayons.

Originally published on ovparent.com.

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