I'm at the older end of the first generation to grow up with computers in our bedrooms. My earliest memories are of big grey boxes on which to play Diamonds, floppy disks and a single AOL account for the entire family which took an hour to access at night because all the dial-up numbers were busy.
I've lived less of my life without the Internet than with it, a stark contrast to my legitimately tech savvy father who types on his keyboard with only his index fingers, or my mother who in recent years has discovered the addictive nature of texting with friends at dinner.
For those of us in college when Facebook arrived, hearing it was opening to our younger siblings in high school made us incredulous, and the moment our parents joined we all immediately questioned whether to deactivate. (Not that we don't love you!)
It's easy to be frustrated or embarrassed by our parents online behavior, in part because the digital social norms that seem so obvious to us are simply not to them. They not only didn't grow up with computers in their bedrooms, computers were entire rooms. The concept of a punch card is literally shocking to the majority born after 1982.
If you are the parent of a Millennial, your child and his peers would like you to know the following:
1. Comments are not private conversations
Everyone can read what you write, so comment sections are not a place to tell your daughter she seems to post a lot of pictures at bars, or ask your son to call you this weekend. Feel free to say positive, supportive things, but avoid overly sarcastic, negative or embarrassing notes. Take that communication to another medium.
2. If you comment, you better Like
This is just basic etiquette. Keep it to yourself if you're not going to aid the like count. Yes, your kid really cares how many their post, photo or tweet receives.
3. Instagram is not a moment by moment diary
That's called Snapchat. If you tend to post a lot of random pictures of what's happening throughout your day, it may be the better platform for you. Otherwise, aim for well lit, in focus images that highlight the best moments, not all.
4. Captions should have character
Description is great, but no one is fascinating by a paragraph of unemotional voiceover about what you made for dinner (even adding a "yum!" can make a big difference.) Keep it short, sweet and snappy. Break out an emoji or two, get crazy!
5. You don't need to sign your text messages
This one isn't social media specific, but we all find it funny and a little weird when you end every part of the conversation with "Love, Dad."
And parents, lest you worry, I fully expect to read a similar guide from the generation of my unborn children explaining how to interact appropriately in virtual reality and with robotic assistants.