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Meme Explained: "Dear Parents," Posts Are Taking Over Twitter

Different memes pop up on the daily, and it can be very difficult to keep up with the current pop-culture obsessions. So if you're not completely clear on where the "Dear Parents," meme came from and what the ensuing endless tweets are all about, never fear. We've got the story.

Basically, "Dear Parents," is a tongue-in-cheek attempt at humor aimed at those parents who seem to be constantly annoyed at their teens who are constantly staring at the screens of their phones.

 The Lead-Up

According to Mirror, parents have become worried, concerned, and frustrated with their children who can't stop looking at their phones. And in turn, parents can't stop theorizing dramatic scenarios as to what their precious teens are looking at. Could they be into drugs? Watching questionable material? Planning out an elaborate lie with their BFF so they can sneak off for the night?

The "Dear Parents," meme lets parents know that it's okay to take a deep breath and relax... or worry about something else entirely for those hardcore worriers out there. The reason? Kids today are not known to be the rebels that their parents were. The smartphone-wielding children of this generation generally like to get enough sleep, follow up with their favorite beauty gurus to get some skincare advice, and take quizzes and post the results on their Facebook pages (apparently my favorite color is purple according to my pizza preferences, who knew?).

Oh, we're not saying that out of control teens circa The Maury Show of the 90's ("You don't know me! Whatever! Y'all don't know me! Sit down!") do not exist today because they definitely do. Case in point, Danielle Bregoli, also known as Cashmeousside Girl. But we're talking the mass majority here. Most of the kids today prefer to spend their time watching funny video compilations on Facebook, scouring the internet for appropriate gifs to post in social media comments and compulsively checking their Instagram masterpieces for likes.

 The Essentials

This is not necessarily every parent's worst nightmare. But it can be hard for parents who didn't grow up with smartphones to relate to their children who did. Not every kid is using their phone for nefarious teenage matters that can cause ulcers in their parents.

This meme plays on the classic parental concern that a child may have a secret boyfriend or a girlfriend who is sending them suspicious messages, and causing them to smile at their phone. It's hard to understand why someone would spend SO much time on their device and all of this sneaky smiling can drive worrisome parents over the edge! What could they possibly be smiling at? The fact that teenagers are naturally protective over their private lives just adds further fuel to the digital fire.

But the "Dear Parents," meme is here to let us know what most kids are really smiling at and spending so much time looking at - probably. It turns out, according to the Twitterverse, that this is often something as innocent as an Ariana Grande gif or reading the latest news update on their favorite celeb. Twitter users have been sharing hilarious posts that typically begin with "Dear parents, just because your kid is smiling at their phone doesn't mean they have a boyfriend/girlfriend." The posts finish by mentioning some other, completely innocent, smile-worthy content. Be it celebrity photos, movie scenes, or dog gifs, moms and dads can be assured that there is no BF/GF situation to be concerned about.

"Dear Parents," as most memes were, was born of pure fun and honorable intentions but some have taken the meme as a form of parent-shaming. Parents who are natural worriers, however, shouldn't feel ashamed of being concerned with their children's well-being. We have to assume that what is being interpreted as parent-shaming from this meme is similar to "helicopter parenting" and that might ring true for some families overall. But we think that this particular scenario (parents worrying their kids are being influenced to do something unhealthy or being involved with troublesome activities on their phone) is mostly a case of good ol' generational gap misunderstanding.

 The Bottom Line

We believe that Will Smith said it best when he proclaimed that "parents just don't understand." The parents of today were raised with their own generational preoccupations, obsessions and fascinations that their parents didn't understand, were unable to relate to and ultimately, had problems with.

When so many kids are into the same thing (such as spending huge amounts of time on their phones) parents being parents, talk to one another. With several cooks in the kitchen, it is easy for troubling ideas to add up and snowball. When in reality, there is likely no need for snowballing at all!

The "Dear Parents," meme confirms this with people tweeting all of the perfectly innocent and PG-rated things that actually is the source of their child's focus all day and night long.

So, in summary, if your child seems to be obsessively preoccupied with their phone or device, there's no need to jump to dramatic conclusions if your kid is generally well-behaved and has a good head on their shoulders. Instead of worrying about what trouble they might getting into or threatening them with taking away privileges if they don't get some space from their phone, why not try offering them something so enticing that they want to put down their phone? Perhaps a nature hike, rollercoaster ride, or trip into town for some delicious sorbet?

While hiking, waiting in line or sampling some deliciously iced gelato, you can casually ask them what's new, and then you will likely be handsomely rewarded with the knowledge that your kid has spent the better part of the week catching up on recap videos of their favorite reality show.

Ah, the pure joys of parenthood!

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