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Once social media had hypnotized all of us kids and basically taken over every aspect of our lives, it was only a matter of time until our parents caught up and got in on the act as well. While we may laugh at Aunt Mary’s hilarious photo missteps on Instagram or surprisingly heated political re-posts on Facebook, the issue at hand is that many parents lack the skills or knowledge to safely use social media — often to the public embarrassment of their own offspring.

The Parent Trap

Freelance mangaka @yashi09, author of the popular online manga やしろあずきの日常 (Yashiro Azuki’s Daily Life), recently tweeted a basic but very essential lesson for parents starting out on Twitter.

親がTwitterを始めた際に気をつけるべき事

①唐突に子供の顔を晒す
②位置情報をオンにしたまま実家からツイート
③ハンドルネームの概念がないため本名を入れてリプしてくる

災害時に役立つなどの理由でこれから親にSNSを教えようとしてる人は気をつけような!ちなみに僕は①〜③全てやられました。

= Parents who start using Twitter should be careful with the following points:

① Unexpectedly ending up exposing their child’s face
② Failing to turn off their GPS and tweeting from home 
③ Using their real names when replying as they don’t understand what a handle name is

You might be thinking that it’s important to teach your parents what social media is all about — you know, for occasions such as natural disasters and all — but here’s my advice: Be very careful with this! By the way, (my mother) did all of the above to me.

Speaking from experience, he reminds us that we should all be careful when it comes to sharing family-related content. Under the now viral tweet, we learn that a little more than two years ago @yashi09 begged his mother @kuu015, to erase embarrassing tweets in which she shared her son’s picture, using her real name and posting her location for everybody to see.

なんで消さないの、消して、ツイ消しして、15時までには消して = Why don’t you erase (this tweet)? Erase it. Erase this tweet. Erase this tweet before 3pm.

How to express a strong social obligation in Japanese

Among the grammatical expressions you need to know to rock the JLPT N3, the little suffix べき, translating a strong sense of obligation to do or not do something, is one of the most useful. Sentence-wise, the phrase isn’t too complicated to build.

Formal

  • Verb (plain form) + べき + です= must do (verb)

Informal

  • Verb (plain form) +  べき + だ = must do (verb) 

When expressing “mustn’t do,” pay attention that the verb preceding べき keeps its affirmative form and it’s the sentence-ending copula です that changes.

Formal

  • Verb (plain form) + べき + ではありません = mustn’t do (verb)

Informal

  • Verb (plain form) + べき + ではないじゃない = mustn’t do (verb)

This suffix carries such a strong sense of obligation, generally social, that most often べき should be reserved for situations when the action is naturally expected within a social context.

Vocabulary

Japanese Romaji English
おや oya parent
はじめる hajimeru to start, begin
さい sai ni when
をつける kiotsukeru to be careful
唐突 とうとつ toutotsu ni abruptly
子供 こども kodomo child
かお kao face
さら sarasu to expose something to (here, social media users)
位置情報 いちじょうほう ichijouhou location information, GPS information
実家 じっか jikka parent’s home
ツイート tuito tweet
ハンドルネーム handorunemu handle name
本名 ほんみょう honmyou real name
災害時 さいがいじ saigaiji ni at the time of a disaster
役立 やくだ yakudatsu to help, to serve well
理由 りゆう riyuu de for reasons
ちなみに chinami ni by the way
すべ subete completely
kesu erase

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