Memes in the Age of Covid-19
(Part 2: In the Open blog series)
by Stephanie Pericich
When I opened Facebook in early April, the following meme appeared on several of my friends’ Facebook pages: “E-Learning from home is going well so far: Two kids have been suspended for fighting, and one teacher was fired for drinking on the job.” As I scrolled down the News Feed, I viewed many more memes that referenced alcohol, e.g., “One week into quarantine, and we’ve already drained every bottle of alcohol in the house!”
I enjoyed these memes, because they were funny, clever, and a welcome respite from the grim news on the internet and airwaves. After all, witty and well-intentioned memes are harmless – right? Maybe not.
If we delve more deeply into what these memes are conveying, the implication is that we need to imbibe just to get through this pandemic, or more broadly, to get through tough times in general. Is this really the message that we want to send to our kids?
You may be thinking, “OK, but the intended audience for these memes is adults, via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.” True, but if we are seeing these memes, then our kids are most likely seeing them as well, no matter how diligently we try to separate our accounts and devices from theirs. Kids are always watching, and they are particularly astute in finding ways to view the very things that we attempt to place off-limits.
Humor is vitally important – especially during difficult times – and I am certainly not calling for the elimination of all alcohol-related memes. But before we saturate the internet with these memes, perhaps we would be wise to recall one of the lyrics from Stephen Sondheim’s musical Into the Woods, “Careful the things you say, Children will listen.”
Stephanie Pericich is a Parkway area wife, mother and an independent author of non-fiction and poetry. Ms. Pericich has volunteered to share her experiences and perspectives as a mother navigating the challenges of parenting for the purpose of encouraging community conversations about keeping kids safe and healthy.