One of the great things about the internet is that it enables us to provide helpful advice to our loved ones even when they are not in close proximity. This is perfect for empty nesters to continue to guide their offspring after they have flown the coop. Or people whose spouses travel a lot. Or Jewish mothers who are concerned that their middle-aged sons may have forgotten about the Holocaust or may not have been keeping abreast of developments in the State of Israel.
The internet also allows us to communicate at all hours of the day or night. No longer are we confined to providing advice just in the early morning when our loved ones are heading out for the day or in the evening when they have just arrived home from school or work. Now we can write it all down in the middle of a sleepless night and they can save it on their smart phone in a file entitled “Helpful Advice From My Loved Ones” and refer to it for inspiration repeatedly wherever and whenever.
We can also now bolster the credibility of our advice by forwarding or linking helpful articles. Just the other day, one of my loved ones (I am not allowed to write about my wife, so please don’t think it was her) forwarded me an article entitled “7 Foods That Cause Acid Reflux” and I was shocked to learn that coffee, diet coke and chocolate were included. As the article was from Health.com and included a slide show with pictures of coffee, diet coke and chocolate, I was quite persuaded. In the old days, we would simply resort to the anonymous “they” to lend credence to our advice, such as “they say diet coke causes mutant babies” or “they say that if you leave dirty dishes in the sink, raccoons will come into the house and ransack the kitchen”. Now we can use Google to find that “they” have written a supportive article that we can forward to buttress our advice. Whereas children in prior generations might have ignored their parents’ advice as ‘out of touch’ or old-fashioned, my children can benefit from authoritative third-party articles such as “How to Find the Perfect Boyfriend” or “100 Interviewing Mistakes To Avoid”, so they don’t have to accept my word for it. And I can email them just before a date or an interview so they receive my advice on a timely basis.