Your child. Online. Smart idea?

1234Ok, so we all know a friend who is obsessed with posting photos and videos of their kids on Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and whatever other options are out there. Right!? That’s all cool, but have they really thought through the consequences?

From Day 1 (actually as soon as we found out we were preggers, and yes “we” were both pregnant as I also developed a belly and indulged in man-cravings) I have been pretty staunch on the online side of things with Finn. I am not keen on posting any photos of him online. And yes, I think he’s thee cutest little ninja that this world has ever seen, but I don’t feel that 2 billion people need to see him. None of us know the full extent of what actually goes on in the background with these social sites. Who owns the photos? Who can share it? Whose hands do your photos eventually end up in? Have you read the full terms and conditions of your FB agreement? I’d be surprised if you have.

Our children rely on us as their voice and as their protector. Why oh why do we feel the compulsion to disregard that responsibility and share them with an online community? Some people have said to me that they only have close friends and family on their Facebook profile. But how do they know their “friends” aren’t sharing these images. When a friend “likes” a photo, can their friends now see the post?

Here’s a question – what if your child turns around when they are a teenager and asks you why did you post a bazillion photos of them online? Worse, what if they have a digital stalker who has been following them online through your photos!?! Scary stuff, but it’s reality guys.

Where’s the tipping point between sharing photos for the enjoyment of your family versus outright narcissism? I often wonder how many times a parent has taken a photo to get the ‘perfect’ shot? Why does every photo have to be so calculated? Is it for more likes? Is it to make them feel good about themselves (which is often the case)?

Some of my non-parent friends often comment about how they absolutely hate the constant child photos from their friends and family. But they are too worried to say anything to their friends incase they offend them. So in the end, they just unfollow them. It’s true that we think the sun shines out of our little whippersnapper’s backsides but come on, do we really NEED to post a photo every single day? Gone are the days of creating moments and memories for your family. It seems that anything cute that happens, needs to be shared. Over and over and over. I can honestly say I don’t know more than two people who actually live through the lenses of their eyes instead of the lense on their iPhone. The two experiences are VASTLY different. Dads (and Mums!) really need to live in the moment more often. Living through your digital device so you can watch the moment back on a screen is just a false illusion. For those of us in our 30’s, 40’s and beyond – do you recall your childhood memories in the yard with your parents? Throwing a ball, splashing in the paddling pool, wrestling around, learning to bike ride? All of these special memories leave a last imprint on our minds and souls. Now picture the child of today. What is the one common factor that they will remember through ALL of these memories… Mum and/or Dad holding their phone. Yes its nice to have the photo or the video, but are you really considering the impact it’s having on those moments? I recall a Phillip Pullman book I read at school – it talked about humans having a “spirit” or “animal” being a part of their soul and it would follow them everywhere. It’s scary now that I think this sci-fi book is becoming a reality. How many humans do you see walking with their phone in their hand, looking down at their phone whilst they are driving, sitting at a bar with their friends with their heads glued to their phones?! This world is losing the ability to interact socially.

Have you done a google search on the dark world out there of the creeps that gather photos from Facebook and Instagram? It’s startling.

So my question to you is – I have started a Blog on being a Daddio, is it essential that I post a photo of Finn (my 9 month old)? As yet – there isn’t one photo of him on my FB profile or anywhere on the internet. Lisa and I have however set up a ‘secret’ Facebook group where we invite Finns family to see our cute photos and videos of him. We probably post once a week, sometimes less. But I feel more comfortable knowing that his photos aren’t out there in the public domain. Well at least Facebook tells me that they are safe in there. I wonder has Zucks got a wee disclaimer in there somewhere … Check out Facebook groups if you don’t know how to set one up.

Check out this amazing article about how parents are putting their desire for “likes” above the happiness of their child. It highlights how some parents even video their children crying when they lose a tooth, rather than consoling them. What kind of sick world are we in!?

Please share your thoughts on this topic. It’s a huge part of our current society and I would really love to know where you stand. Don’t just sit behind your selfie stick (AKA arsewand) – get your thoughts out there and take some ownership for what you post of your child.

Thanks Dads (and mums!).

James

Founder of ModernDad.guru

Embrace the Poo.

123Prior to Finn joining us (aka turning our world upside down!), I had many male friends give me advice about being a dad, and what it involved. It varied quite a bit, but for the most part the gist of the advice was that the hands-on stuff was for the mum. Now, I have to admit many of my friends are a few years older (by a few, I mean a few decades) and I had been warned about the southern man syndrome – a New Zealand term for a rough and ready, partially chauvinistic male. This doesn’t apply to all my mates … I might be friendless pretty quick if I didn’t clarify that.

Here’s a few of the classic tips I received.

  • Don’t wake in the middle of the night to assist with parent duties. Once you do it once, you are screwed. Just pretend you are sleeping.
  • Don’t consider changing a diaper/nappy. This is not a man’s job. Leave the wife to it.
  • Continue to go about your life as normal. Go to the pub when you normally would, go out with your mates as always, and generally don’t let the baby stuff up your life as you know it.
  • Don’t show your son too much affection.

Now I have to be honest, life is a little bit like Monkey see, Monkey do. I was lucky enough to have a great Dad who was hands on from the start and gave my siblings and I the love and support we needed. My dadding style is largely based on what I experienced from my own dad. But let’s remember, not everyone had the same dad experience as me. So if yours wasn’t a positive one, then you can be the person to change the tradition. I know of a family who has a history of abusive, controlling, chauvinistic males. They have been this way for generations. The guys brush off their a##hole behaviour as a genetic trait, so all of a sudden it’s acceptable. And the women seem to enable them. The son’s born into this family have a small chance to get it right for the next generation. But they will have to stand up and turn the tide. They will be the “real men” in the family. Hopefully.

If you have only one shot to be a dad, don’t you want to do it brilliantly? Who wants to be that dead beat dad that sits on his iPhone and scrolls through his Facebook feed? I took all of the advice from the males around me, filtered it and flushed most of it down the dunny (a toilet, for you North Americans). A good dad wants to be a part of their child’s life, not just pick and choose the fun bits he wants to do.

When Finn came screaming and kicking into the World, I made it my mission to cherish every single moment with him and Lisa. Here in New Zealand, your wife and baby get checked into a “recovery facility” (and no, not along with the alcoholics!) for a few days post-birth. It’s an amazing service, funded by the government. If you are here in New Zealand, do not even consider turning this down. They rolled out a lazyboy for me too so I could be there to support Lisa through the first few nights. The best part of it being that I could ask as many questions to the experts whilst we were there. One of the key things I wanted to know was how to change that first shitty nappy. You know, the black tar nappy. And yes, I took a photo and Im still not sure why, but I did. And you probably will too. But anyways, changing that very first dirty nappy is what you need to do. Don’t put it off and say you’ll do the next one. Roll up your sleeves and get involved. Your missus will feel that you are there for the long haul, through thick and thin.

Here’s a few things I wish I had been told earlier :

  • Breathe through your mouth. That stuff is seriously potent. Like flatulence 22 hours after you’ve consumed a killer Vindaloo. Only twice as deadly.
  • If it’s a boy, cover that fire hose whilst your are changing. It can go off at any point and it soaks everything, and everyone, within a two metre radius. Including iPhones …
  • Pull out the flaps. This is the single most important thing you need to know about diapers and nappies. No sh*t! Literally. If you want no runny poos down the wee ones legs, up their backs, all over your clothes and furniture, then pull out the flaps on the diaper. Easy to spot – they are little white flanges. Once you have fastened the diaper in place, pull those things out. They are life savers. Just do it. Don’t try “living and learning”. But if you do have any hilarious poonami stories or explosions please do share.

A study has shown that Dad’s who spend time with their kids have happier wives. Enough said. Apparently your chances of getting laid, double. Now I’ve perked your attention… lol.

So Dad’s, embracing the poo is so much more than just taking your turn to change the diaper. It’s about bonding with your child and investing in quality time. You may think that your child will never remember whether you changed a nappy or not, and you are probably right, but in the long run you have missed out on HOURS of bonding time. This could have an affect on your relationship with them. Changing nappies can be fun, in fact it can be hilarious. Particularly when your son decides to do a 180 degree flip whilst his bum and legs are covered in baby curry – not fun, but in retrospect absolutely hilarious.

Get involved with the Nappies lads.

 

James

Founder of ModernDad.guru

You the Daddy!

12I have thought about Dad-blogging for the last 9 months… but I just haven’t managed to take the step. Well, I figured it was time to man-up and get it out there. Actually, the wife gave me a swift kick up the proverbial to get my ass in gear. My son Finn is almost 9 months old and is keeping me on my toes! My wife Lisa is an amazing mum and has so many great resources online that cover everything about being a new mum. Forums, FB groups, FB chat groups, blogs, Vlogs. And the list goes on. It makes us Dad’s look useless, when I started looking at the same resources for Dads, I was utterly disappointed. There are a few options out there – but they are few and far between. And to be honest, I’d rather watch paint dry than read the majority of boring blogs.

Today’s world is so different than it was a few decades ago. The role of “dad” has also evolved and the expectations placed on Dads is ever-changing. I want to do my bit to share my dad-experience with any new dads by blogging, in the hope that I can establish a fun and engaging online community for Dads to unite, share, impart and most of all have fun. And I have to be honest, I stuff up often – so bear with me. I’m Irish too – so I’m not sure if that means I have another slight disadvantage lol.

I never imagined just how amazing it was going to feel to become a Dad. It’s seriously an awesome experience. That very first moment that I met my son was simply divine. My world changed forever, and no one could ever have prepared me for that. Now I have to be honest, it’s not all plain sailing. There are tough times, tired times, shitty times (literally!) and everything in between. But all of the trying times are far outweighed by the joyful experiences. Watching my baby grow into a little character is hilarious and exhilarating. And I am learning every single day! ModernDad.guru is my way of doing my little bit for those dads out there who care to go the extra mile for their baby and their partner. Otherwise, for those men who actually give a damn.

 

Please help me, help other dads, by sharing your experiences and getting other dads to join the FB group and subscribe to the blog. Being a dad is simply thee most important role a man has in his life. You get one shot. Make it count.

James

Founder of ModernDad.guru