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

One thought on “Your child. Online. Smart idea?

  1. Thank you for posting this. I totally agree that way too many are over sharing way to much now adays, especially when it comes to sharing photos of the kids on facebook. I share periodically, typically related to a special blog post and only a couple photos at a time. My wife and I differ a little on opinion on this. I love how you remind us to live through our eyes and not through a camera’s eyes, I see it so often, and what are we teaching our children if we are living through the lens of an Android or iPhone?

    Like

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