When it comes to my kids, there is actually a limit as to what I will and will not do. Sure, if my daughter wants the latest Moana doll to line the shelves at the Disney Store, she’s got me so wrapped around her little finger that I’ll rev the engine to my intimidating Nissan Sentra, drive the 35 minutes to the mall, tote around a cotton bag to do my part to aid recycling, all so I can hear her squeal with excitement as she grabs the doll, hugs it and ultimately forgets about it by bedtime.
What I won’t do, however, is expose my children on social media. It’s a controversial topic that Huffington Post writer Emily Blatchford discusses at length in her article, “Should You Post Photos of Your Child on Social Media.” In our technologically advanced – and ever advancing – world, we, as adults, have become accustomed to the concept of sharing, perhaps, “over-sharing.” As a typical millennial, having come of age in the vintage-laden, Riot Girlll days of the 90s’, computers, TRL, reality tv-shows and inventions of Myspace, I was beginning my segway into a virtual identity long before I ever realized it.
By the time 2018 rolled around, social media became such a mainstream addiction that I actually took a conscious step back from it. My temporary hiatus allowed me to reflect on my habits beforehand – and that included the conscious decision to not show my children’s faces to my high school friends while they scroll their newsfeed on their lunch breaks.
Blatchford talks at length about how posting pictures could be an invasion of privacy, a segway for photos to wind up in the hands of sexual predators, and even further, how this is cultivating an environment where our kids don’t necessarily gain the opportunity to understand that not everything you see online is real.
While I enjoy my children’s smiling, bad-breath smelling faces gleaming at me at 6 o’clock on a Sunday morning, those on my Facebook or Twitter feed don’t share my sentiments. In fact, that’s a huge reason as to why I refuse to post them. Outside of me, my wife, and our parents, no one really cares about our kids. They’d care if they had surgery, or recognition at school, but a half blurry, out-of-focus picture of my daughter refusing to eat her mashed peas doesn’t necessarily strike me as a viral content. Although, let me ask Annie Liebowitz real quick to confirm.
I think sharing your children’s milestones comes with a price – and a hefty one, too. Often, parents aren’t familiar with where that line should be drawn? Sharing your excitement over your child taking their first steps is magical. Sharing the image of the first time your child used the potty correctly crosses a line. It’s a controversial topic and one that my friends and I often disagree on. While I have a mild social media presence that would trick you into thinking I didn’t have any kids (except of course, when I write about them), I have friends who created Facebook accounts for each of their children that way they can have the photos, likes, comments, and memories to look back on when they grow older and ironically, when Facebook becomes obsolete.
We’re taught, growing up, that sharing is caring, but when it comes to social media, my children’s privacy is paramount. It’s in this discovery that reminds me that sharing may not always be the most caring and loving thing I could do for them as their father.