Research suggests that kids born today will have nearly 100 photos shared online by the time they turn 5.
There’s a bunch of emerging issues that arise out of ‘sharenting’ – the sharing of our parenting moments with our online community – many of which relate to emerging aspects of digital etiquette and cyberpsychology.
My partner and I made the (unusual?) decision not to post images of our baby publically online. Here’s 4 reasons why:
// Posting photos is super easy
Our baby is very cute. I have had it independently verified that she is truly adorable.
Everything she does is so nuanced and amazing. Everything seems (to me) to be sharable and worthy of being a detailed talking point.
I feel if I were to start posting photos I’d either go into sharing overdrive or spend waaay too much time curating what I did share, trying to get the best photo, angle, expression etc.
It’s simply easier not to start posting.
// I want people to meet her IRL
It’s easy to feel like you know what’s going on in people’s lives from the snippets they share on social media. It obfuscates the onus to have real life catch ups and face to face connection (where geographically possible).
I don’t need to tell people I have been back to the gym – they probably read my status update. To a degree, what we share of ourselves replaces real life conversations and catch ups and gives a sense of ‘knowing’ how people are without having the face- to-face contact.
Rather than relying on this or giving people the easy window into our lives we want to keep her private and her image special, something that you see in all its 3D glory when you meet her.
// She should have a say in what is shared
Ok, so she is a baby and can’t really ‘say’ anything – but when she is 7 or 17 or 27 she might have a different opinion on whether what we posted was cool. When she is old enough to have her own social media account, she will get the password to her private Instagram we’ve set up for only close friends and family (if it even still exists then, it could be gone the way of MySpace) and can choose what she does with it.
Kids have rights in a digital age, an area of growing research and concern. We want to respect these until she is old enough to take her own selfies and choose (in an informed and guided way) what she shares publically.
// We don’t really know who is watching
I have over 800 Facebook ‘friends’, her dad has a similar amount – we don’t really know many of them very well anymore and short of doing a massive cull or moving people into ‘close friend’ or ‘acquaintance’ level I’d simply prefer to not have my child’s image out there for everyone to see.
Folks have their own things going on, and not everyone is going to feel gooey and woohooey confronted by photos of my kid hijacking them over their morning latte.
People can also be kind of weird lurky creatures….
/ / / /
NB: We do share some obscure images of her shadow or hands etc, and agree on each photo before posting publically.