Blogtober 27: social media for parents

Thank you so much to those of you who followed along with my pregnancy-related posts these last four days! I do want to post something about the “fourth trimester” at some point, but today was really busy so it’ll have to come another time.

Busy? you ask. Yes, today was lesson 2 of the baby sign language class! The lesson starts at 10am which is pretty much smack in the middle of everybody’s naptime, so my baby wasn’t the only one struggling today. Still, the teacher is really good at keeping everybody engaged and interested, and offering ideas for things to do with your baby at home. It was fun!

Before the lesson, the teacher and another mother and I talked a little bit about social media, and whether or not to upload photos of your kids. The mother (with whom I get along fairly well) has five children, and said she doesn’t upload any photos of the older ones (who are in school), just her youngest. “His face will change as he gets older, so even if the photos are around for a long time nobody will recognise that it’s him,” she said. That reminded me of my best friend: when her baby was born she posted tons of photos on instagram, but now her daughter is going to school the photos only pop up on facebook once in a blue moon.

Anyway, the sign language teacher has kids of her own but since her name and contact information is out there online, she doesn’t upload any current photos of her own children. At the beginning of the first lesson she had a consent form for us to fill out, where we could specify whether or not we wanted our/our babies’ photos to be on her blog (I opted for “okay, as long as our faces are covered by a stamp”).

We also talked a little about posting pictures privately/uploading to locked accounts, and it made me wonder where the line is. When you could meet friends and family “normally” (and locally), they’d see your kids as they grew, right? Right now, both in lockdown and when friends and families are scattered across the world, that isn’t possible – but the idea of sharing that sort of thing with your close friends and family still remains. But on the other hand there are all the issues that the current generation of kids are experiencing, where their lives have been used for social media fame and they are rightfully resentful of this “oversharenting”.

Is it the permanence of the internet that’s the problem? Are things like instagram and facebook “stories” (that disappear after 24 hours or whatever) a better answer? Do you think uploading photos to locked accounts with few followers is okay, or is it no different?

I was trying to do the 100 happy days social media challenge on instagram this autumn, but posting about things that made me happy and not posting constantly about my daughter was by far the bigger challenge, and I gave up. When the majority of our social interactions these days are online, and when your child is your entire world and literally every waking moment is dedicated to caring for or thinking about them, how not to talk/post about them… 🤔

6 Thoughts

  1. Sharenting is definitely one of the things people need to think about carefully these days.
    I really appreciate it in the times we live in but yeah I think it should be kept as private as possible as not to get the kids in trouble later on in their lives. I wonder whether there will be more rules and regulations regarding these kinds of things as they get more and more popular…? :/

    P.S.: super random but I was thinking of Hide the other day because I was standing next to my 195cm co-worker lol

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  2. I’m glad the sign language class has been fun ^^ it does sound great

    As for the actual topic, it’s really difficult! I don’t generally want even my own face anywhere on “public” internet (and I’m really annoyed when work makes me do that >_>), so I wouldn’t post anyone else’s either unless they were super OK with it. Less public spaces are a completely different thing though! As you say, “traditionally” your friends and family would see a baby grow, or just in general be able to hear what’s going on, but the world has changed (and this year has sped up the change), so it’s just a form of sharing that, and to me at least, feels very different from posting recognisable photos somewhere where they’re generally available.

    Lastly: super, super understandable re: that insta challenge and feeling like posting pictures and talking about baby N.

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  3. I post photos of myself liberally on twitter, facebook, and instagram. I also used to post occasional photos of my son, and I think I’ll continue to post ‘moderately’. However, videos is where I draw the line. (Is it?).

    I talked with another set of parents who aren’t posting their daughter anywhere online. They directly send the photos to the grandparents and other relatives via whatsapp, etc. Their worry is that when their child grows older, she might be the only one in her class without a social media presence of her childhood!

    It just feels like the internet and social media are here and there is no going back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh that’s a good point that I hadn’t considered! Being “the only one in the class without x” is tough on kids, so how would they feel if they were the only one without a published digital record of their experience? Food for thought! 🤔

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      1. Right? But they are keeping all photos carefully so her childhood is being documented, no worries.

        Unrelated, that lady with 5 kids? I’m in awe. I’m in awe of anyone with more than 2 kids, in Japan especially!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My daughter was born in the pre social media days but we still decided to not her photo online. And while I have mentioned her in some of my writing it’s been only in passing ways with no identifiable details. I didn’t what to predefine her identity by posting things. She can grow up to own how much of her childhood she wants to share.

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