Limiting Social Media About My Kids
We announced the birth of my son on Facebook. This was back in 2009. Living away from family and friends, it seemed the best way to share this life-changing news by announcing it from the top of the digital world.
It is 2018 and the digital landscape looks very different.
Given the recent Cambridge Analytica data scandal, it is only natural to feel a little vulnerable sharing personal photos, videos, and communication on a platform so seemingly exposed.
The cool thing is, my husband and I made a conscious decision to delete all our data from Facebook back in 2010. This decision was spurred by articles carried by BBC and other prominent news outlets, touting the weak privacy setting of social media platforms in general, and Facebook in particular.
Our families were told of our ‘new policy’, whereby we were decidedly not going to share our son’s pictures on Facebook.
After many awkward conversations and subtle hints about photo privacy, we just got upfront about it. Anytime a notification popped up with us being tagged, we politely and promptly messaged the family member or friend asking the photo to be taken down. I felt like we were guarding our privacy in a holier-than-thou manner. But better safe than sorry – amiright?
I now have two kids and we are always attending events, doing arts and crafts, and coming up with fun ways to occupy our time together. With our social and familial circles back home in India, I felt an urge to share our lives and more importantly, our kids’ lives with all, especially family. So, I decided to get on Instagram. It started out as a social channel for my resume – a way to show employers my marketing side – and soon turned into my whole existence as a creative person. I love it when people ask me, “I saw your Instagram posts – do you do this stuff professionally?”.
Social media has wonderful usage if channeled correctly. Coming right to the question: why do I limit social media about my kids? The reasons follow:
- Digital footprint
I want my kids to create their own digital footprint and reserve the right to put up what they believe represents them. When they come of age, their email addresses (reserved at birth – I know, a bunch of planners here) will be handed over to them. They will come with a collection of memories – each time, they did/do something cute, my husband and I shot/shoot them emails, creating memories to last a lifetime 😊
My 8-year-old knows about likes, shares and is ever curious about how many ‘likes’ a post/photo got on Facebook/Instagram. I do not wish for my kids to relate social media reactions to self-esteem levels. Not sure I can prevent this from happening eventually, but I would like to delay it for as long as possible.
The world has all kinds of people and I refuse to deliberately put my kids’ photos out there. Once we put our kids’ photos online, there is no telling where they may end up. Cyber-security risks are real.
I post a lot on Instagram and the one thing I keep in mind is posting about events/restaurants/trips AFTER we have come back home. It’s called practicing safe-sharing.
The idea is to be aware, not paranoid; a fine line.
As parents, we all have our kids’ best interests at heart. So please do what works for you and your family. End of the day, it’s all about sharing memories – online or offline!