When you apply for a job it’s important to know where you stand online. You need to know how your Facebook and Instagram posts, among other social media platforms, paint a picture of you in a digital space. This picture can determine how the rest of the world sees you as well. The good news is that as an adult, or at least a person that is physically capable of uploading a photo, discretion is at hand.
The same cannot be said for our children when they are young.
As cute as they can be as babies, toddlers and youngsters, they usually have no say as to how we portray them online. I am conflicted by this. I love my son and I want the world to know just how adorable he is. He is approaching his third month now and I can’t seem to post enough photos. At the same time, I do my best to constrain myself so as to prevent being another new parent that floods your Facebook feed. I never wanted to be one of these parents, but — oh, well.
My mother-in-law has a very clear stance on this: “Never put up photos on Facebook!” I didn’t see the immediate problem since I have been on Facebook for a decade now and most of the people I’ve met in that time are also on the site. That is, however, until I became a Christian and purged all of the “inappropriate” photos and posts that didn’t align with my new life. The point I am trying to make is that I was able to easily go into my account and delete whatever it was I saw unfit. I have the option to do so. My son, or any other young child does not. I’d hate for my son to not get accepted into a prestigious high school because images of him naked with cake frosting on his face didn’t align with their mission statement. It’s still cute, though.
I simply want to know: Are we robbing our kids of the clean slate we had before the Internet became what it is now and represented you to potential employers, schools, etc.?
My wife Veronica and I like to consider ourselves to be tech savvy, each with our own string of social media accounts. We love how it connects people with similar interests and goals. And yes, on occasion, we’ll share our meals, locations, and events we may be celebrating at the moment – all typical social media posts.
Now that we have a baby in the house and the prospect of sharing him with the world has be considering any possible repercussions. I recently read an article that put it in really simple terms as to why there are parents refusing to post their child’s photo on the Internet. In the article, Not All Parents Post Photos of Their Babies on Facebook, the argument of digital repercussions is very clear: “Some parents have privacy and safety concerns” while others “worry about what companies might do with their child’s image and personal data.” And, lastly, the point that I agree with the most, many parents “simply do it out of respect for their kids’ autonomy before they are old enough to make decision for themselves.”
These are all very valid points but ultimately we have to trust that the parent has the child’s best interest at heart. Like many of our readers, I’ve made many mistakes as a kid. Fortunately I was born in 1983 and the worst that could happen, if any mistake was caught on camera, for instance, would be it airing on America’s Funniest Home Videos.
Will I stop posting photos of my son and future children? Probably not. Will I be more conscience of what I post knowing that it will be on the Internet forever. Definitely yes.
A version of this first appeared on Wes and Veronica.