Why I stopped sharing so much online
There comes a time when you might want to stop sharing every, little detail about your child.
Open Facebook and you’re – very often – going to be confronted by a stream of cute baby pictures, cooey updates and 97 useful tips on how to create craft projects for your kids using just an old toothbrush and some wire. I’m quickly reaching the point where I’m (1) running out of strange objects to do funky craft projects with and (2) sharing a lot less of my kid’s life online. Here’s why:
She’s started to have an opinion about it
Throughout my online life, I have often shared anecdotes of things we’ve lived through, phases she’s gone through or hilarious phrases that have popped out of her mouth. But now that she’s teetering between childhood and the teenage years, she’s taken a far more active interest in the things I share with the world. I know that when she asks me what I did today, and I told her I wrote this column, she’ll ask to read it first. And I will let her – why? Because I’m talking about her in it, so it’s most definitely her right to vet or veto what I’ve shared.
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When I snap a picture of her, she’ll deem it “Facebookable” or not, and I know I must ask before clicking that share button. It’s only fair, and it’s only right. In just the same way, expect her to ask me whether or not she can share that selfie we just snapped. It’s reciprocity and mutual respect – something I’ll endorse seven times a day if I have to.
I noticed people around me not having boundaries
The idea that we might be sharing too much of our kids’ lives online hit me square in the face a while ago. I had a friend who updated their status to include an incredibly detailed account of the content of their kid’s nappies. Similarly, I saw another person sharing quite intimate details about how a family fight had gone down, and how their child had responded to it (read: it wasn't great). I think we forget sometimes that we’re sharing the lives of someone else when we share our kids’ stories online and, at some point, they should be given the ability to decide what’s shared and what isn’t. When I read the Facebook status updates of some people in my newsfeed, I have to ask the question: “Would your kid be happy knowing that you shared that?” They might just read it one day – that’s something to think about.
A big event, that I didn't share
When our little babies are growing up, we share those developmental milestones with extreme pride. When our kids are older though, that sharing (if necessary) needs to happen offline. My daughter reached a significant life milestone a while back. Part of me so desperately wanted to share it, as a symbolic representation of the pride I felt towards her, and the joy I wanted to express. But, that milestone is hers. It’s not mine, and it most definitely does not belong to anyone on the Internet. So I didn't. It felt weird not to, because I know that there are parents (heck, EVERY PARENT WILL GO THROUGH THIS MOMENT) out there who will tussle with it, but, to share it would've been invited commentary, and that’s not something she needed to celebrate this moment with.
A crossed boundary
When we share something of our kids’ lives, I think we forget that we are opening them up to being measured on an almost adult scale. What do I mean? I’ll tell you by example: Mom X shares a picture of her kid en route to a party. Someone else commented “She looks very sexy” and I nearly wanted to vomit up my lunch. Worst part? Mom X agreed and said: “yes, very sexy!” The child is currently attending…primary school. Please think about that for a second, and I’m sure you’ll understand why I’m still choking back my sandwich.
There comes a time when she’ll take over
No, she’s not old enough to have her own Facebook account or the like but, the day she’ll ask to sign up is coming soon. And on that day, she takes over the management of her online life, with assistance from me. They will be her stories to tell, and not just my maternal-pride-infused moments to share.
Do you censor what you share about your kids online?
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