I think we can all agree that it’s a little weird that we often watch strangers children grow up via the internet. I’m telling you, there are a few ladies out there who I’ve never met and I’m weirdly attached to their children. I saw pictures of them the day they were born and I’ve watched them grow right before my…screen. I’m invested in all of their little milestones and I’m shocked right along with their mamas when they head to pre-school (cue “they grow up too fast!”). It’s a beautiful and strange thing.
I’ve followed Moms with all different takes on what to share – from full disclosure of all the details along with tons of photos to using nicknames for their kiddohs or not sharing photos at all. There is certainly a range of what parents feel is okay to share.
Our children live in a different world than the one we grew up in. Someday it might be completely normal for their boss to look up their name via hashtag and find photos all the way back to birth. Our children will have the ability to know what they looked like nearly every day of their entire lives. I know I have at least one photo of Ben for every day since his birth. I can’t begin to fathom what will be their normal.
When I was pregnant, N and I talked extensively about how we wanted our children pictured and portrayed on the internet. I use Instagram primarily with strangers. Facebook primarily (though rarely) with family and old friends. Snapchat with current close friends. And this blog with whoever is reading (hi there!). My filters are different for each of these mediums. I use them with entirely different intentions. Truth be told, I’m much more self-conscious using the mediums with people I know in real life.
After much discussion, N and I came up with this question regarding how our children are portrayed on the internet:
If I was the person being discussed or pictured, would I be okay with it?
If the answer is no, we won’t be putting it out there.
Since I do not talk about my own bathroom habits on the internet, I will not talk about my child’s. You will not find posts on potty training because it’s just not something I feel comfortable with. Because I wouldn’t want a photo of me all hooked up to monitors and machines, hospitalized and covered in cords, I did not share those photos of Ben. I wouldn’t want a naked photo of myself on the internet so you won’t find any naked baby photos here or anywhere.
The thing is, I appreciate when other Moms share their experiences. I’ve learned so much from other Moms. I’m not knocking sharing! But when I really think about how I’d feel if anyone could easily find out about that time I peed my pants (even if I was only 4 at the time), I’d be embarrassed. Maybe Ben wouldn’t be. Maybe he’ll be wild and carefree and maybe he’d think it was funny. But if he’s sweet and sensitive and one day in middle school someone finds something embarrassing about him on the internet, well I think the guilt would overwhelm me. And since I can’t currently ask him how he’d feel about it, we have to default to how we would feel. I guess there’s an upside to me embarrassing easily – I’ll always be a little more conservative about how I share him.
So yeah, that’s our general rule about what we put on the internet about our child. I hope it makes sense. It’s what we as a family feel comfortable with. Whatever you and your family decided you’re comfortable with, that’s a-okay too.
For now, I love talking about motherhood and my plan is to share motherhood and our experiences with Ben from my perspective (which I’ve done so far with our birth story, my post about NICU life, and the one about life with a preemie) with occasional (non-embarrassing) details thrown in.
What are your feelings or family rules about sharing on the internet?