When I had our daughter five years ago, we got the one and only picture we were planning to have on Facebook up mere minutes before excited friends and family were posing, holding our new bundle of joy and snapping photos of her sweet face. When we told everyone we weren’t putting pictures of her on Facebook the strange looks ensued. We wanted the world to know she had arrived, but that was it. The rest of her social media life was going to be up to her.
As a pretty private person myself, I never really share much on “the book,” as my husband sarcastically calls it, so I assumed the unspoken rule of ‘ask before you post pictures of my kids’ would be obvious. My how I was mistaken.
Countless photos are taken of my kids at family gatherings, on play dates, and at birthday parties. I love that those memories of their childhood are being captured. Sometimes though, photos are taken of them at festivals or the farmers market when we are hanging out as a family, which means someone else is violating both our time and our space together. Just because my kids are on public property doesn’t make their faces public property, which has been politely explained to more than one photographer.
Why we’re not putting our children’s faces on social media
- Social media is permanent. You’ve heard more than one person say, don’t post “stupid” pictures online because they will come back to haunt you. Those cute little “insert things mom’s think are cute, but a middle schooler may not” are also there FOR-EV-ER!
- My kids self-identity should be what they choose for it to be, not what I do. As their parents, my husband and I don’t feel like our view of who we hope they become should be what is presented to the world. Rather, we are raising them to be good people and they should get to write their own story one day.
- Sadly, there are creeps out there. Enough said.
While I certainly don’t judge anyone else’s choices, I often wonder what our children’s generation will think as they enter into their own adolescence. Will they enjoy having their life chronicled for all to see, will they find a harmless photo so embarrassing that they will hate their own parents for posting it, or will my kids be the ones who are always asked, “Hey, did your parents not love you because you are the only kid in this whole school who doesn’t have like a million photos online?” I hope their response is this, “My parents wanted to let me have my own voice, one where I get to decide how the world sees me.”
So, it’s simple. We ask that you give us the opportunity to shape our children the way we want to, which means giving us the space offline to do so. The time we spend instilling in our children confidence and grace means that one day when you have the opportunity to meet them in person or on social media they will be even better people than you imagined.