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First of all, I don’t judge a parent for sharing pictures of their kids on social media.
It’s a personal choice and ultimately, it’s what works for their family.
I don’t know how many photos and videos I have of my kids but I know there are a lot. Like other parents, everything our kid does, it’s like freaking Christmas.
Holy crap, she burped.
OMG, she’s got a snot bubble.
Awww, she’s falling asleep while eating.
Wow, she rolled over.
Gotta catch em’ all!
It’s hard not to share the excitement with the rest of the world. I mean, we all think our baby is the cutest baby and everyone should see how adorable they are.
I was on the fence about posting pictures because I mean if celebrities do it, it should be fine right? But then if I always made decisions based on what a celebrity would do, I probably wouldn’t be where I am.
So I sat on the fence for a little while, thinking about my own journey with social media.
FYI: I’m a millennial who started playing on the Internet at the public library when I was barely 10, looking up knock knock jokes on Yahoo (oh the good old days).
I put my first photo of myself on the Internet when I was about 13 years old. I had an Asian Avenue account and really wanted to put this profile picture up.
In the picture, I’m wearing a shimmery purple tube dress, holding a daisy. When it got developed, I was like, “Damn, I look good. That’s the picture. The people in my Asian Avenue community need to see this.”
My parents didn’t have a scanner at home so I used the one at my high school. I remember saving it onto a 3 1/2 inch floppy so I could take it home and upload it to my page. Yes, I could have just loaded it at school but I thought I’d get in trouble for using the school’s Internet for “personal use”.
And when people saw my face, the couple of comments I got were such a confidence booster. Oh, how fragile a 13 year’s self-esteem is.
A few years later, my parents bought a scanner and basically, all hell broke loose, scanning pictures left, right and centre all throughout the rest of high school.
In University, I got a digital camera and Friendster (the social media platform before Facebook) came along. I never used Xanga or MySpace. Then, of course, getting a smartphone changed everything.
And I have to admit, I have a history of this self-obsessed behaviour, taking selfies in the bathroom, flexing mirror selfies at the gym, posing inside the change room at the mall, practicing whenever I had a free moment.
But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that feeling good on the inside gets reflected on the outside because true beauty shines when we are happy, healthy and fulfilled. This partly comes with age as we get more certain of ourselves and start to seek intrinsic more than extrinsic validation.
Don’t get me wrong, I still post a selfie here and to make sure my readers know I’m an actual human being with wrinkles, flesh and blood. However, it doesn’t define me. The comments and likes are nice but what really makes me feel good is knowing my self-worth behind the screen.
So long story short, social media isn’t going away any time soon and my kids will inevitably be exposed to it. If I can do something to prevent that vanity gene from kicking in early for them, I’m gonna do it.
When I gave birth, it wasn’t one of those “love at first sight” moments with my daughter. Yes, she had been living inside me for the past 9 months and over time, I got to know her as a fetus, preferring to kick, turn and somersault right before I went to bed.
But when she was in my arms, it was like meeting someone for the first time. Since that day, I’ve been slowly getting to know her, what her personality is, what her values are, her sense of humour, her likes and dislikes. I know I have a role in influencing and teaching her but she’s also on a self-discovery journey to figure out who she is and where she stands in this world.
When she grows up, she will always be a part of me, an extension of who I am but I do not own her identity, the one in the real world nor the one in the virtual world.
So once she’s mature enough to understand what social media is, its risks, benefits and the responsibility it requires, I’m going to empower her to decide for herself if and how much to partake.
Paranoia (Sci-Fi but not really)
OK, so I’m usually the one saying the future is gonna be great. Artificial Intelligence is a good thing. Machines will not take over the world; instead, they’ll help us become a better species, possibly attracting the attention of those stealthy extraterrestrials to cross learn from us. I’m all for that.
Black Mirror will happen but not in that twisted way. The technology will be there but I’m giving humanity the benefit of the doubt, putting faith in our moral compasses to lead us to more of a Gray Mirror.
However, I don’t know what I don’t know and I can’t control what’s going to happen. Privacy breaches, identity theft, digital kidnapping, Photoshop abuse, child predators…etc
So to be on the safe side, I’d prefer to keep my kids’ faces in the dark as long as possible. I know it’ll eventually get out but at least if the world does come crashing à la Judgement Day, she won’t blame me for putting her in the system involuntarily.
Even though I made this decision, I’d love to know your story.
When did you first put yourself online? Do you have kids? Do you have pictures of them on social media? How did you make that decision? Comment below.
This post was previously published on A Parent Is Born.
Photo credit: Unsplash.com