Friday, 19 December 2014

Mommy Musings: Baby's Online Presence

Social media has changed the way we document our lives. Gone are the dusty photo albums that mostly only represented the big events. Now, it is so easy to upload a picture to the internet instantly for all to see. While it is great to be able to keep track of the every day adorableness of our families, and share images and videos for free with loved ones near and far, there are some guidelines we should stick to when sharing online. The decisions we make with our own photos are a little different from the ones we make with the image of others, children included. Here are some photo sharing don'ts to consider.

DON'T - Upload the entire set of shots from one day or event into a Facebook photo album and call it a day.

The beauty of a digital camera is that you can take unlimited shots of your daughter blowing out her birthday candles without fear of wasting film. You can make sure you get a great shot; eyes open, candles ablaze, dress unstained. However, it is unnecessary and lazy to just create an online album of the party and throw every single blurry, repetitive picture into it. No one wants to scroll through 30 of the exact same image in an album of 300 pictures from one day. Take the time to pick the 5, 10, or 20 shots that best represent the day and share only those pictures. You can keep the others for yourself, but I'd suggest paring down even for your own collection so that you can easily stroll down memory lane without thumb blocks and blurry messes making it feel overwhelming.

DON'T - Post pictures of your child in the bath.

I'm not telling you to not take pictures of your toddler with a bubble beard or your newborn's first bath, I'm just suggesting you don't post these pictures on the internet for all to see. It may be hilarious how your baby wiggles around to scratch his bare bum on the carpet the second his diaper comes off, but if you tape a short video of it, it should be kept for your own memory - offline. The recent celebrity privacy breach is a reminder that nothing we post online is safe, no matter what privacy restrictions you think you're placing on your content. Internet predators aside, you don't want your picture to get turned into an offensive meme that gets around the internet. On top of that, though, it's not really fair to put intimate pictures of your child online when they cannot give consent. Anything you post now is there forever and has the potential to embarrass them when they are old enough to build a social media presence of their own.

DON'T - Feel guilty about the choices you make when sharing pictures of your child(ren).

A friend on my Facebook page shares one bright, happy picture of her baby every day and was accused of misrepresenting the difficulties associated with parenting an infant. That's ridiculous! Why would she want to post a picture of a wailing baby? We all know there are tough times mixed in with the blissful ones. You are curating your own experience online, and you get to choose what you want to represent to your friends and family. This also includes how often you want to post. Don't feel pressure to post more pictures of your child then you are comfortable with just because people are demanding to see them, and equally, don't feel guilty about posting too many pictures. If someone doesn't like seeing images of your life (baby included) they can unsubscribe to your feed, check your Instagram less often, or not click on Twitter photo links. If you are uncomfortable with posting lots of pictures online and you have relatives who live far away, come up with another way for them to see your little one. A monthly photo e-mail newsletter? A Skype visit? Find something that works for you.

DON'T - Be afraid to ask others to respect these guidelines, as well.

People come to meet your baby or celebrate your 5 year old's birthday party and bring along their own cameras to document the festivities. Its perfectly fine for them to take a bunch of shots - your child is adorable after all - but you have every right to limit what they share online when it comes to your child. If you don't want a hundred pictures (or any pictures) online, say so. Friends and family may make different decisions when it comes to their children's online presence, but they will respect your wishes if you make them known.

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