I have Facebook friends who post a new cluster of pictures of their child at least twice a week. I also have Facebook friends who very rarely post photos of their child. I recently read an article about a couple who decided to leave their child off of the internet, but make a Facebook, email account, Instagram, and Twitter using their name. I’ve been thinking a little about what degree of presence my kid will have on social media.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s fun to look at pictures of my friend’s kids. Some are hilarious! Some are so precious. Truthfully though, if I saw them and their child in a store, I would probably recognize their child before I would recognize them. Simply because the child’s most recent photo is their profile and page cover photo. They rarely post their own photos, but opt for one’s of their little ones to fill their timeline instead. I think it’s great that they love their children and want to show them off, but I’m not sure if that’s a route I’d like to go.
I’m not personally a fan of excessive posting
Say I were to name my child Jane Doe. Providing that Facebook is still around, when she is 13 I allow her to get a Facebook account. How would she feel when she added me if she found over 100 albums of “Jane’s pics?” Every moment, no matter how large or small, were documented for all of my Facebook friends to see. The awkward moments were there, along with the embarrassing ones. As a 13 year old, I would have died if I were introduced to an online collection of my life in photos. The only thing that would make that situation worse would be to know that it was posted for so many to see. I had several periods of my life that I feel I looked awkward. As a mildly insecure 13 year old, there is no way I would have wanted any of those photos to be seen. Teens and parents have enough relationship issues, why complicate it by throwing a massive social media scrapbook into the mix?
There is the possibility that my child will be upset that their entire life was not published online for the world to see. In that event, I plan to hand her a flash drive or CD (or perhaps and external hard drive?) full of those pics, and let her go to town posting it on her own Facebook, or mine I guess, if she wanted to.
Now, let’s pretend that a little while after Jane is born, I get pregnant again with Joey Junior (I would never name my kid Junior, btw). My hands are so full with Jane that I don’t get around to uploading nearly as many photos of Junior as I did with Jane. Junior might not be very happy when he found out he only had 30 albums of “Junior’s Pics,” compared to Jane’s 100. Perhaps as a boy he wouldn’t care. Perhaps as a boy he would. Perhaps he wouldn’t be a boy at all…
Then there’s always the possibility that someone could hack into my account or a friends account, find out what school my child went to, then by facial recognition alone call them by their name. They could pull the whole, “Jane, your mommy sent me to pick you up…” Or I suppose if they saw us in a store and I turned around for a minute… You get the point. I don’t want my child to be recognizable to strangers online. Is it just me, or is that a little creepy: Many people know a ton about Jane, but Jane doesn’t know any of them.
I suppose the easiest fix would be to only have close friends and family on Facebook. But honestly, I want more than that. I like keeping up with others, and I like reading articles they post. I like having a lot of Facebook friends (except during election time!).
I don’t like the avoidance of posting either
I’ll just go ahead and start this section with the couple who opted to make their child her own online presence before birth. They made all of the accounts private, but logged into them to keep them active. All of the social media accounts were linked to the email account. They made a binder with the account information and passwords so that she could log in when she reached the appropriate age. I’m blindly assuming that the email address they chose was similar to firstname.lastname@example.org , where the address was the first initial and last name. It could have been whole name too, I suppose: email@example.com. To me, that’s kind of silly. As a 13 year old, she might possibly want something more fun (like firstname.lastname@example.org )until she was older and actually needed a professional-sounding email account, idk, just a thought. That couple seemed a bit over the top to me. They actually Googled the baby’s name to make sure that it did not already belong to someone they wouldn’t want their child to be confused for. Maybe I’m wrong, but usually people are over 20 by the time they get a record online (yes, some are younger, I know). That means if they did locate a “bad guy” with their child’s name, the bad guy would be nearly 40 by the time the baby was seeking employment. Kinda hard to confuse a 20 year old and a 40 year old, right? Confession: After reading this, I totally Googled both of my first choice kid’s names. The male is a relative of Joey, so of course the relative popped up. There was nothing for the girl though. My names are pretty unique. Our last name is pretty unique. I’m not saying our kids will be the only ones alive in America with their names, but it could be a possibility. It’s not the goal, though.
Now, if I never posted a picture of Jane, people might wonder if I actually made the child up (lol). After all, I still haven’t posted the first ultrasound. Joey and I do want to occasionally post a pic, maybe a few a year, but not to the point that everyone’s feed is littered with Jane and nothing but Jane. I do not plan to put just Jane as my profile pic (My page is somehow linked thorugh Google, and everyone can see my profile pic.). It’s not Jane’s Facebook, it’s mine. J We also want people to be able to see her pics occasionally, but not necessarily everything she’s ever done, if that makes sense.
What about relatives far away?
We certainly want family members from far away to see her photos! How did people share photos years ago? By actually printing and mailing them! Ok, we’re not really that old school. We’ll probably send them via text. We may even create an online photo album that is not connected to Facebook. Either of those would be good options to keep family updated without having Jane plastered all over social media.
What if others post pics of Jane?
I guess that would be fine. I’d prefer not to be linked back to the pictures though. I want her online presence to be a minimum. I’ve also considered the possibility of posting pictures 3-6 months later, so there is never a current photo online.
My reasoning is just so that she can keep her privacy before she has the opportunity to make decisions for herself. I realize that parents are the ones who make decisions for minor children, but posting excessive photos on social media is not a decision I want to make for her.
Maybe I’m being a bit extreme but it seems like in a few years we’ll see lawsuits pop up between kids and parents. We’ll see the kid suing for invasion of privacy, exploitation, any number of things. Hey, it’s possible!