“These days if it’s not on Instagram, it’s almost as if it never happened”
(Every Day with Rachel Ray Mag, Nov. 2013, 38)
The moment I came across this quote I had an epiphany, this is what I have been doing on FB! I knew I was a little out of control, especially when my husband suggested we make a rule about when we can check our phones. I would post every single event in my children’s lives. Why? Because if I didn’t then other people would never know it happened! I decided right then I needed to stop my constant posting and start keeping my children out of this new social media world we know so little about.
In the middle of the zoo I would stop and take a picture and then immediately post it on Facebook along with my little blurb “having fun at the zoo!” oh, and don’t forget to add the check-in!!! Everyday I loved going through the newsfeed to see what everyone is up to– what they did this weekend, how cute their football team outfits are… You might say I was obsessive. I loved staying in touch with friends near and far. I was connected all the time– checking FB at the table, while the kids were playing, I couldn’t miss something! I was posting the memories we were creating, right?!?
I decided to make a change, and of course I can never make a small change I have to make a statement when I do something (usually not on purpose).Oh, boy. I had no idea what I started.
I decided to make my Facebook page about only me so I deleted and untagged all the pictures of my children. And then I did the worst thing you can do in social media: I announced my change in my status. What started as controlling the amount of time I spent on social media turned into a debate of it’s own. I had a friend ask me if I thought FB friends were going to try to “steal my children” and many asking “what happened?” I didn’t have anything to really say… Well, at least not in a thread in FB.
As my sister mentioned in her previous post about Tagging Photos on Facebook, we are the first generation to raise our children in the social media society, and we have no idea what the consequences will be for our children in 10 or 20 years. Wasn’t it embarrassing enough when your parents pulled out the baby book to show your boyfriend or girlfriend? Now, a child’s life is literally cataloged through their parents’ social media. Is there anything wrong with that?
Probably not, but I like to lean on the side on caution, and as my sister also brought to attention, celebrities go through great lengths to keep their children OUT of the media, is social media really any different? Do we really know where all these images might end up? Do we know how any of them might affect them in the future? Right now you can type someone’s name in a google search and find out a little too much information. What if in the future all those “Facebook owned” images end up being linked into a search based on your child’s name?But it’s not black and white.
It’s not just you do or don’t have pictures of your children online. When I decided to take all my pictures down I was still a little (or a lot) obsessed with posting pictures and adding my blurbs about my life and theirs. It’s fun and addicting! So, a few days later I posted a picture of my son’s soccer game from a far and only his back facing me. In my mind I wasn’t showing his face so it was OK. GRAY.
Within minutes I not only had comments but I even had someone #hashtag the comment because of the larger debate ensuing about this very issue. Should we post pictures, if so, with or without their faces, is it OK? What about from afar? It is confusing. I want to share my life but my life is obviously very intertwined with my children. Where do I stand on the issue? I still don’t really know. All I know is that I want to protect them from the unknown. I feel that they are not choosing to be on social media so I shouldn’t already give them a presence. But it gets even GRAYER…
Now, do I ask my friends to stop posting pictures of my children too? What if they’re in a group photo? I chose to turn on the little Review Tag button and just hope that’s good enough. I mean how could I ask my friends not to post that picture of their child’s birthday party since my child is in it?!? Do I go even further and not let them “in” photos??? The line is ever moving and changing and I can only hope that if I control what I personally post of my children I am doing enough. I’ve even thought about not being on social media :-0 I have friends that aren’t and they’re alive… But I’m too obsessed still. That just seems crazy, I love that I can reach out to a large group of people for advice, even if it’s just baking. I love seeing what my high school friends are up to in their 30’s, when before I’d have to wait until our reunion!How do you feel about this very gray issue?
Are you black and white?
Do you live in full blown color?
Or do you realize there is a whole lot of gray that you fall in to?