By Zunammie Keren
Arguably being a parent is the most important job any individual can ever dare to take. It is ironic that there are no prerequisites, formal training required, nor experience preferred before charting this very multi-layered journey called parenthood. Consequently as many parents as there are, there almost are as many methods of parenting.
The Internet offers a myriad of opportunities to enhance parenting skills, but it can equally confound the process. Social media is now fully embedded in our lives and sharing any and everything by this means is the norm. But are some things, like the images of our children sacred and off limits? As parents when and how much do we share or not share? If we share, who decides what is too much?
How many of us now in the digital age of photography have taken pictures and instantly deleted them because they made you look fat, or eyes too ‘squinty’? Consider then the child’s point of view. Could he or she have the same feelings of embarrassment but is denied the choice to have or not have his image published.
Parents generally come from a place of love for their children, belief in community and bonding with extended families. Pride in their children make it natural to share. Sharing photos is not new. However, suppose that child objected to his or her photo being shared? What if that child hated the pictures? What are the rights of this child?
When my first son was only a baby, I took a photo of him in the tub and proudly posted it on Facebook for all to see. I thought the photo was beautiful. It did not occur to me that this might be sharing too much as there are unsavory characters trolling the Internet who could misuse such photos in ways that would not be pleasing to any parent.
Also, we often forget that children have their own thoughts and preferences.An astonishing statistic revealed that by the age of 5, a child could have over 1000 photos posted by his parent. The popular feeling of these parents is that posting strengthening bonds. Respect and good taste are the hallmarks of their diligent posting of their children’s images. The responsibility of being a parent is to lead by example. The opportunity here for a parent to demonstrate best practice in parenting, to guide and instruct a child in the care and consideration when posting justifies the position taken by those who are pro sharing.
On the other side of the discussion, some parents are resolute that the risks outweigh the benefits. Those against posting say the Internet is a risky and unpredictable platform. The possibility that unforeseen factors could possibly put a child in danger, expose him or her to unsavory personalities and maybe just be embarrassing for the child later in life are their strongest arguments in this debate. For them keeping photos off the Internet upholds the old adage, “it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
The wise and prudent parent must ask:
- How can I guarantee these photos will only be seen by my target audience?
- Would I mind any ‘others’ seeing this?
- Could this possibly affect my child adversely in the future?
We all are familiar with the term ”going viral.” Sharing anything on the social media has this potential. Any posting can be viewed any time of years to come. Is this something that a parent or child would want?
Children are constantly bombarded by so many mixed messages socially and culturally.
Navigating the Internet safely is challenging. Those against over-sharing warn that with this technology it is more likely than not that unforeseen incidents could occur, causing unwanted outcomes.
This debate will continue.
What side are you on?
Taken from the December issue of Geek Parenting, out now!