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I Refuse to Put My Kids on Facebook

Photograph by Getty Images

I remember when it all started. My younger brother was a senior in college, and he proudly showed me all the connections he'd made on this neat little website with a funny name, Facebook. At the time, you were only allowed to link to other students at your own college. (Yeah, I bet kids today don't even know about that. Or that I had to walk 10 miles to school with snow up to my neck.)

I thought the concept was great, but as it was for students only I didn't actually join Facebook until I was almost 30, and pregnant with my first son. Once I figured out all the fun "Like" and "Tag" buttons, I abandoned all interest in actually using my computer to further my writing career and instead found myself "Oohing" and "Aahing" over pictures of my friend's kids.

When I married and miscarried a year later, I posted the miscarriage as a status update. Though it seems like TMI, it was extremely helpful, as I'd been 13 weeks along and had already announced the pregnancy on my page. Facebook allowed me to tell everyone at once, instead of over and over again in person, like peeling off a scab repeatedly.

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So when I had the happy news of a second pregnancy, I posted many, many pictures of my growing belly. I naturally thought my relationship with Facebook would continue swimmingly. It did not, however.

Minutes after my C-section, which left me feeling like I'd just returned from a trip to Mars, my husband glanced down at his phone. Friends and family were starting to ask about the baby’s weight, length, features. "Should I just post his photo on Facebook?" he asked.

I'd rather friends and family formed real-life relationships with my children.

I'd seen this many times before, the picture of a newborn baby posted seconds after his birth. And I'd cried (of course) from the beauty of it. However, in this instance, groggy and in pain, I paused. I looked down at the face of my son, sweet and innocent, in his little plastic tub next to my bed. And I said something that shocked my husband to the core: "I don't think I want to post pictures of our children at all."

The honest answer is, while I still love poring over other people's photos, I'd rather friends and family formed real-life relationships with my children. When friends urge me to post photos of the boys I assume they miss them and instead invite them over to my house, for lunch or a playdate. I know I'm swimming against the current in today's modern age, but a small part of me feels it's unjust to post photos of my sons when they aren't old enough to have any say in the matter.

RELATED: 9 Things I Won't Share About My Kids Online

The natural worrywart in me fears online predators, too, though I know there are guards against that. I'm not 100 percent certain I made the right choice; being a mother of young children can be a lonely business, and Facebook acts the way villages once did, with women posting their struggles (Johnny threw his bowl of peas for the 16th time across the room, I am going to jump out the window!) and happiness (Ava took her first steps today!). A friend's comments act as guidance and assurance. Still, without sounding preachy, it's my personal goal to recreate a mini village outside the computer, with a few kind mothers in my neighborhood willing to "Friend" me for real.

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