A recent Slate article created a bit of a stir when the
author essentially admonished parents for doing that thing so many parents do:
share pictures of their children on the Internet. The author was clearly on
the extreme end of this argument, describing a few other unorthodox methods she
was using in order to “protect” her daughter’s online identity, but essentially
she was claiming those photos of your kids in their recent Halloween costumes
or the ones of them coloring eggs at grandma’s house could haunt them into
I might still have
a headache from the hard eye-roll this assertion produced on my end.
I am a photo sharer, possibly to the extreme. I was like
this even before my daughter was born, but it has gotten worse since
her arrival. I have always loved pictures. When I was growing up, I created
photo wallpaper in my room—floor to ceiling coverage with pictures I had
taken over the years. My first apartment was decorated with poster boards I had
littered with photo collages. And as soon as social media became a “thing,” there was no escaping the images I proudly captured with my camera.
As I already said, having a child has only made this worse.
She is the epitome of perfection as far as I am concerned, and I sometimes
struggle so completely with choosing which pictures of her to share that I
wind up uploading 10 that look almost exactly the same.
I’m convinced my friends and family are eternally grateful
for the ways in which I clog up their news feeds.
I have a greater comfort level with oversharing than a lot of other people.
Call me crazy, but I just don’t think that picture I uploaded
of my daughter trying to crawl is going to come back to haunt her in 20 years.
In fact, given the number of photos I take (and the number of photos millions
of other parents are constantly putting online as well) there is a strong
possibility she will never even see it, let alone be haunted by it.
Don’t get me wrong, I have my boundaries. I cringe when I
see naked babies online, and fiercely protect my daughter’s tush from the Internet—no matter how cute I may find it to be. My personal Facebook is as
locked down on privacy as you can get, and I carefully choose the photos I
share elsewhere. But I have a blog. Public pages. I have a “persona,” so to
speak, and I don’t hide my daughter from that world. There are things I will
never talk about, and facets of her life that I will never share, but the
adorable picture of her smiling ear-to-ear in my arms on adoption day? You'd better believe I was sharing that image with the world.
To each their own. I would never question a parent who draws
different lines than I do, and I recognize that, in general, I have a greater
comfort level with over-sharing than a lot of other people. As my daughter ages,
I have no doubt I will become more and more protective of not only her image,
but also her story. I’ve thought about it since the day she was born, and
realize that my penchant for opening up to the world should not automatically
extend to her.
But right now, when we’re just talking about the pictures of
her first tooth or the athletic feat of her sitting on her own for the first
time? I don’t see the big deal. These pictures aren’t going to haunt her, and
in reality, they probably won’t ever even find her.
If they do, though? All she’s going to walk away knowing is
that she was one adorable baby.
And I was, and will forever continue to be, one proud mommy.