Full disclaimer: I’m a glutton for social media. I have been since I started using Facebook my freshman year of college (gasp! 12 years ago!). I am guilty of posting selfies, pictures of my food, many, many pictures of my dog, and the mundane tasks of my life. Each of these areas (and then some) I find utterly interesting and want to share with the rest of the world, because – enter sarcasm – who doesn’t want to know the books I like to read, or the things I like to bake, or the fancy drinks my husband and I like to indulge in during our free time?!
I fully enjoyed sharing my life on social media… until I had a little human.
Prior to my daughter’s birth, my husband and I had a long discussion about the very idea of social media; the open forum where we repeatedly venture to share the mildly intimate details of our life with friends/followers. It became a place where we could clue everyone, near and far, in on the life we have created here. Though as we discussed sharing our baby-to-be with our loved ones, we questioned whether we wanted our baby shared on our social media outlets.
Then I had it, my TA-DA moment, when my Gen – Y self stopped being self-involved for a hot second and thought about the little babe we were about to bring into the world. I began thinking about all of the pictures I would more than likely want to take and the fear of knowing that once those pictures are out there, they are out there f o r e v e r. Our little babe would be blasted into the inter-web, and that inability to give consent over who sees the most intimate part of my life frightened me to my core. While we realized that there are many safety features present within each respective social media platform, it was not enough for either my husband, or me, to trust.
We were then led down the rabbit hole of thoughts related to this conundrum: to share or not to share?
I reflected back on my own use of social media and I began to cringe a bit. I can’t sit here and say that I was so finely tuned into my maturity that the choices I made with social media as a young adult were stellar, by any means. So, as my maturity has grown wiser and more flavorful, like a fine wine, we decided not to allow our hormones to drive us to creating a presence for our babe within the internet before she is truly ready.
Through this process, we began to wonder what happens for kids growing up today in the age of the selfie, the constant comparison that occurs between peers and their self-identified “amazing lives,” cyber-bullying, digital kidnapping, the list goes on… Kids have so many more dangerous hurdles today, that I’m honestly glad I didn’t have when I was a kid. And my mama-bear gut tells me that if I can keep this from happening too soon for my tiny human, than I must.
Social media has gravely shifted everyone’s perception of their own entitlement and it provokes one’s entitlement for knowledge they feel they should be privy to, like seeing photos of your new baby.
I am just as guilty as anyone, but that’s telling isn’t it? Further, this sense of entitlement is amplified by the grandiose sense of self I spoke to having in the very beginning of this post. And believe me, I get it, because for most, having this information has become second nature. While it is not physically harmful in the least, it further perpetuates the broader issues surrounding entitlement, because eventually that line that’s there gets too blurry to see and then it’s only a matter of time before it’s crossed.
And while some may think not allowing our child to be on social media is weird, silly, or disadvantageous, this is the choice my husband and I have made. There will come a day when our daughter will have social media, but it will certainly not be before my husband or I feel she is truly mature enough to understand it’s actual purpose, use it safely, and comprehend the risks.