Mary Claire Wilson:
Try to remember that picture of you and your cousin from when you were 3-years-old— clad in the infamous tankini, parading around the front yard like it was a stage, soap bubbles smeared all over your bodies. And that other one from your first birthday: sitting sans top in a highchair with birthday cake coating your skin like sun tan lotion, you wear a crooked grimace, revealing no teeth. My childhood was characterized by many pictures similar to the ones I just described. Thankfully, my mother plastered these pictures all over the house rather than on social media.
These days, with sites like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter being such prominent parts of our daily lives and so easy to access from any piece of technology, our parents, and many parents of young children, are posting pictures of their babies and toddlers all over social media sites. Not a good idea.
Social media presents an initial security risk, whether parents are posting pictures of their children or pictures of anything else. The internet is full of many different kinds of people. While there are some private settings on social media sites like Instagram and Twitter, almost everyone has access to everything that is posted on the internet. Who wants someone they do not know to have a picture of them as a baby at the click of a button? These strangers are able to invade your privacy. A recent study on biostory.ap.org, a news website specializing in in-depth coverage of breaking news stories, found that many new parents are electing to keep pictures of their tots off the internet for these very safety reasons, a method also called “baby blackout.”
And who knows where the photos could end up years later. What happens if your friends find the picture years later and it is displayed across Instagram as a #tbt? Social media archives anything that you post, unless you delete it. And truly, once you post something online it never gets deleted. If these photos fall into the wrong hands, nothing but sheer embarrassment will come from it.
Stick to your social media sites for Ice Bucket challenges and pictures of your pet, but leave young children off of it!
When we scroll through our facebook feeds, we often come across baby and toddler pics, posted by the parents of our friends. In recent years, social media has been a nesting ground for good, bad, love, hate, happiness, tears and everything in between. In many ways Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, SnapChat and Tumblr have been abused and are prominent sources of bullying and harm. It is truly shocking how 140 characters have the potential to tear down a person. On the other hand, social media can be utilized to raise money and awareness and even spread smiles. Our digital world has become a large part of our lives, so why not use it for the better? Even though posts from the parents of our friends of their little brother or baby sister can be pesky, it’s the little things shared on social media, compliments and inspirational quotes or even baby pictures that have the ability to make someone’s day.
New parents pay enormous amounts of attention to their baby—feeding them, responding to their crying, and more. So when they do get some peace and get to spend time with their kids and decide to snap a smiling picture of them, it’s kind of their way of saying, “oh this parenting thing isn’t so bad.” It’s a self-confidence booster—knowing that they have done something right. In some ways, it is like celebrating a victory. One of our first instincts of receiving good news is sharing it, especially on social media.
In our WiFi-crazed times, we are constantly checking social media, thus making it an easy path to staying connected with both friends and family. Social media is a simple and effective outlet for family members to keep up with the progress of the child. For example, it is quite easy to take a picture of a one-year-old taking her first steps. Social media serves as a precise picture diary of an infant’s developmental progress that parents and family can look back on for years to come—one that can be accessed from work, from the grocery store, virtually anywhere at any time.
At the end of the day, it is harmless to post a baby or toddler picture. It’s even beneficial in many ways. And let’s be real… who doesn’t love a picture of a smiling baby in the midst of random complaint posts and ALS ice bucket challenges? After all, a picture really is worth a thousand words and one that may just make your day that much better.