Honoring Children in Social Media

Our lives have become incredibly transparent. And as parents, we often stay in touch with family through social media. No longer does the distant Grandma have to exclaim: “Look how big you’ve gotten, Oh My!”

She’s watched you grow, daily or weekly in Facebook. She’s seen the videos in YouTube.  That moment you went in the Potty, the violin recital, the fit you had about the Halloween candy. Grandma was there.  And so was your next door neighbor and your school secretary and your best friend’s Mom. You see where this is going, right?

I’m not here to judge. I Do it Too. Even when the topic is questionably something my son might not want discussed online. But I need to ask, you need to ask, “Are we honoring our children online?” Everything we say is being archived.  So how will your teenager feel when he finds that picture of his younger self bent over the toilet with the flu? Because it will come up in Google archived images when someone types his name.

I don’t ask this enough, but I decided I better start.  My son asked yesterday, seriously, “Do you own me?”  And I said, “Of course not! I’m just your life tour guide and consultant.” He countered, “But you HAD me and tell me what to do and you feed me and stuff.”

The chat went on, but it was hard to distinguish a young child’s independence from my own will.  And that got me thinking, do I own his stories?  Do I own his images? Do I own his, Brand, for lack of a decent word, in social media?

No.  No, I don’t. So where do you think the line is in sharing your children’s lives in social media?  Is there an age cut off?  Forbidden topics? Is it a matter of privacy settings or a deeper guideline of privacy or discretion? I don’t anticipate not sharing photos of my son online anymore, but . . . I don’t know the answer. Do you?

Submit a comment