My family recently joined Costco. I know, I know. We’re a little late jumping on that bandwagon. On a recent shopping trip, both kids were pretty good in the store so we stopped to have a cheap, satisfying pizza dinner before we left. We sat at one of the tables in full view of Costco customers checking out and making their way to the door with their bulk of treasures. Because our city is really just a small town, of the few times we’ve been in that store, 100% of the visits we’ve run into someone we know. One of my husband’s parent’s friends stopped by to say hello. After my husband and I exchanged niceties with her, she then directed her full attention to my daughter (six years old), addressed her by name and said, “I just love watching you grow up on Facebook!” She showered her with other completely innocent, sincere compliments, smiled and left. My daughter was noticeably uncomfortable. She didn’t know this woman. I don’t think she’d ever seen the woman before. Pretty articulate for a six year-old, my daughter was able to voice what bothered her about the conversation. It was an invasion of her privacy.
This nice woman was a friend of her grandparents. Proud grandparents share photos of their beautiful grandchildren with their friends … on Facebook. Almost everyone shares. These babies we have become less ours each day. They become themselves – but people that have lived almost their entire lives online through the eyes of their parents, their grandparents, and proud friends – without knowing it, without their consent.
I’m a proud parent. I *love* taking pictures of my children, documenting our every day, acting as our little family’s historian in a way that was never this convenient when I was growing up. I can keep up with family that isn’t so near and friends that would have sadly otherwise lost touch. I PARTICIPATE. But I want to do it in a way that will not cause any harm, however slight.
After a discussion with our daughter about what can become of a picture of her on Facebook, she asked us not to put any more pictures of her up on the medium – except with her permission. So, we’ll abide by that. This goes for the grandparents, too. (That conversation was a little uncomfortable.)
This line is tricky – the line that separates your child from “your baby” and “the other person in your house” – and it seems that you don’t find it until you trip over it. (Or maybe that’s just me.) There are so many other facets to this discussion – because it’s a BIG discussion. I saw an article written on the Today Parents site titled, Kids worry about parents oversharing on social media, study finds. There’s even mention of France’s strict privacy laws making way for children to sue their parents for oversharing!
What age do YOU think it is appropriate to stop sharing/over-sharing about your children?
Check out some of this info:
Dear Parents, ‘Sharenting’ Is Ruining Your Kids’ Lives
Read This Before Posting Pictures of Your Kids on Facebook
And then, there’s someone having fun with the oversharing: STFU, Parents.