I have a lot of problems with social media, but I’m also a total hypocrite, so I’ll be quiet.
Who am I kidding – of course I won’t be quiet.
I follow a lady on Facebook with children. Both the boy and girl are under age 15, so neither are involved with Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or anything of that nature…to their knowledge.
You see, she’s the type of mother you don’t see often who is a little old fashioned but knows how to be a smart parent; for her kids there’s no watching TV all day, attendance at school and extracurricular activities are a must, it’s OK to want to look good but vanity is wrong – that sort of thing.
I reiterate; she’s a smart woman and I respect her a lot.
But how do I know these things about a woman I only had a handful of conversations with in person? And perhaps the more important question is, how do I know these things about her children?
Because she broadcasts it all over her Facebook.
Her son accidentally discovered porn and was subsequently banned from the computer. Her daughter wants to go to camp this summer but it conflicts with a sporting event that’s equally as important (what to do?!). I know this stuff about two children I’ve never met and probably never will.
People don’t seem to realize that they’re creating online profiles of their children as they do this, and their children have absolutely no say in it. I have friends with entire Facebook photo albums of their babies, and nobody seems to stop and think, “What will my baby think of this when they’re in high school?”
Maybe Facebook and Twitter won’t be important by then, but these online profiles will continue to exist no matter what the medium is. How would you like it if the photos of you in all your naked, crying, glory at age two were plastered all over the internet by someone you loved and trusted?
I’m guessing that most people wouldn’t appreciate it.
And believe it or not, those pooping, crying, flailing lumps of human you made a few months ago are going to grow up and not appreciate it either. Unless you’re Beyonce and you have a team of PR people already working on branding your child so that they can grow up to be successful, back away from the status update.
But as I said before, I’m going to get called a hypocrite because I’ve put things on the Internet that are admittedly inappropriate.
But I will follow that up with this: I did it. I, of sound mind and free will, did it. I will accept the consequences because I did it and am old enough to know better.
On the other hand, these kids with entire Facebook profiles had no say in anything. If their parents are idiots, they’re the ones who are going to pay the price later.
I’m totally fine with posting the occasional picture of your kid, but to create an entire online persona just isn’t fair to the adult they’ll grow up to be.
Give them a chance to get to middle school and mess up their online identity themselves.