Before my daughter was born, my husband and I made the contentious decision to never post a photo or video of her online nor share any specific information that could be used to personally identify her. We do occasionally share brief stories or memorable moments with her on our Facebook pages (which have been set to ‘private’) for our family and friends who are not able to see her on a regular basis. But we always try to be as discreet – and, oftentimes, vague – as possible in order to provide our daughter with some sense of confidentiality and anonymity.
Many people have asked my husband and I why we do not post photos of our child online or why we try to limit the amount of (personal) information we share regarding her. Often times, people have a difficult time understanding our rationale. We have even been met with some resistance, even after explaining our reasoning. Although most of our friends and family members have been respectful of our requests for them not to post photos/videos of our daughter online to any of their social media (or other Internet) sites, it has saddened us to see how some individuals have blatantly gone against our wishes and posted material anyways.
Our reasoning is that we do not want our daughter’s life to become public knowledge where anyone in the world – particularly strangers – can have access to her through photos or videos, viewing the various locations she has visited or resided, or reading intimate details of her life (i.e. the activities she enjoys, who her friends are, what foods she does or does not prefer, etc.). We are uncomfortable with the reality that the rise of the Internet has allowed such easy access to any particular individual’s life in which a lack of propriety often times prevails.
Slate Magazine published an article in September 2013 that does a wonderful job explaining (in a nutshell) why parents such as my husband and I are choosing to keep our children’s lives private. The article, entitled “We Post Nothing About Our Daughter Online: Nothing. It’s the only way to defend her against facial recognition, Facebook profiling, and corporate data mining“, discusses how modern day social media – among other Internet sites – are preventing future generations “any hope of future anonymity”. By sharing our children’s lives through digital content, we are providing the world with personally identifying information that can be accessed at any point in time, anywhere in the world. It is up to our children – when they have grown up and matured – to make the decision of what personal information they would like to share and with whom. The over-arching theme of the article is a call to parents to protect their children in a world saturated in and obsessed with over-sharing on global platforms.
The article is a short, fabulous read and I encourage you to read it – regardless of whether or not you agree with what it says,