Oh no! Here is Kevin with a provocative article that could create some dividing lines! Let me first start off by saying that at the time of this writing I have no children, however, an increasing number of people that I know do. My Facebook feed is cluttered with pictures of new parents and their very young kids. I ask the question, is this OK?
Why am I asking this question? I regularly see personal pictures of people’s kids on Facebook (friends of mine, and shares from people I don’t even know) as well as some other information like where they go to school, what time their karate class is, etc.
A person I know was recently complaining to me about how upset he is about the amount of information that is available on Google and Facebook about everyone, and that “it is a shame” that we live in a world like this! He went on and on about how evil Google is, and how terrible the loss of privacy is. This was coming from a person that shares every detail about his life on social media moment to moment. Eventually I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I started thinking that he has 100% control over what he shares about himself, yet he is still upset about the long term storage of the information he is voluntarily posting. Then I thought: his children have absolutely no say in what their father posts about them on social media. How is that fair? If he wanted to stop sharing, he could. If his children don’t want their baby bathing videos posted online they aren’t able to do anything about it. I finally asked “if you care so much about privacy then why do you share so much about your children on Facebook?” I got an attitude in return like I just insulted his momma, including the classic response “Well, you don’t even have kids, so you have no opinion about this.”
What’s the big deal in asking a benign question? If you are concerned about too much personal information available about you online, then why do you share so much? It is literally a self-inflicted wound. This person is upset that everyone can know about him, but for some reason has no issue with people knowing about his children going back to the day they were born.
When it comes to posting pictures and personal information about your kids on social media, is it a moral thing to do? Obviously the kids are not of age to understand what you are doing; therefore it is done without their full consent. Parents are violating their kid’s privacy without them knowing what is going on! Is that fair to do?
I know that my parents have poppie diaper pictures of me from when I was a baby, but they were not plastered on the Internet for anyone to share with their “friends” and who knows who else. They were kept in a family photo album where no one could access it except for family members on holiday visits, and the photo album was even protected with a lock and key.
There are without a doubt going to be pictures that a parent posts on social media that will end up being an embarrassment to their child at some point (especially in their teenage years), and the sad thing is it has probably had a decade or more to circulate around the Internet, which is way too late to keep it out of the hands of future employers, bullies, potential boy/girl friends, etc.
I know that parents and grandparents are proud of their kids, but I think it is important that they try and think about the long term impact of sharing personal info, images, and videos of their small children on social media. The simple answer is that we probably don’t really know, but think about what you could be potentially doing to jeopardize your innocent child’s privacy, safety, and emotions. If I am being honest with myself, I can definitely see a line that can be drawn between fairly innocent pictures (like the baby being held in mommy’s arms for the first time at the hospital) and personal pictures.
I think that most people would agree that taking money from their kids’ college fund to buy some personal happiness today is wrong. It is obvious, because you are taking money that you set aside specifically for your kid before they are capable of consenting. So why is taking privacy (without their ability to consent) from your kids to satisfy your personal pride and happiness today perfectly fine?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Tell me that I am wrong, or whatever. I can take it! I definitely don’t intend to “call out” all the parents who post a lot about their children on social media. This is just a humble opinion coming from a guy who has no children, so take it for what it’s worth.
If you do decide to rip into me, please resist the urge to say “You don’t have kids, Kevin, so you don’t understand!” I don’t think that Stephen Hawking has been to a black hole before, but I still believe he should have his opinions nonetheless.