Over exposing my children on the Internet is something I’ve been thinking about a lot since setting up my blog. Mainly because I created social media accounts (public not private) to promote it.
It seems many other bloggers and Instagramers have been pondering this lately too. Reading Mother Pukka’s well informed, thought provoking blog post this week left me compelled to air some of my own views on the matter…
The other day I took a picture of my four-year-old at the breakfast bar, doing a Pokémon jigsaw.
‘Are you going to Instagram it?’ She asked.
I was a bit taken aback. I didn’t know she even knew what Instagram was. So I asked her.
‘It’s when you put your pictures on the Internet.’ she said.
Wow. You’re pretty switched on, I thought.
As I watched her completing the one hundred piece, age five plus jigsaw, I pondered entering us into ‘Britain’s Brainiest Family.’ I decided to test her intelligence further.
‘Who is Donald Trump?’ I asked.
She looked skyward and gave it a few seconds thought.
‘The presenter of South America?’ she answered.
Hmmm. Maybe too tough.
‘What is the capital city of Wales?’ I tried.
‘Coffi Cwtch?’ (a small Café we sometimes go to), she said.
Ok so, maybe I wont be contacting Mensa just yet.
For the rest of the day my brain decided to obsess about – the fear of over exposing my kids online. (My brain often does this. I call it ‘the gypsy’s horse.’ These thoughts often gallop so madly, round and round, this way and that, I actually think I am verging on insanity. That’s why I write. And do yoga.)
Question: So she knows the words ‘Instagram’ and ‘Internet’, but does she actually grasp what they are, and what they are for?
Answer: No. Definitely not.
Which is why I’ve decided to be very careful when it comes to putting my innocent, naïve, ‘no real concept of what the internet is’ children out there.
I’ve decided not to use my children in a way that would be too exposing or exploitative. I will not use them to advertise anything if that opportunity ever arises, which it probably wont. Let’s face it, Facebook wont even boost my posts due to ‘profanities’ (hasn’t Zuckerberg got bigger fish to fry of late, rather than worrying about me saying sh*t quite a lot?), and anyway I don’t think I’m the ‘in paid partnership’ type. Unless Peroni decide to offer me a gig of course.
This is where I stand… (I’ve taken my lead from Fearne Cotton with the ‘no faces’ thing, even though she is really famous and has 2.1 million followers and I am not famous at all and only have 479 followers, but still)…
- No faces
- No names
- Age but never reveal their birthdays
- No pics of the front of our house or our road
- No pics of school uniform or their school
- Never tag our location
- No naked, swimwear & no underwear pics
- No degrading images or stories
But the last one is tricky.
People may argue that telling a story about my six-year-old bashing herself in the clitoris last week was degrading. I don’t think it was, or otherwise I wouldn’t have written and posted it. But do you think it was? And more importantly will she think it is, when she’s fifteen?
How do we measure what is degrading anyway?
When I taught A Level Media Studies we used to analyse audience reactions. There are so many contributing factors, which affect how people receive what we put out there. The audience demographic as well as culture, religion and personal experience all change how certain individuals will decide what is degrading and what is not.
Surely some things are blatantly degrading though right? It always baffles me when Instagramers post pictures of their kids on the toilet with a book. I mean the book pretty much signifies they’re taking a dump, right?
Eeeeewww!! F*ck sake!
Nobody wants to see that!!! Even if they are in a Batman costume looking super cute and you think it’s totally hilar.
STOP AND THINK!
Would you post a picture of your husband taking a dump? Your mother? No. Would you post a picture of yourself taking a dump? Exactly. Surely your child is not going to be happy with this in ten years time.
And by the way, I am judging. My judgement is – all parents who post pictures of their kids sh*tting must be arrested and put in prison. Immediately.
The other one that makes me feel a little bit… odd, is when people film their kids having a melt down and then post that. I have to say… (scrunches eyes up and recoils in a ‘dare I say this?’ kind of way) … sometimes I do feel a bit sorry for the kid here. I mean this a little bit degrading too, no? Also, put your bloody phone down and go and try and sort it out!
Do I still follow (and love) Instagramers who do this? Yes. Do I see the point of posting this kind of content? Of course I do. Seeing other parents dealing with the same sh*t we have to, normalises it and makes us feel that we are not alone in our daily struggles. That has to be a positive.
But what about the C word?
How much should we be worrying about consent? The kids don’t really have a say in any of this do they? Even if they are seven and you ask them if they mind being on your feed, they are not really capable at that age (in my opinion) of making that sort of decision are they? I mean, mine find it difficult enough to decide Shreddies or Weetabix of a morning.
So what does the future hold?
In years to come are we going to get reams of Insta famous kids suing their 500k followers strong Insta parents for a breech of their privacy and a violation of their human rights?
Like child stars of days gone by, are these over exposed Insta kids (who were featured in ‘in partnership with’ #ads), going to take their parents to court in order to be paid a cut of those advertising fees that are rightfully theirs?? Mini, mixed-up little Macaulay Culkins popping up all over the shop because they didn’t give their consent to be used in an Instagram advert for scented nappy bags??
Maybe I’m overthinking things here. I have always been a worrier, and it’s always the things we worry about the most that end up never amounting to anything, right?
I mean is posting a picture of your kid in their St David’s day costume on a public Instagram profile any different to when pictures of us were published in the Daily Post for thousands (ok, maybe hundreds) to see when we were kids?
Is featuring a pic of your kid on the loo sh*tting, any different to your mum passing around a picture album at a dinner party of you with your peggy out in the paddling pool when you were six? Or telling that story of when your brother shoved a battle ship up your crack, in the bath, when you were a baby? (My mum tells that one… a LOT!)
Is any of this any different?
So for now, I’ll stick to my rules, as they are what make me feel comfortable…
And you stick to your rules and whatever makes you feel comfortable….
BUT… no more dump spam… PLEASE!!!
***No children were over exposed in the writing of this blog post***