Dan

Parents must use discretion with social media scrutiny

Feb 14 • Opinion • 79

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Under my parents’ roof, the scrapbook has replaced the photo album. Adorable patterend pages now carry my humiliating baby pictures with the embarassing details of the picture’s context in the margins.

Creating memories is now an art form that has expanded beyond occupying the back corner of Pat Catan’s or Michael’s. But at least a scrapbook remains a physical piece of blackmail that can be hidden in an attic.

What’s more worrisome is the prevalence of photo sharing on social media. But what’s to worry? Grayscale, high contrast pictures of girls fishing for compliments or candid college party shots of students hoisting red Solo cups?

Nah, those are two established photo-sharing genres in social media that aren’t going anywhere.

I’m more concerned about a growing trend of young mothers posting every moment of their infants’ or toddlers’ existence on the news feed.

While at the time of this column I have 310 Facebook friends, I can name four that already have children and post exclusively about them. You might be thinking, “1.2 percent? That’s a minute number not worth acknowledging.”

But it is if you don’t want to see it increase, which I don’t.

I can’t speak to the exact emotions of being a mother, but I can address what it felt like to be interconnected to all of my friends and family through my Internet identity. For most people, their Internet identity matches their real one.

For others, well, just watch an episode of “Catfish” on MTV.

Or send a friend request to Manti Te’o.

Regardless of our individual guidelines for what we post about ourselves online, social media users must remember that they don’t really own anything they post to a public domain.

Sure photographers might distribute their copyrighted work, but most profile pictures are user-created and firmly within Facebook’s reach.

Don’t get too hot under the collar that a picture of your veggie wrap might be ripped from Instagram and used without your permission.

I’m talking about your future flesh and blood.

I understand that my generation has grown with the evolution of social media. It’s hard to break the habit.

But trying to save your social life by dragging your kid into it doesn’t save face. We know why you’re never out on weekends or enrolled full time in college.

Why does the age requirement exist on Facebook? Because children don’t yet know who they are, or who they want to be, for that matter.

I beseech the young mothers out there to stop shirking your duty to protect your children. There are no reports on how creating a child’s online identity for them will affect them when they grow to be our age.

Trust me, there’s a big difference between your parents showing a few family members or neighbors an embarrassing baby photo and posting it on the Internet for everyone’s eyes.

Besides, if every adorable thing your child does merits a post, you risk losing the special moments that are meant for your eyes alone.

 

DAN KUBACKI

kubacki001@knights.gannon.edu

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