I’ve seen a couple of articles recently about the next generation’a digital presence. Some are best practices, some are just downright alarmist. Take this article from Slate, which feels like it’s verging on paranoid. “Facial recognition”, “corporate data mining”, these things are described in an almost Orwellian manner.
Maybe I’m being naive about Facebook and how the pictures I upload will be used in the future. Perhaps the Peoples Republic of Facebook is only a few years away. But I doubt it. The fact is, I like sharing pictures of my kids on Facebook so my friends can see them. Posting pictures to Facebook has become the digital replacement for the proud father pulling out his wallet to show you his little girl in her ballet costume. I’ve been loading pictures onto Facebook for years. Yes, my girls will probably moan and groan when they are old enough that I can share photos with their boyfriends. Again we see the digital replacement for going through old photo albums.
However, I’m not so naive to think posting pictures here there and everywhere is a good or safe thing. Because it is not. I share my pictures on Facebook where my friends can see them, and on Instagram, because my account is private and you need my permission to see my content. Where do I not share my pictures? Twitter, Tumblr, and this blog.
I can’t control who views this blog. I could technically make my user account on Twitter private, but that kind of negates the fun of Twitter. But this blog is open for anyone to read. And, like Twitter, that’s the fun of blogging. Creating an online space where you can record your thoughts, feelings, activities, likes and dislikes, all free and open for the entire online world to view.
With my content available to all the world, why would I want to post pictures of my kids?
Cause let’s face it: there are whackos out there. The odds of one lone whacko stumbling across pictures of my kids and seeking them out are probably the equivalent of being struck by lightning while being eaten by a shark all the while holding the winning Powerball ticket. And this scenario (the whacko one, not the lightning/shark/Powerball one) is definitely worst case scenario kind of stuff. But it still gives me a measure of comfort knowing I’m keeping people I don’t know from viewing my kids. I have friends who post pictures of their kids on Twitter and I cringe every time. But that’s my gut reaction. Yours might be different.
Nobody really knows what’s going to happen when the current youth generation comes of age in a socially media driven world. Facebook is only ten years old. What happens when my kids hit the age of consent for social media sites and sign up and see they’ve already been all over the site for ten or fifteen years? Nobody really knows. In the interim, I’ll keep sharing pictures with friends and keeping them away from strangers. My hope is that this will both keep them safe while I share their fun moments, and keep me from being a digitally helicoptering parent.