Today, social media has become the most basic form of staying connected and the most “glamorous” form of sharing our life updates. One might be living right next door or might be living miles away from his/her family, friends or from the place where they grew up, but social media continues to serve everyone as the most “creative” way of sharing their life stories. Don’t get my quoted sarcasm wrong; it is indeed a fun way of maintaining relationships, sharing interests and exploring identities. And I do enjoy seeing photographs and videos that people on my social network share – a lot of it is about their party life, travel adventures, food creations and… their… wait for it… “Little MEs”.
Personally, I have yet to master this skill but I’m amazed at how people can go about living their lives and yet find the time and energy to share their life stories and how. I simply can’t keep up with it, trust me, I tried and am still trying. However, I choose to keep my child out of these updates, paying no attention to the occasional temptations I might feel. I consciously chose to not share photographs from the time I was pregnant up until now that my child is a toddler already. And just because I choose not to do it myself, doesn’t imply that I judge those who do it. It’s great if their choice to do so suits their interests and needs. I honestly do enjoy watching and often end up admiring all of those fancy updates. But its just not for me…Why?
First reason being that I somehow have this strong feeling that I should protect those details of my family life from the “jungle (of information) out there”. Today, we live in a world where information is all over the place and its there to stay. Social media platforms have become this easily accessible space where anyone and everyone could learn a lot about me and my life, in no time. It’s actually scary when I think about it. I know there’s this thing called privacy settings but I don’t really trust it. Second reason being that my toddler doesn’t really have an understanding of this concept of social networking yet. As her parent, I feel responsible to protect and respect her privacy until she has the capacity to do so independently. In addition to a sound understanding of the same, she is yet to develop a voice, with which she can tell me if she’s okay with me sharing her life with the world out there. And whose interests will I really be serving if I choose to go ahead and do that without her permission? Hers? Mine? Our inner circle? Our outer circle? Or the online global community at large? In any case, I cannot and shouldn’t ignore the fact that its her life – however little she might be.
Well, she is 28 months old and loves her daily dose of music, songs and rhymes. We tend to sing-a-long A LOT during our routine activities, its been like that since the day she was born. You will often find her singing, dancing or making her toy friends do the same. She is fascinated by water falls and water fountains of any kind and in any form. She wants to grow up to be an astronaut and take her rocket from NASA to the moon. She enjoys exploring books and is even attempting to read them now. She is a big fan of trains particularly Japanese bullet trains and she can actually recognise them by their official names now. She is obsessed with swings, slides and particularly loves climbing and jumping on the bed. She is always on her toes, rarely sits, enjoys running, playing ball and most recently playing with sand at the beach. She thoroughly makes the most out of her showers and massages & gives us pretend showers and massages too. She is passionate about cooking with her play-foods and as she feeds us her delicious creations, she always makes it a point to ask for feedback…. Nice? Yummy? Hot? Sweet? Spicy? Crunchy? Tasty? And so on… Yes she’s a foodie, much like her parents. Its amazing to see her talking to and taking care of her toy friends. She plays with them, disciplines them and then comforts them affectionately. She does something amusing, entertaining and astonishing every day and as you can see, we can’t stop talking about her. Her giggling and laughter is so contagious that we often find ourselves laughing and giggling with her, over absolutely NOTHING! Of course I get EXTREMELY tempted to share all of this with my social network but I don’t. I do excitedly share it with my close family and friends on a one-to-one basis but I refrain from posting any of it on social media platforms as such.
The other thing is that I don’t really know how my child would respond to me posting her pictures and videos online. If she grows up to be anything like me, she would be grateful for the fact that I didn’t post any “embarrassing” stuff about her that stays online forever. She might end up appreciating how I didn’t publish her life online without her permission. If not, she might be disheartened to know that she doesn’t have a trillion followers on an account that I failed to create for her. In that case, she might even question my level of enthusiasm and my PR skills altogether. And if that happens, I can always have her look at the GBs and GBs worth of material I have collected on her. Trust me when I say that I have captured each and every special moment, every skill, every milestone she has ever been through. But, I need to respect the fact that its her life.
I know I can’t protect my child from the “outside world” forever, but for now I feel that I am obligated to treat her privacy with respect. When she’s old enough to understand this world of information sharing and when she’s wise enough to make her own choices about the way she wants to conduct herself in that world, I will be more than happy to hand over all the material I have on her. Then on, its her decision and her voice as to how she wishes to exist in this world. Till then, I shall continue to document every little detail of her life and share it only with a select few who really need to be a part of her life journey at the moment – people who she knows, people who know her and thereby can use those updates to connect with her. It simply serves as an extension of their offline and face to face interactions. Like I said, I need to consciously keep in mind whose interests am I going to be serving by sharing about her life. Nothing personal to those on my social network because if you do wish to connect with my little one, I will be more than happy to facilitate that on a one-to-one basis. Not on the World Wide Web. “This isn’t about you, it’s about my little one!”