Don’t you sometimes feel a little sorry for small children whose lives are being relentlessly documented on social media? I totally do. The way I see it, the oversharing occurs on two different levels: one, way too often; and two, way too much private information.
I mean, small children are totes adorbs. No question. I understand the temptation to share. But, you know what? Little Nathan looks pretty much the same as he did yesterday. Or two days ago. Or last week. I have this friend with twin babies, and the babies frequently tend to adopt mirror poses; i.e. they are both sleeping on the same side with their arms spread out in the same way and clutching a stuffed animal in the same kind of grip with the same hand. Absolutely cute, the first five times I saw it. Now, I just can’t make myself join the one hundred and seven other people who have “liked” the post. It’s still cute, but it’s hard to really appreciate them as often as the frequency of posting demands. My response is more like, “Yep. There go the babies again.” They’ve turned into another spot on the wallpaper, which is too bad because they really are cuties.
Also, and I say this as the doting mother of two, isn’t there anything else these people want to share on social media? Too well I remember the feeling of being sucked down into the vortex of parenting the preschool set. At that time, I really relished the opportunities I had to discuss topics that weren’t about addressing basic needs and civilizing the little darlings in my care. Social patter on That Certain Social Media Site really isn’t that challenging. Can’t some people find something to say instead of something to show?
Well, no. No, they can’t. Because TCSMS has turned into one endless scroll down pic after pic after pic. Show and tell. And evidently little kids are perennially popular exhibits. At least to the people who are showing and telling about them; namely, their parents. For the rest of us, maybe not so much.
For me, definitely not so much. I think I’m making that pretty clear.
On to the second, and to me, more troubling problem: way too much information. Yes, most children are learning the same major life skill between two and three years of age. Do we have to write it down? Do we have to talk about how it’s going? Or, in far too many cases, how it’s NOT going?
Ew. Yuck. Just stop it with these kind of updates on social media, parents. For one thing, this is not about YOU, it is about your CHILD and his or her readiness to acquire a new skill. Also, it’s pretty disgusting for those of us who don’t care. I will never get a medal for this, I know, but I had nothing to say on this topic even when it was a high subject of interest on a very personal level at my house. Because I can recognize that certain topics are off limits for polite conversation. They’re called boundaries, guys. Let’s recognize them. Also also, how do you think your kids will feel when they’re old enough to realize exactly what you’ve been sharing about them on social media? Okay, yeah, maybe they’ll never find out. I imagine that by the time a person is old enough to have a social media presence, he has better things to do than go years back into his mom’s status updates from the year when he was two. But still. It could happen. Or, what is more likely to happen, a person’s sibling could go back and find photos and status updates and use them for merciless internet taunting. Fun times.
So, mommies, it’s time to get a grip. Just because you can share it doesn’t mean that you should.
In fact, if it’s not a proud moment for your child, it shouldn’t be up there. Because any more than that is boring to your friends and unkind to your child.
Think. Think, think, think before you post. I realize that’s a lot to ask in the context of social media.
But I think it’s worth a try.
Love you & leave you,