I’m a sharer. On social media I share happy pictures of my children, celebrate their achievements. Before Facebook I would have been the mother who wrote to my friends regularly and included newspaper clippings of my kids. As a teenager I wrote letters all the time and glued pictures from magazines to the letters to illustrate things. I’ve just carried on like that on Facebook. I’m no better on Twitter and Instagram.
When one child doesn’t like it
The thing is, my one child has spoken to me seriously and asked me not to share photos of him or put any detail about his life on social media. He finds it cringe-worthy and, very pleasing for a mom to hear, has taken to heart the lessons at school about how things can be screen grabbed and shared, and how they wouldn’t know who goes on to have access to their words and images, and how these may come back to haunt them later.
Now the problem for an oversharer like me is that it looks like I only love my one child – I post pictures of her eating her peas, mastering crawling, saying funny things and so on. And never post a thing about my son getting into maths competitions, coming first for his book review, cooking supper and bathing his sister when I had a migraine and even reading her a bedtime story and tucking her in next to me.
I’m proud of both my children and it is quite frustrating. However, I respect his wishes and will do so with my daughter too. I don’t post anything that would be truly humiliating, I don’t post anything that could affect their careers later, and I don’t tag them.
Getting it right and getting it wrong
I have slipped up and shared a memory that had cropped up, mentioned something I thought would be great and apparently wasn’t, and I have been tagged in photos of him that our friends have taken. It’s difficult to discuss these things with a 12-year-old. The once 10-year-old who used to share how he felt, now just sighs and goes to his room. (I’m hoping he’s reading but I suspect he’s playing Mine Craft.)
He’s not too far off from having his own Facebook account, and I’ll have to friend him to be a responsible parent. I already follow him on Instagram and I’m pleased with how he set up his account as private. He is very careful about who he allows as a follower and is still very careful about what he shares.
As the meme says, I’m glad I was young and stupid before everything was recorded and broadcast on social media. I hope my son keeps this attitude during his teen years and for my part, I’ll go and remove all those beautiful first bath photos and print them instead.
Also read: "My kids aren't ready for social media"
What are your thoughts around social media when it comes to your kids? Let us know by emailing email@example.com.