If you are a new mother, social media is a great way to engage and feel less alone in your new journey. I love social media! I have been able to read books, find inspiring leaders in my generation, listen to awesome podcasts and meet some pretty cool people that are miles away. You can share funny photos of your breastfeeding baby and that cute onesie picture of your baby sleeping on your chest. Social media can be used to keep distant relatives up to date on your baby’s milestones.
Before the arrival of my child, I made it clear to my fiance that I would not allow posting on social media. Luckily, he agreed and preferred it that way as well. I felt a sigh of relief. It is the norm, in my generation, to share our entire life on social media. Let’s be clear, this isn’t to wag my pointer finger at any mother that posts her child on social media. This is to defend my stance on it. I don’t post photos of my child on social media and here are my top five reasons for not doing so.
It Lasts Forever
When you post anything online, it lasts forever. Yes, even if you delete it. Jeff Weisbein, CEO and Founder of BestTechie, has stated that there are “backup versions and backups of backups for all social media sites.” It is possible to “delete” your FaceBook account through request and still be able to log back into that “deleted” account with your credentials. Furthermore, even if you do delete things, you have to think about how you can’t delete it from those who gained access to it. Three years ago, I deleted something from FaceBook and a guy direct messaged me asking why I chose to delete that post and it was up for TWO SECONDS. I kid you not. If you post something and delete it, it doesn’t officially delete from their timeline until their timeline has refreshed. Yikes!
When you don’t delete it and just go on about your life, people can use an app to view your old posts. You ever heard of the TimeHop app? Yeah, just think about that cringy post you made five years ago about a cold waffle from Waffle House. Think about all of the old tweets that have landed celebrities in hot water. What about images that were posted and deleted, but screenshot by someone before it disappeared?
I just have to think about if social media was around when I was younger. If I would have been comfortable with my mother sharing very intimate photos of me without my consent. Listen, I love when my family members post photos of me for my birthday or for the hell of it. It is a moment that we can share and bond. However, no one will ever post me completely naked in the bath (or something of the sort) because they know that I am a private person. They know that I would be completely mortified to see my naked self online for people to see who don’t even know me personally.
As someone who has been through a traumatic experience, I am very big on consent. I am aware that this generation of children are having their lives exposed to a public forum without their permission. Largely, parents want to share their children and the sweet moments that they have captured with their little people. However, there is a small percentage that uses their children as a vehicle for attention and as a cash grab. I have read well-known family YouTuber’s being called out for using their children to garner views in the midst of fake storylines and drama. Years down the line, I don’t want my child to feel they have to answer to something that they never consented to in the first place.
Privacy And Safety
As a woman, safety is something that is always prevalent in my mind. I am very careful about not putting my exact location on things and I barely share my address with anyone. Safety is the main reason I don’t post photos of my child on social media.
I always look up the crimes that were committed in areas before I move there for my own safety. When I was pregnant, I decided to look up the sex offender registry in areas where we wanted to move. Here’s the thing, I can control where we want to move. I can’t control what happens with the photos and videos that are posted on social media. Amelia Tait, a freelance writer with the New Statesman, wrote a revealing article about how easy it is for pedophiles now. Mommy Vlogger Allison Irons checked her analytics and realized that her children’s videos were embedded on pedophilia websites. She no longer has a YouTube account now. What about all of the images that are saved and can’t be tracked with analytics tools?
I genuinely have an issue with overexposing my child to the judgments and opinions of other people. I have the understanding that once you put your personal business online, then you welcome their opinions. However, I refuse to partake in my child being the target of conversation for strangers who, to be frank, don’t give a damn about him or his well-being.
Do you remember how vicious and cruel people were when Beyoncé’s daughter, Blue Ivy, reached toddler years? Do you remember the cyber-bullying that even adults were unleashing on an innocent child? They had an opinion about her hair, her facial features, and even her name. It’s one thing to care about the welfare of a child, but this was different. They called an innocent child so many cruel names; it was disgusting. If your baby doesn’t fit their standard (whether it be hair, weight or name), then the peanut gallery is ready to pounce.
Let’s be clear, I am not Beyoncé, but social media is a microcosm. We saw the tweets, comments, and responses of what is truly said behind closed doors. Let’s be clear, I expect funny, smart-aleck comments from kid and teenagers when it concerns kids, but not adults. I don’t know any mother who isn’t ready to stalk and attack when someone messes with her cub, so I choose to not partake to keep the mama bear at ease.
I touched on this in my Illusions of Social Media blog post with my pregnancy announcement. As I mentioned in my Pregnancy Journey And Birth Story video, I was going through a depressing and stressful time. This time revealed to me how social media truly creates this sense of false intimacy. Social media is an illusion of intimacy among “friends”. People feel because you share aspects of your life online that they know you inside and out. The reality is that we hardly know anyone.
Honestly, I have accepted and am completely okay with this revelation. Hence, why I have a blog and multiple social accounts. However, I do not want my child to feel that they lost the power to have fresh relationships with people that they do not know. I don’t want someone to feel that they know so much about my child, but my child to feel that they know so little about that person.
Furthermore, we use social media to be digitally present without being physically present. I am not exempt from that fact. However, I do not do this when it concerns children. I go to them and take my own photos. Honestly, I don’t even like to video chat children because I prefer to be there in person. This wasn’t something that I started with the onset of my motherhood; I did this before I became a mother. I have plenty of beautiful photos. And I cherish them. If anyone wants to be in my child’s life, then they will have to actually be there…in the flesh.
My choice to do this is out of the norm for someone of my generation. So, I get asked a lot why I don’t post photos of my child on social media. This isn’t to tell you what to do with your child’s photos and videos, but to explain why I don’t post my child on social media. I have shared his likeness, but his face was always covered. When my children can comprehend what social media is and understand its impact, then they can make that choice.