Social Media and Your Baby

We just returned from a two-week stay with my in-laws on the East Coast. This was a great trip. We got to introduce Sunshine to our family and friends, she got to spend a lot of one on one time with her grandparents and uncles. We even got her baptized.

Having so much family and friends around was a big help to me as well. It gave me a chance to really sleep. Do you remember the kind of sleep where you can completely turn your mind off, where you can take up as much of the bed as you want and move about freely? Well, I got a few hours of that in a day.

It also just gave me time to exist on my own. My husband only took two weeks off from work after I gave birth to Sunshine, which meant after that I spent a lot of the day with her on my own. My daughter loves to be held, so this often meant that I barely had enough time to run to the bathroom and pee before she would start fussing again.

With the all the people at my in-laws dropping in for visits, not to mention nana and papa Gus, and her two uncles, I could actually sit on my own. I could eat, have a cup of coffee or tea, or read through the news without wondering when my time would be cut short and I would have to pick her up again.

At this stage in Sunshine’s life, she in unable to self-soothe. So letting her cry it out isn’t an option.

It was a nice break.

Sure, there were things that I didn’t love. I didn’t love living out of suitcases and not having my own space and time where I could just do whatever I wanted without worrying if people were wondering where I was or what I was doing. All of that were things I could shrug off, telling myself that in a short while I would be home again wondering where all the time went, so I should enjoy the little things.

One of the things that really got under my skin though, was people and their links to social media.

In this day and age, people are constantly snapping photos and taking videos. Viral videos are posted every single day of people the poster doesn’t even know. All of this is amplified when there is a baby around. People love babies and they love snapping photos of them, and taking videos.

I don’t mind people taking photos with my baby, what I do mind is people posting photos of my daughter without my permission.

On our trip, I spent most of the time with my in-laws and my brother in-laws new girlfriend. She was sweet, and I didn’t have anything against her, but she took a lot of photos of my daughter. That alone was odd to me because she and my brother-in-law have been dating less than a year. It was a little soon for her to be filling up her phone storage with photos of my baby.

However, I can totally understand baby fever, hell, I went through it myself.

What bothered me was later when I asked my husband to see photos that had been taken that day and he told me they were on her Instagram.

She had posted photos of my daughter to her Instagram, not just one or two, but upwards of thirty without even asking me if it was okay.

This bothered me. A lot.

I work with children, so maybe that is what makes the lines of what is and what isn’t appropriate so defined in my book. I am the kind of person who doesn’t take pictures of other people’s kids. If I had, it was to share with their parents through personal email, not through social media. Even the photos I take with the kids in my own family I never post on social media, I wouldn’t even dream of it. If I had, I would have asked my sister or brother if that was okay first.

So to me, this was brazen. This was ballsy for someone who had never met me before, someone I wasn’t close to and who was still skating on thin ice with me because we didn’t have a relationship that was in any way established.

I think for people who don’t work with kids or aren’t parents themselves, they don’t realize how standoff-ish we can be when it comes to children in our care, especially our own! This made me feel violated and had me questioning this woman and who she thought she was.

However, I had just met her and had she been dating my husband’s other brother I would have addressed this with him right away but conversations with the brother she was dating always felt forced and my wording was always somewhat scripted in my head.

I am not on Facebook or Instagram personally. I am not the kind of person who posts things constantly, and even if I was and I did, it is every bit my right as a parent to decide what is posted of my child, when and where.

In this age where social media is at everyone’s fingertips and almost second nature, I can understand why someone would post something without thinking, but with children, I would always tiptoe to the side of caution.

Advice I would give to new parents is to voice your rules and regulations in regards to your children at any event where you know photos would be taken. If you see someone taking a picture of your baby or child, let them know you are uncomfortable with any of those pictures ending up on social media. Do this right away, because if you are like me and you wait to voice your views and feelings to your husband until you are sitting in the airport waiting for your flight home, it becomes harder to address and undo.

I post photos of my daughter on this blog and on the twitter account affiliated with this blog. As her mom, that is something I debated whether or not I would do when I started this blog.

I think it’s important for parents to sit down and discuss social media, it’s reaches and whether or not you are comfortable with your children being online.

My comfort level is not overly high… I find with older generations, it is hard to limit an overzealous grandparent from posting every photo on their facebook page. It’s a comfort to know they are only sharing it with their 30 or so facebook friends (mostly family), most of which don’t know how to re-share those photos. I had accepted the grandparents would share photos of my daughter, but outside my husband and I, and our parents, I hadn’t thought I would have to limit other people.

The issues that arise with parenting are so different now than they were ten years ago. The internet is playing a larger and larger part in our kid’s lives and it’s important not to forget about that. A lot of things can’t be undone once they are online. You tweet or post something that gets shared by the right person, and that will be circulating forever.

It kind of makes you miss the days of polaroids, photo albums and phone calls.

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