Almost anyone who has seen the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma” is rightfully alarmed at how social networking platforms have mastered the art of manipulating human behavior. Since the film touched on how easily children are targeted, we asked the Baby and Breakfast readers over on Instagram Stories whether or not their babies have their own Instagram accounts. Surprisingly, 72% answered NO, chalking it up to privacy purposes, while others shared that their personal feeds were already filled with their baby, so there was no need to set-up a separate account. Considering the need to stay connected to our loved ones virtually and all the ongoing discussion on the impact of social media on mental health, the question more and more parents are now asking is whether or not having social media presence is in the baby’s best interest.
As with most parenting dilemmas, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether or not you should set-up a social media account for your baby. A practical response would be to do so in moderation. When done with caution and vigilance, there can be numerous benefits to sharing on social media. However, if you have not carefully weighed out the pro’s and con’s, we suggest reading through this article on the possible perils of social media so that you can make an informed decision.
Even if you opt for a private account or define posts as viewable to friends only, there is nothing preventing a person from taking a screenshot and sharing your private post in a public group. It is important to also choose your followers and friends wisely such that access to your photos is limited to people you trust and want to share milestones and memories with. Privacy is precious and it is important to protect your babies’ while they are still unable to themselves.
We’ve all experienced, or at the very least seen, how it can take a village to get that perfect photo for the ‘gram. In between all the cute outfit changes and practiced poses, it’s easy to forget that there are much more important things in life than appearances. Exposing kids to the endless retakes and unrealistic #lifegoals, especially in their formative years, may be doing more harm than good. It is still beyond compare to live in the moment and enjoy every memory through your own eyes.
When posting anything on the Internet, you are creating something that is permanent digitally. What might be a silly and adorable moment to you is something others might use to bully your kid in the future. It’s good to note that even when we delete posts, a copy may still exist in the platform’s servers or as a screenshot in an acquaintance’s laptop. As kids grow up, the list of things that humiliate them also tends to grow, so it would be quite the challenge to curate your content free of anything embarrassing.
Social media can be a very slippery slope towards addiction. Numerous sources have suggested delaying introducing your kids to technology as long as it still unnecessary. Starting social media exposure too early may affect their mental health, hamper their grades and study habits, and reduce real-life interactions. A couple technology-free years in their childhood might be just the key to a healthier, happier future.
Posting your photos online makes you vulnerable to the world of cyber-predators, and the same is true for your baby. There’s nothing wrong with sharing your reasons to celebrate, but it’s necessary to be prudent about what you share. Over-sharing tends to attract the wrong kind of attention and sometimes it happens unintentionally. Posts can leave traces of information like geotags, family information, and locations frequented, which make it easier to commit unlawful acts.