Millennial’s parenting in the Era of Social Media
As I am thinking about “ Global me,” I am scrolling down my Facebook profile, the only social media window that I check on a regular basis. For me, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are undiscovered worlds.
“Who am I?” I have been asking myself while looking into my posts, pictures and comments. It is simple: I am a mum. Normal, worried, surprised, sometimes a good-looking mum, sometimes with a bad hair day. So, if I am mostly a mum (which I personally believe I am) what kind of picture would people all over the globe have of me through my Facebook profile?
How social media is affecting my parenting is a very important question especially if we want to play a responsible role for our kids. However, I could choose what I want to publish online, my 4-year old daughter has not been able to do that so far.
During our last Humphrey seminar class, professor Jessica Pucci showed us what kind of pictures and videos could be appropriate and what could be harmful for us, as a professional journalist, in the social media space. During this class, I saw one cute naked baby on a Twitter account with huge hat. The baby was sitting with its mum on the beach. Something wrong? I believe not, everybody has that type of naked picture of us as babies, in our old-fashioned photo albums. An interesting point to emphasize: nobody puts our old pictures on Facebook or Twitter…so why do we do that to our kids?
Raising a family can be a lot of pressure in our Instagram-happy, Pinterest-perfect culture. With so many friends and followers posting or bragging about their kids and lives, how does “oversharenting” affect us as parents? And most importantly: What is it doing to our kids?
Unsurprisingly, I found in a survey of Parents magazine that many parents think all of this sharing has gotten a little out of hand. Almost 80 percent said other parents overshare on social media — yet only 32 percent of us think they overshare themselves.
I was browsing through my Facebook feed, enjoying pictures of my friends’ kids, dogs, and vacations. And that’s when I saw it: a close-up picture of a child’s portable potty. It is fun to see a successful potty-training and every mum is both thrilled and proud, but what if my mum shared a 30 year old picture where I tried to balance between blue potty and yellow blanket without shirt?
My “Global me” profile should not shape my daughter’s global profile. Being parents in the 21st century is challenging in different ways, but everybody has to be cognizant of security issues and our personal privacy.
I have an idea that scholars with stronger IT skilled could hacked my personal Facebook account in a minute. It is obvious data is all around us. It is easy to collect that and even use it against me. I know that being a super protective parent is not the best choice. The world is very nice, but also a tough place to live and our kids should find their way to successes their goals. If my Lota wants to become a president or scientist, naked picture from potty training might make it harder her for her professional life.
As a mother, I want to be a supportive, inspired role model, the biggest fun of her and her work. My instinct to publish all cute, funny picture and present in detail our family life I try to minimize because of her. I see that as a wise investment in her future. Giving her the freedom of speech, freedom of appearance, freedom of career choice and mother’s expectation is the best present that I could give her. The only expectation I have is to be happy and sometimes share content on Facebook or Twitter, leaning more often for personal communication.