This post has been bubbling around in my brain for a while… I haven’t really shared much of my kids online in a long time. Things have changed around here, they are getting older, they are getting savvy and I have learnt some new stuff along the way. I am sure some people think I just sit in my house on my own and ban my children from entering, or some people even forget I have kids, because they don’t feature on my blog or Instagram much any more haha. 😉 But in fact, they take up 95% of my time and I only share the pretty and fancy 5% of my day!
Today I wanted to share with you a few things I have learnt… I follow a few great Mummy Blogs and Instagrammers who spam us with their kids. I like watching, and the kids are soooo cute, but it does stress me out a little.
My boys are now 15, 12 and almost 11. The eldest is on all social media and the other two have dipped their toes in recently with Instagram and Snapchat. My reasoning behind letting them use social media is a post for another day. But anyway, they are using it. They are all over it. It’s here to stay.
I work online a lot. I am on it pretty much every day sharing snippets here and there. But my kids do not want to feature on ANY of it. If they so much as get a whiff of a photo or a comment circulating about them they will fly in to a rage. So I know better. Anything that is put online now comes with permission. They must view it, see what I write and agree to it. I have hundreds of fun and cute photos sitting on my phone, but I know none of it will ever end up online. I am respecting their wishes, and I should not be in charge of what everyone sees and knows about them. Plus I think they like having a heads up. They don’t want to get a screenshot or winky smiley face of them when they had no idea.
What I am noticing is that they also get quite upset if a baby photo or anything from YouTube (which we may have recorded years ago) gets mentioned. I have even gone back on some old stuff and deleted it. They don’t think it’s cute or funny. They just feel embarrassed.
Here’s the other thing… if they don’t directly see what’s online about them then I can GUARANTEE someone they know will see it and bring it to their attention. It’s happened… Boys who don’t like them will say something, girls who stalk them will see it. Parents read it and mention it in their homes. I promise it happens!
And it’s upsetting me to see some parents are carving out a very heavy digital footprint for their children already.
I have some pretty awful days and I could go to town on the stuff that happens around here, but it must all stay offline for the sake of my boys. I could also write a great parenting book on dealing with 3 boys, their hormones, changes, friendships, aggression and teaching them about the highs and lows of life! But these years are crucial and I feel that not everyone needs to know about their dramas/triumphs.
Most kids won’t catch on to all the social media stuff until they are about 10 years old. And when they do they will google themselves or start stalking you. Now what happens if they are a very shy and private child?? Maybe they aren’t as outgoing and carefree as you are? When the teenage years hit, they won’t think it’s cute like we do. My almost 11 year old found stuff online about him when he was 2 years old. He was in the nude (you could only see his bum) and he was crying because he fell in some mud, but he didn’t like it being online. I thought it was funny and cute – he didn’t. Lesson learnt.
Our generation doesn’t know how that feels – to be displayed online by our parents – because there was no internet. I love looking at my baby photos and the teenage years when I had a perm, but I get to choose whether anyone sees them or not.
I started out as a “Mummy Blogger” but it had to end at some point and I can see now why it had to. Teenage boys (well mine anyway!) don’t want to be on show. And I don’t want to force them to be. I don’t want people judging my kids based on all the online stuff I put out there.
So I’ll stick to photos of the dog, my house, the sky and the occasional family photo (when each person has approved it!).
I’m not saying people who have little kids need to stop, but I am suggesting just to consider that their personality may be a little different to yours… they may be more reserved and private, but by the time they can speak up, there will be so many photos and so much said about them that they become embarrassed and angry.
Just some food for thought. Have you had any similar online experiences with your kids?