I’ve been saying this for years. Now the children are finally getting old enough to speak for themselves:
My parents had long ago made the rule that my siblings and I weren’t allowed to use social media until we turned 13, which was late, compared to many of my friends who started using Instagram, Wattpad, and Tumblr when we were 10 years old.
While I was sometimes curious what my sister was laughing at and commenting on, and what my friends liked about it, I didn’t really have much of an interest in social media, and since I didn’t have a smartphone and wasn’t allowed to join any sites at all until I was 13, it wasn’t much of an issue for me.
Then, several months ago, when I turned 13, my mom gave me the green light and I joined Twitter and Facebook. The first place I went, of course, was my mom’s profiles. That’s when I realized that while this might have been the first time I was allowed on social media, it was far from the first time my photos and stories had appeared online. When I saw the pictures that she had been posting on Facebook for years, I felt utterly embarrassed, and deeply betrayed.
There, for anyone to see on her public Facebook account, were all of the embarrassing moments from my childhood: The letter I wrote to the tooth fairy when I was five years old, pictures of me crying when I was a toddler, and even vacation pictures of me when I was 12 and 13 that I had no knowledge of. It seemed that my entire life was documented on her Facebook account, and for 13 years, I had no idea.
I realize this will be a very unpopular opinion in some circles, but I firmly believe that posting pictures of your children in public is fundamentally bad parenting. I wonder how many parent-child relationships will be permanently damaged because Mommy or Daddy was using their children to attention-whore.