My Daughter is Not Yours, Nor Facebook’s
Every parent makes their own decisions about their kids and social media. We’re giving our daughter a say in that… when she can actually talk.
She may only be five months old, but my daughter has zero social media presence. We haven’t created an account on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for her. And she certainly doesn’t appear in any photos we post - nor will she be included in any for this blog post.
There is one exception. A profile shot of her with her mother at an event. But that’s the extent of it.
This was an active choice between the Wife and I. It was never one that required much consideration either. Both of us actively use social media for a variety of purposes - social activities, activism, career, etc. But family is not a large part of that.
Some of my family is on social media and less of the wife’s, but it’s not our major means of communication. That’s relegated to such old-fashion methods like email, Skype or FaceTime. So there’s no need to share photos and updates of our daughter through social media.
We also chose not to share our daughter so readily because we want to be able to control her image until such a time that she takes it over. In Finland, that may be 16 given the recent announcement that Finland to adopt age limit for social media users from 2018. It’s a good development because that’s 16 years from now, plenty of time for the world to both become more savvy about social media and develop a means of introducing it and its implications to children.
My younger siblings, who are 20 years younger than me to give you some perspective, have no real interest in social media from what I can tell. Yes they use the internet and so make use of things like YouTube, Xbox Live, Twitch, etc. to be entertained. They don’t contribute and they may never do so.
It’s hard to say what the future of social media will be. Will it still be the big operators we have today. Or will upstarts overthrow them. Maybe Amazon will enter into the fray. Regardless, we want our daughter to make the decision of if and/or when she’s on social media.
The constant updates to EULAs doesn’t help either. We want to know definitively that anything we upload remains ours, and that we get to determine how, why and where something is disseminated. The problem is that social media services, as well as a lot of other tech services, change their EULA and their settings constantly. It makes staying up-to-date difficult. And if there is a drastic change removing everything is not a simple task.
That of course begs the question of who owns information, and how digital products are a cross between information and an item. But this post isn’t about the philosophical implications of intellectual property and ownership. And as a creator I understand, hopefully to a good degree, the effects of sharing something online. More on that in a future post.
For now, my daughter will be a mystery for most people until they meet her. Sure she’s doing a lot of exciting things, but damn do I hate seeing photos of other people’s kids. They’re just so damn ugly. And boring. Obviously, my kid is so much better at whatever your kid has done - pooping, eating, walking (not yet but soon), looking cute. That’s why I don’t need to advertise it.