Look at how big she’s getting!”
“Ohhh, she’s got your dad’s eyes. What a cutie!”
“My goodness, she looks like she’s actually reading!”
These are some of the comments left by family and friends under the pictures of my daughter that I post to Facebook and Instagram. I can hear the deep drawls of my uncles as they playfully banter beneath those posts. I can still feel my aunts’ honeyed praises like a hug under the video I posted of Isa, my daughter, as she took some of her first wobbly steps.
My loved ones are scattered across the U.S. I was born in Pennsylvania, where most of my family still lives, but spent the majority of my teenage years and all of my adulthood in Michigan. I went out of state for college, so many of my closest friends are not local.
As an older millennial, I remember a time without social media, but I also had access to – and got comfortable with – social media during my formative years. It’s kept me close to people in a more effortless way, allowing me to focus on the quality of my interactions rather than stressing about how and when I would have them. I am especially happy to have access to it now as a new mom with miles between myself and my loved ones.
Posting pictures of Isa on my social media feed feels comfortable for me. I only operate on two, and they’re well-curated and protected. I don’t have superfluous followers or friends on these platforms, and I have super-tight privacy settings that only allow my family and friends to access what I post. And while I know there is no perfect fix for online privacy, I feel confident in the measures I have taken.
Sharing pictures on social media also means I get to skip the printing, postage and carbon footprint of snail mail (or, worse, the annoyance of a mass text). I have the ability to share special moments pretty immediately and conveniently with the people I love. For those of us on tighter budgets, posting pictures via social media can often be a more accessible and inclusive way of sharing up-to-date photos of our kids with loved ones.
An argument I’ve encountered against posting pictures on social media is that my daughter has no say in how or when her image is shared. Well, she also doesn’t have a say in what I make her for breakfast or when bedtime is – but every day, we make the best decisions we can on our kids’ behalf (that will hopefully keep the therapy bills low later in life).
And while I know there is a chance that Future Isa may be mortified by some of the pictures, I try to use my best judgment on what to post and not post (nothing in the bath, for instance, or where she’s covered in barf, food, snot or any combination of three).
As for any future autonomy she has over her image, we decided pretty early that we wouldn’t pierce her ears before she could have a say in whether or not that was something she wanted done. We’ll let her have pretty free rein with her hair and clothes (within reason) and give her the choice, later on, to say if she doesn’t want us to share her pictures with family on social media. And we will respect that.
But for now, I love that social media allows us to give our family and friends a real-time experience of the joy we get every day with Isa.
What do you think on this mom’s take? Tell us your thoughts in the comments and don’t forget to read the opposing viewpoint and why one mom thinks parents shouldn’t post about kids on social media here.