We Could But We Won't: Why the Internet Is No Place for Our Children

Over the course of the pregnancy my husband and I talked a lot of parenting, vaccines, types of birth, lifestyle and food choices etc. Pretty much what I think most pre-parents discuss. While all of those topics are personal. BTW where do people get off thinking those decisions are their business. I can't tell you how MANY people ask, "if you have a girl will you pierce her ears, or if you have a boy will you circumcise, do you believe in attachment parenting? Are you going to co-sleep? Are you going to update me with every personal decision you make so I can be nosey and judge you?!". OK they didn't say the last part but let's be honest that's what they meant but seriously wait a minute, wait a minute. How is that ANY of your business, it's not a topic up for debate therefore it's none of your business. I digress. So among the topics we talked about was whether or not we would post pictures of our children on the internet (Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, etc). The conversation for us what pretty short and sweet. NO. Remember this is OUR decision, we in no way judge anyone else (the other 97%). Merely sharing a very different view, in a world where sharing photos is routine and unmindful.

Both my husband, and I are instinctively private people. We both always have one foot out the door in regards to the internet. I get questioned quite a bit why I'm so private. Most of the time they assume something's wrong. It couldn't be more opposite. I'm not hiding, embarrassed, etc. I'm just protecting my happiness.  I unfortunately have had issues with stalkers, and people crossing boundaries even with the privacy I have. I watch the news I'm no Paranoid Polly, but I'm not na├»ve. Anything can happen to anyone. We use privacy to safeguard our lives, marriage, general safety, etc. I believe the level of privacy directly correlates with the quality of your life. For example I don't post where I work online, where I live, vacation, even down to some general life updates. So therefore I have a high quality of life when it comes to worrying. I don't have to worry about a creep coming into my job, or knowing where I live etc. So naturally the same caution comes with our child/ren. Once it is on the internet we have no control of the audience, where the photos go, where they end up. For us as parents that is beyond terrifying. Simply put I never want to have to say, "I wish I didn't share that, if I had only known".

With the creeps I have personally encountered on the internet it is very important that I do everything in my power to protect my child. I see it as having the best quality car seat, or keeping an eye on your child in the store. I wouldn't want a random stranger to come up to my child and take a picture for their personal use (sounds fucking weird and gross huh), so why would I make it super easy, and put it on the internet. No thanks. I have seen people make Facebook pages for their children, YOUNG children with their FULL legal names. I CRINGE. I'm not going to go into great detail about the safety factors, if you're interested in more details simply check out Google.  Regardless of your privacy settings on Facebook your Facebook is NOT private. I assure you. We also want to let our children decide if and when they want a relationship with the internet.

We chose to publicly announce our pregnancy at 30 weeks. Opinions as we know are like ass holes. Everyone has one. Intentionally or not people have this amazing power to ruin a great thing. With questions, unwanted advice, nosiness (my kryptonite), and general rudeness. When you post certain details of your life you open the door for that. My life is a no judgement zone, and simply put if I don't share my life. No one can judge it, have opinions, gossip, or question my choices (Sounds like I have some crazy lifestyle haha but I don't). Again we live in a world where people think everything is their business. No. Hate to break it you it's not. We also disabled cloud settings on our phones to ensure safety. Once something is on the internet it's there. You can delete it, it will always be there. We can always decide at a later time to possibly reconsider (HIGHLY unlikely) but we can't decide the other way around. So far us it boiled down to safety (we also decided against video cameras in the babies room for the ability that anyone has to hack into them and use good old fashioned sound systems for our nursery), privacy, and to let our children establish their relationship with the internet when the time is right.

What About Family and Friends How will We Keep Them Up to Date ?
The same way we did before the internet. Good old fashioned mail for family and friends, as well as via text for immediate family and very close friends (my best friend, and his best friend). We decided to limit texting because people have icloud on their phones, or other internet back up storage.  Again we are new to this idea, and we have to feel our way around what will work and what won't. But it is easier to start out conservative, then try to stuff the toothpaste back into the tube. Now I realize I cannot send mail to everyone nor do I plan to. It would become expensive, overwhelming, and stressful. We very well realize that unless they are willing to come see us, or make plans while we are in the area it is likely that many will never see our children. But I've addressed this before. There are a lot of people who want to SEE our lives, and not be APART of our lives. Hello the very nature of Facebook, the lazy man's friendship keeper as I call it.  This has become very apparent over the past few years. We know the people who care and have been there as we have been for them and these are the people who will get mail, automatically including our Baby Party guests. Cause you gotta narrow it down somehow. So that's what worked for us. 

What About Sports, Parties, Other People etc. ?
This is something we have definitely thought about as well. Right now it's not an issue, but definitely something we will figure out how to handle when the time comes. It will become tricky as we go to public events, people snap photo's, or if our children do sports. As far as other people posting pictures that's still a negative, if I won't post there's no way I'm letting anyone else post. We do recognize it will be hard because it's not the norm, we will have to constantly say it, and remind people at first. But it's worth it.

I'm not sure how I stumbled across the discussion of whether or not to post children on the internet, but I'm glad I did. It wasn't something either of us were informed about or thought to consider. But I'm glad we did!

-Reliably Yours till Blog Do us Part