Emergence

Topics in Emerging Media and Communications

I Believe That Children Are the Future

with 4 comments

My family has taken one professional family portrait. I was eight, posing in a pink polka dot dress, my brother, four, with toothless grin, my parents flank us, younger, thinner and beaming.

I’ve often wondered why this is the only family portrait we have and was envious of friends who’s walls were covered with JC Penny photo shoot prints. We’re not a hideously deformed family and there are plenty of photo albums filled with candid shots. My parents just weren’t concerned with documenting our every childhood moment.  We didn’t have a video camera and my mom only pulled out the film, yes I said film, camera at those pivotal growing up moments: first day of school, Easter, Christmas, trip to the petting zoo. I didn’t grow up in front of  a camera and don’t feel comfortable having my picture taken, even my Facebook photo album reflects my aversion to photos. If you are privileged enough to see my awkward middle school years in photographs, I will be the one to personally show you.

My childhood experience is a far cry from a new study that found 92% of U.S. toddlers have an online presence. These children are featured in blogs, photo collection websites, Facebook pages, and personal emails. Their every smile, frown, and bodily function is digitally documented, commented on and distributed across the internet. When asked why they were inspired to post images of their infants online, more than 70% of parents said it was because they wanted to share them with friends and family; 22% of mothers said they wanted to expand the content on their social networking profiles, while 18% admitted they were merely mimicking their peers. Few (3.5%) expressed concern about the amount of information that would be available about their children in future years. Of course there are pluses to sharing your child’s growth with friends and family, but I have to wonder how exposure at a young age effects a child’s psyche.

I have a friend who has a very popular Tumblr account for her daughter. She shares pictures, stories and parenting product reviews with the Tumblr community and has found it to be a mostly positive experience. Her reasons for starting the account was an archive of memories for her daughter to read and cherish. She’s met fellow mothers and non-mothers and shared in the joys and pains of others, but she has also dealt with negativity and stealing of content. Her daughter will one day be old enough to understand what a Tumblr is and that her personal, intimate moments were open to a large audience.

I’m not making a judgement call on my friend’s choice. I am hesitant to put personal information and photographs on the internet because I would much rather talk about my thoughts, feelings and experiences in a more intimate setting.  I’ve had arguments with friends and family over how much sharing is appropriate for Facebook. People rarely stand firmly on the “share everything” side or the “share nothing” side, but my position is that the internet is designed for the flow of communication and information. Once you put content out there, you lose control of the flow.

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Written by HiuHiMedia

October 13, 2010 at 7:11 am

4 Responses

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  1. Meagan, I feel you on the over sharing of personal info. I often wonder if I should post to my Facebook status my thoughts. I go back and forth constantly, weighing if what I’m going to say could be miss read or offend someone. This results in either multi-drafts of my updates or no update at all. Or worse, some watered down completely off topic tweet or status update that makes me look foolish. I strive to make sure every thing I share with other people is worthly of their time to read. I hate it when people post frivioilus information, I think this reflects on their character and whether or not you take them seriously. Wait, I started to rant there for a second, let’s back away from that tangent. 

    Privcy is something we are so willing to give away these days because we are easily convinced that other people are looking out for our best interest when this is clearly not the case. How many identities have to be stolen to prove this?  

    I think it’s okay to keep things to your self. Mom and I just had this conversation about sharing too much online. When we went out of town this past week, she said I shouldn’t tweet about being out of town. I asked her why. She relied for safey reasons. She was worried that if people knew I wasn’t home, someone might take that as an opportunity to relieve me of my belongings. I understood her worry about over sharing as we do not live in a safe society. I assured her that I might tweet about being out of town but she would not have to worry about the safety of my residents. I have firm foot planted in the share nothing camp but I hop scotch around the share everything camp. I think it’s really cool that I don’t have to fly to Virginia to see my friends new baby but I don’t know how willing I would be to put pictures of my own kids on Facebook. 

    Sydnie

    October 13, 2010 at 6:10 pm

  2. I think this-generation children tend to voice out their thoughts, and share something they want. However, we should teach them to get a balance between privacy and transparency.

    lochunyiu

    October 14, 2010 at 12:28 am

  3. Lovely post, Meagan. I would have liked to have heard more on your thoughts about the possible negative consequences of oversharing for young people who are not in control of their online presence? For instance, how might it be different if your friend were keeping a journal or scrapbook instead of putting this information in the public domain?

    kknight08

    October 15, 2010 at 9:44 pm

  4. Nice post! I think it’s hard, like what Sydnie was saying, to decide what to put, if at all, on the internet. But, I think younger people tend not to hesitate like we do when it comes to sharing their lives online. My little brother posts videos and pictures and status updates all the time about the things he did over the weekend, the stuff he just acquired and what friends he did things with, really anything. I on the other hand, only update rarely when I feel I have something funny/interesting to share with others. I don’t know where I was going with that… but anyway. Yes, I think we want to share things with others and the easiest and quickest way is to put it online, but there are repercussions either now or in the future, about what all we put out there. And you’re right, once it is out there, we can no longer control the flow.

    missnesbitpro

    November 7, 2010 at 7:07 am


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