When I look at my Facebook feed these days, it is filled with babies. Part of that reason is because I’m at the point of my life where a lot of my friends are either thinking about having kids or already having babies. I can’t imagine what it feels like to be a new proud parent, but the urge to create a daily catalogue of my baby everyday and share it publicly on Facebook seems to be a little dangerous and here’s why…
See Ya Later Privacy
Can you believe that Facebook just celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary? I’ve only been cool enough to use the service for the last 7 years but I can remember like it was yesterday when everyone was so riled up because people were afraid what Facebook was really going to do with all of our private data. In fact, aren’t we still a little worried of how Facebook is managing our private data? Most of us are of the age where we have made the choice to allow this data to reside on social networks but your baby hasn’t.
Think for a moment about the private details you are broadcasting and possibly inadvertently contributing to social media. Daily posts about what your baby wears, eats, behaves, and all of a sudden Facebook pretty much has aggregated enough data to target sponsored baby ads to your friends, family, and yourself whom all liked your cute little baby photo you took last weekend at the park. You may be alright with that, but is your baby? Do keep in mind that Facebook policy states that you must be 13 years old to use Facebook. In my opinion, you should at least be a little mindful when posting pictures and video of people under that age.
It’s Not Show and Tell
Imagine for a moment that the internet didn’t exist. Everyone still used traditional polaroid pictures to share photos. There would be two major types of people you would never in a million years share your precious baby photos with. You would never share your baby photos with complete strangers nor would you share photos with acquaintances you probably haven’t connected with in awhile.
Complete strangers is probably the most important type of people you should be worried about because these people can include predators. One careless slip of improperly selecting how you are broadcasting your status update can easily be posted publicly and oops….all of a sudden your photo is scraped up by someone with ill intentions. The other type of people will most often be annoyed at you for cluttering up their feed with your baby that they really don’t care about. On one hand you may be putting your baby at risk and on another hand you are pissing people off. In my opinion, with these two types of people in mind, it would not be in my best interest to broadcast my baby in this way.
This is How You Should Do It
Lets pretend you have read through all of this and you decide that perhaps this is all nonsense and you would still prefer to use Facebook to post your baby photos. That’s fine, I’m sure a lot of people will continue to do so despite the facts of concern that I have. If some of my concerns resonated with you, here are some alternatives you can consider to document and share your baby’s life with the people that actually matter.
1. Store your daily collage and photos offline – Yes, it’s the good old fashion way. It probably sounds boring, but open up a word document and start insert and pasting your child’s baby photos in there to keep a journal. Your baby is not data mined, people don’t hate you, and you can sleep easy knowing that the photos are archived safe and sound.
2. Store photos privately in the cloud – You insist that you must have a way to share your baby photos online, but only privately. Cloud storage services like Dropbox allow you to store images online in the cloud. If you want to share the pictures with friends and family you can send them a URL which would grant them access to view those photos. There are also some web services out there like Flickr, that allow you to share private albums to the people that matter.
3. Store them on Facebook. – OMG, what am I saying?! After all of this, dare I suggest you store your baby photos on the same exact social media I’ve been preaching you not to store them on?
Here’s the deal…
Let’s say that you have developed a sense of social responsibility for your child after reading this. For whatever reason, you still insist that Facebook must be the platform of choice for documenting your child’s life. Here are perhaps some guidelines that may fit those needs.
1. Create a separate account for your baby and make it completely private.
2. Friend request people that love to hear about the day to day developments from your baby updates. The people that will be friends with the baby will naturally be close friends and relatives. These people actually care about the baby.
3. On the day your child turns of age to use social media, hand over the account over to them.
4. Let them decide if they want to take their account public or private
Now its your turn. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Do you agree or disagree? How do you plan to protect your baby from the big scary internet?