In July, I decided to deactivate my Facebook account. There were a lot of reasons why I was done with Facebook: the algorithms, the negativity, the useless information, the humble brags, the pressure to share and overshare. As a new mom, the decision had more to do with the birth of my son than anything else.
We live in a society where we feel like we need to share every detail of our personal lives. When my son was born, I knew that I wanted to limit his presence on social media. The reason I feel strongly about this is because I believe that he should control his social media presence; this is an issue of privacy and it is not my decision to make for him.
Making decisions as a parent is hard and you always want to put your child’s best interest first but sometimes others don’t see that. When I shared my feelings with Matt, he ultimately agreed with me but our decision to not post photos of Matteo on Facebook was not easy for everyone to understand.
When we were children, our memories and photos were in albums or frames that were in the possession of our parents. If someone wanted to see those photos, your parents pulled out an album and shared them.
You got to choose who you shared those private moments and memories with. Matt and I want to maintain some of that with Matteo. We have all of the photos in the world of him and we will share them with him and our friends and family through printed and digital albums; just don’t feel that we need to publicly share those memories and moments.
We live in an unprecedented time in technology and face decisions that our parents didn’t even have to consider. Most of us did not grow up with our parents having smart phones or posting our pictures on Facebook. The farthest back my “online” life goes is college. For Matteo it would go back to his birth.
To take it a step further, I always think of this example: when Matteo is a grown up and someone, a potential employer or college, looks him up, what will they find? Do they have the right to see photos of his birth? His first bath? His first day of school? I don’t believe that they do. If Matteo decides one day that he wants those moments out in the world, he will have those photos in his possession to share.
My hope is that Matteo will grow up with a strong sense of self-confidence and self worth. How he sees himself will not be contingent upon the number of likes he gets or the number of comments his photo receives. Most (if not all) of us grew up without Facebook and we are just fine. When Matteo is old enough to be exposed to social media, he will be. My husband is a huge techie and we’re not planning on keeping things away from him by any means. We are simply holding off on exposing him to a medium over which he currently has no control.
In the end, we have shared some photos of him on Facebook and Instagram, though when I post a photo of him, I usually archive it in a day or two.
I would love to know your thoughts on the matter. Does social media bother you? Or do you love sharing your life online? Tell me what you think and your reasons why. I know this is an ongoing discussion and I’m open to hear and see both sides so I hope you’ll share your thoughts in the comments.