All summer i Shared the story of why I decided to let my daughter leave the InternetWhen she was with my babysitter, a stranger walked up to her in the park, called her by her name, pretended to know me, and tried to get my contact information. This frightened me. When my nanny called to tell me what had happened, I immediately hung up and deleted every picture of her I posted online. Since then, I have thought a lot, maybe too much.Soon after the incident, I sat down and chatted with Jo Piazza about her podcast Be affected by it,plot Came out today. Before we recorded, I listened to her episode “shared“If you haven’t heard of it yet, I highly recommend it. Hearing that episode got me into trouble and brought up many things that I hadn’t considered. I reflected a lot on what it all means and why I started in the first place. Share her and how I might feel in 5, 10, 15 years from now. This is what I learned in the process.
What I learned from the process of letting my daughter leave the Internet
It’s not just about verification
Initially, I felt that the only reason I posted my daughter on the Internet was for verification. This makes sense, and I am not even saying that this is a bad thing. As mothers, we should be recognized. In general, I think we are not getting enough. Pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood are inherently difficult (just like women in society, whether you have children or not). Add judgment, pressure, and expectations to become a perfect mother, never mess up, do all this with a smile and wink, it can overwhelm you. So yes, it feels good to post a picture of your child and get some verification. A few weeks later, I realized that this is more than just verification. This is about happiness. Social media is a place where many of us share what we love, people and places that make us happy and bring us happiness. Of course, my daughter is a great source of happiness and pride in my life, so it is natural to want to share this, but at what price?
The illusion of privacy on social media
A few weeks before the pandemic started, I had Marin. By the time she was one month old, the whole world was completely closed. As a new mother who has just recovered from childbirth, postpartum hemorrhage and the grief of losing her grandmother are many. In many ways, my online community feels like a safe space. We all went through this terrible and difficult time together. Those early days of motherhood were hard and exhausting, and frankly vague. At the time, sharing my new baby was a way to make me feel less lonely. All this makes people feel innocent and harmless until it doesn’t.
I grew up without social media, which many of us do. I was born in 1984 and didn’t own Facebook until I was in college. No Instagram. The only photos and videos of me as a baby and child exist in dusty photo albums and old VHS tapes. When I think about how much has changed since then, I realized how little privacy we have on social media. Although it feels like sharing my daughter’s photos with friends online, in fact I am sharing her photos with everyone and strangers. Literally, anyone can see it and ultimately use it the way they want. Once these photos appeared there, I couldn’t control it, and it made me feel sick. I have also considered how my daughter feels when she knows that I have posted her photos online countless times without her consent. This may sound dramatic, but the truth is that if I don’t protect her privacy and her image, it’s no longer my (or her) control.
Undeniably, when I deleted Marin from my blog and social media, I was really sad. Part of me miss sharing my daughter and the joy she brings. This is a different and special way of contacting many of you, but I have no regrets about my decision. To be honest, it gave me a great sense of relief. I noticed that my overall anxiety about social media has decreased. I really no longer need to deal with my mother’s humiliation, and I no longer have the worry or pressure to protect her from strangers on the Internet. As a mother, I also appear more on my mobile phone, and overall I find that I use it less. Of course, I still take photos and videos for her, but if it makes sense, will everything be easier? When I deleted all the photos I posted about Marin, I realized how much of my content included her. Since then, I have found a way to move forward that suits me (and her). I know this is a difficult and delicate topic, and I don’t expect it to disappear anytime soon. I want to know if more people (no matter what they live on) will start to take their children offline. I don’t have a perfect answer, but I know that I am satisfied with my grounding point.
I would love to hear your thoughts? Do you share your kids online? Looking forward to the discussion in the comments.
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