Before the days of social media and smartphone popularity, I remember when people carried photos of their children in wallets and purses. Whenever the topic of kids came up, out came the most recent photo of the youngins. Now, thanks to Mark Zuckerberg, you don’t even have to wait for the topic to come up. Whether you’re interested or not, you’re going to see photos of people’s kids in your timeline.
As soon as I had my own child, I realized how addictive it is to share every feeding, smile and full diaper. Seriously, I once thought about posting a pic of my kid’s poopy diaper. I did post a photo of Liam moments after he was born to a private Facebook group I created just for that reason. I wanted to update my friends and family all at once without having to text and email people individually. It also kept me from oversharing to people who weren’t interested. Not every Facebook friend I have cares about the woes of late night feedings.
As parents, it’s easy to get lost in baby mania and forget there are folks who could care less although they won’t say it. While we feel our kids have revolutionized the concept of cuteness, there are people who aren’t moved. Some folks are so turned off by the baby banter that they create memes like this one, which I have to say is pretty funny.
In the same way parents compare their own paternal competence by watching other parents and kids on the playground, they do the same on social media.
If someone posts a video of their kid singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” it’s not uncommon for other parents to start wondering why their 3-week-old isn’t able to name all the state capitals. Social media emphasizes the real insecurity parents have about how well they’re doing as parents. When one of my FB pals mentioned that her kid was potty-trained at nine-months-old I couldn’t fight the urge to have Liam tested for every developmental quirk out there. The struggle is real, folks.
The big thing now is to register domain names and social media profiles under your child’s name so that they won’t have to worry about it in the future. I personally think it’s cute but unnecessary. Posting your kid’s first bathtub pic with the caption “My wee-wee is free!” under a profile their future classmates might see is totally different. Remember how sensitive to your peers’ opinions you were as an adolescent? Yeah, magnify that by ten, given where technology will be by the time the iPhone 26 comes out.
I know I talk a lot about Liam in these columns but I try to avoid anything too embarrassing that will haunt him later, although I’m not sure I succeed all the time. For the most part, it’s all the usual baby stuff mixed with some examples of the results of screwy genetics. While I hope this website will still be around when Liam’s in high school, I doubt any of his classmates would care enough by then to search for anything his crazy daddy wrote about his childhood.
North West will be tweeting about her sweet sixteen and Blue Ivy will be wondering why some old dude named Memphis Bleek keeps calling about being on her album. If Liam does any get future ribbing because his childhood was publically documented, he can blame it all on me. I’ll be the one apologizing profusely as he pushes me and my wheelchair down a flight of stairs.