American Culture

What cute baby picture posts may lead to …

You know them — the social media parents.

They learn she’s pregnant with her first child. Joy consumes them. The announcement hits Twitter with abdominal photo or sonogram: “I’m preggers! #thefirst #babybump #joyful”

The author, ever analog ...

The author, ever analog …

Husband and wife create an email account for the unborn child. They send a book’s worth of loving messages for her to read years from now. Husband or wife (usually wife) creates a WordPress blog to chronicle the family journey.

Delivery room photos of happy husband and sweat-soaked wife holding the minutes-old child hit Facebook. Baby clothes choices choke Instagram.

The predictable follows, mostly with photos. Cute baby eating in high chair, face smeared with mushed peas. Cute baby’s bare butt. Cute baby sleeping blissfully. Cute baby in cute baby holder. Selfies (usually by mom) holding cute baby smiling, regurgitating, sleeping, crying (don’t bother to pick one; you’ll eventually see them all). Cute baby with family puppy or kitten.

Then it’s toddler toddling. Kid taking her first steps. First play date. First day of pre-school. Pre-school graduation. First day of kindergarten. Kindergarten graduation. Various religious functions (baptism, bris, first communion, bar mitzvah, aqiqah, etc.)

And more. Kid pictures while on vacation. Kid pictures with mom and dad driving somewhere. Pictures of mom or dad sleeping on the coach holding the kid. Grandparents, smiling broadly, holding the kid.

Kid pictures in the yard, on the swing, playing catch, first ride on the bike without training wheels. Kid pictures at the dinner table. Kid pictures at Easter. Ballet pictures. Little League pictures. After-school activity pictures. Soccer mom pictures. Graduation-from-car-seat pictures.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest — so many social media — tell us the kid’s favorite toys, foods, desserts, t-shirts, books, hats, movies, bands, singers, and every other damn thing Mommy and Daddy share obsessively with the data-driven universe.

Hundreds, more likely thousands, of parent-taken, parent-posted pictures from birth to …

Then the child hits that age — maybe 10, 12, maybe 14 — you know, that age when she becomes aware of herself, acquiring that sense of self-centeredness all children reach.

She turns to Mommy and Daddy and asks:

“What is this thing called privacy? And why don’t I have any?”

2 replies »

  1. Perhaps the most annoying aspect of all of this, to me, is the fact that while parents of newborns and toddlers are establishing a pattern of eradicating their child’s privacy online, they’re maintaining the historic, self-absorbed tradition of assuming that everyone finds their child’s messy, shit-smeared first years to be as cute and fascinating as they do.

    Spare us, you oblivious twits.

    • Don’t worry– I spared you.

      No, seriously. I spared you. I like this stuff, but I don’t push media about my children unless I’m reasonably sure people are interested. Most of the time, it’s to my daughter’s art and photography mentors, actually. Y’know, education. What parents are supposed to do.

      Oh, don’t worry. I’ve heard plenty of rants from people like yourself. A good many of them are proudly kid-free, and that’s fine, but I believe they can keep their opinions to themselves on my time. Feel free to look me up on Flickr, and decide for yourself if I’m the pushy parental sort.