To Share or Not to Share on Social Media

When my son was born earlier this year, my husband and I made the conscious decision not to announce it on Facebook. Up until that point we hadn’t mentioned anything about my pregnancy on there, so we didn’t suddenly see any reason to start sharing then.

After he was born we sent a text to our close friends and family to let them know our exciting news and to be completely honest we felt that was the perfect way to get our news out to everyone. A day or so went by and I had a couple of people ask me if and when I was going to make an announcement on Facebook, when I told them that I wasn’t going to, I got that ‘OOHHHH’ in response. I was a bit taken back by this, I mean why did I have to announce it on Facebook? I thought it was my choice, how and when I announced the birth of my son, but apparently I didn’t do it the way people now expected.

I’m very selective with what I do and don’t share on all social media platforms and we didn’t feel the need to share this news with what I’m going to call our Facebook acquaintances. You know, those people you went to school with 10 years ago, or worked with when you were 15, but haven’t seen them since you finished school or left that job. For the most part, I only leave people that I actually like on my Facebook, but I still didn’t want to announce it on there. Everyone tells me to just change my privacy settings so that only the people I select can see what I post, but that just sounds like a whole lot of work for nothing.

Maybe I’m being a bit precious about my son, but I just don’t want to overshare on social media. He has his whole life ahead of him and I feel like when he’s older, he should have the right to decide what is and isn’t shared with the world. Having said that, I really have no problem with anyone else wanting to share everything about their children on the internet. That’s their choice and as a parent, it is they who decide what is best for their children. I’ve just made the choice to not really put anything out there.

It does however become an issue when other people start sharing things about you and your children online. I have to admit, prior to having my son, I was very very guilty of this. I would post pictures of my niece and nephew or my friend’s kids, without even thinking twice about it. I just figured if they didn’t like it they’d tell me, but in reality it would be a very awkward discussion to have, so chances are they didn’t like it, but never said anything.

Maybe I’m a bit ignorant, but I thought by the very fact that my husband and I had not posted a thing about our son on Facebook, that people would get the hint and not do so. I mean really, you can’t post pictures of someone’s kids before they ever do, but apparently not everyone go the hint. Clearly I needed to be more specific and directly ask people not to post anything about my son.

I’ve only had a couple of incidences where others have posted pictures of my son online without speaking to me about it first (I sound so precious saying this). Nothing is posted to my wall without my authorisation, so I can control that aspect, but I can’t control their wall. I have to admit, the first time I saw a photo of my son posted on Facebook, I actually felt a bit sick. I felt like it was my job to protect him and someone had put photos of him out there for the world to see and I really wasn’t ok with it. I was actually really surprised by my reaction, never in a million years did I think that I would feel this way, or that seeing a picture of my child would bring out so much fear and emotion. Really what the hell was I so scared about? It’s just a photo of a gorgeous smiling baby, but I hated seeing it in that forum and I felt like there was nothing I could do about it.

Now, I would never be one of those people that won’t let anyone take photos of my kids, because that’s a whole new level of precious. All I want is to be able to control how much information is shared about my children online. I have posted a couple of pictures of my son on Instagram, but my posts are few and far between and I put a lot of thought into it before I post anything. But just because I’ve posted a couple of things, doesn’t give others the right to do so without clearing it with me first.
So what have I taken from this experience? Trust your gut, if you’re not comfortable with something don’t do it and sure as hell don’t let other pressure you into it. You and only you determine what is shared about you and your family with the world.

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