Should Parents Share a Kid’s Life Online?

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I was a baby once, a looong time ago. Some may argue I still act like one at times. However, I’m not dwelling on that point right now! I want to focus on an email from my friend Jim. He asks how will all of the content posted online of kids by their parents affect their future? Face it, parents post a lot of things about their children online in order to share with the World their child’s great looks, the A they received on that term paper, and even their latest Crayola masterpiece. What impact could this possibly have on the kids as they themselves grow into adulthood? Jim wonders how they may feel about having their privacy invaded so to speak? He also asked if I had kids of my own how I would handle things. Would I put my kids on my show, or keep them private.

This is certainly a more interesting topic for adults who have kids of their own – but it is good to get kids’ opinions, as well. We have a great mixture of both in our live community, which is a great way to get many different perspectives. The question that was asked though, is what would I do?

The answer is that I’d enjoy sharing that part of my life. Diaper changes on a live stream would be fun. Sure, the kid may grow up hating the fact that I streamed that particular event – but hey – everyone poops!

I think sharing your child’s life is ok to a point. It’s tricky, and I realize that even though I say I’d share a lot… the truth is I have no idea what I’d do if and when the situation arises. Privacy is paramount. I believe that being open is important to a child as they are growing up. Too many people are hindered because they aren’t happy about who they are. They aren’t proud of who they are, and have very little sense of self. Sharing your life (especially the happy moments) could prove to be quite beneficial to one’s self-esteem.

That being said, there are a lot of idiots online, kids and adults alike. You’ll learn to develop a really thick skin. People will form opinions where they are unwarranted. It’ll happen whether you feel it should or not. Getting used to behavior like this will help you sooner, rather than later. It can help overcome shyness, and gain you some recognition from people who believe in you and the things you do. You have a greater chance of being yourself and understanding yourself if you are open about yourself. Sharing bits of your life online can help facilitate that.

I also believe there is some amount of responsibility on the side of the adult to educate the child about proper social responsibilities. I encounter kids all the time in what I do. We have everything from teenagers up to people of retirement age in our chat room. Giving a child the ability to decide once they understand what is going on is important. Not putting your child into a potentially embarrassing situation later in life is important, as well. Let them have a say as to what they would or would not like posted publicly… and respect their wishes.

Sharing affinities and making connections, even at a young age, is a great thing. Opening your World to people you would otherwise never have met is an excellent way to broaden your horizon. Keep in mind you should never post something that will come back to bite you (or your child) in the future. What you post will live there forever. Even if you delete something… it’s still lingering somewhere… either through a re-post, an archive, or whatever!

Bottom line: it’s good to share your child’s life online, as long as you are cognizant of what can be said about the material to your child in the future. Be honest with your child about what you post, and where. Listen to them when they are old enough to understand, and let them choose whether or not you post things.

Editor’s Update:

A few weeks after this was posted, I came across an article online by Ari Herzog. He had read this post, and contacted a friend of his about this type of situation to see her thoughts on the subject. Elizabeth has chronicled her daughter’s life online since the day the child was born. It’s interesting to see the “other side” of things from her perspective.

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