The debate: Should you post about your kids on Facebook?

Two moms face off on the topic of posting about kids on Facebook.

Photo: Linus Ohman/iStockphoto

“Yes you should post about your kids on Facebook”
Lisa van de Geyn, mom of two

When I was 18 weeks pregnant with our first daughter, Addyson, I started writing publicly (including at my Today’s Parent blog) about all things mom-to-be. With my first post, some of my friends, my dad and even complete strangers thought I’d already taken it too far — I put up pictures of the three positive pee-on-a-stick tests that confirmed I’d soon be a mother. That post also confirmed I’d be one of those moms who constantly bombards social networks with tales of her precious offspring.

Since then, there’s pret­ty much nothing too taboo, crass or personal for me to blog, write, tweet or Facebook about. I’ve filled friends’ newsfeeds with stories of my pregnancy gas, and I’ve uploaded JPEGs of both Addyson and my second daughter, Peyton, fresh out of my oven, in the operating room after my C-sections. I’ve shared the first time the girls smiled, slept through the night, said “mama,” devoured a whole Wendy’s cheeseburger, and even how excruciatingly long it took my first-born to finally poop on the pot­ty. (The kid was almost four!) But that’s the whole point of Facebook and most social networking sites, isn’t it? If I wasn’t blabbing about my brood — a.k.a. my greatest achievements — I’d be bragging about how many kilometres I ran, divulging all my new dream job details or showing snapshots of my new puppy/family trip to Cabo/perfect wedding/deliciously cute nephew.

Sure, some moms are more conservative, for fear of what their tots will one day find when they’re web-savvy enough to google themselves (or their parents). Frankly, I don’t care what the World Wide Web knows about my life, or my kids’ lives. (I never disclose anything that would jeopardize their safe­ty.) Will Addyson be devastated when she discovers that I told the entire Internet about her toilet habits? I’m hoping she inherits my good sense of humour, and that I teach her to be confident enough not to worry about the Judgey McJudgersons out there.

So I’ll continue to write about my two muses — they’re the people who mean the most to me. If you’re tired of anecdotes about Addyson or posts about Peyton, I won’t take it personally if you unfriend me.

“No, you shouldn’t post about your kids on Facebook”
Lea Zeltserman, mom of one

Next time you share an adorable photo of your kid on Facebook, remember this: It’s sort of like inviting every future boyfriend or girlfriend over to spy on, say, that time when she was three and did that funny thing in the tub, naked. Why not invite her future boss, clients, and random creepy neighbours to take a look, too? You can’t “shush” an embarrassing Facebook photo like you can quiet your mother during a meet-the-parents dinner.

No, I’m not a Luddite. Check Google — if there’s an opinion to be had, I’m tweeting, Facebooking and blogging it. My preschooler can get to Dora on my iPad at a frighteningly fast pace. Personal domain name? Locked down for her already. And Skyping with the grandparents halfway across the country is one of our favourite activities. But my kid does not exist on Facebook. I didn’t post an image of the inside of my uterus when I was pregnant. Wit­ty status updates, humble brags, the latest bedtime drama, playground snapshots — they’re all off-limits. (OK, except maybe that her first word was “cheese.” I’m still enormously proud.)

My child can’t delete my lapses of judgment when it comes to over sharing. And I can’t predict the future of Facebook, nor what social media and privacy settings will be like in 10 or 20 years, when today’s toddlers become teens and young adults. Neither can you. This is the first generation of kids to grow up with their entire lives documented online, and I’m not convinced we’ve thought enough about the impact that will have. (Let’s not talk about the dreamy Instagram childhood we’re broadcasting on our kids’ behalf.)

My digital identity is the only version that has ever existed — I created it. As a parent, I see myself as the supporting character in another human being’s brand-new life story — Facebooking it all for my daughter takes away her abili­ty to tell her story herself.

I’ve made my deal with the devil otherwise known as Facebook, eyes wide open, and you probably have, too. But giving away my daughter’s privacy forever, without so much as a please, just feels wrong.

I can’t quit you, Facebook, but you can’t have my kid.

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