THE POL­I­TICS OF SHAR­ENT­ING

Grazia Middle East - - FASHION FEATURE -

IF YOU FOL­LOW my In­sta­gram ac­count then you will be well ac­quainted with the back of my baby’s head. That’s not be­cause of its beau­ti­ful shape – al­though it is rather cute and the rea­son she’s been given the nick­name ‘Tufty Squir­rel’. It’s be­cause I don’t share Greta’s face on so­cial me­dia.

In an age of shar­ing and over­shar­ing, hid­ing my baby’s face on so­cial me­dia has been met with puz­zled faces and cu­ri­ous re­marks. Her dot­ing grand­par­ents can’t un­der­stand why they can’t share her gor­geous first smile for all to see on Face­book. “We just want to show her off!” they ex­claim, while my friends think it’s hys­ter­i­cal that I sug­gest they use an emoji to cover her face on their In­sta Sto­ries. Some may think I have some­thing I want to hide, which I most def­i­nitely don’t – she’s the cutest baby I’ve ever seen (bi­ased mum alert) – and some think I’m over-cau­tious. So let me ex­plain…

When Greta was first born, I took a leaf out of Kylie Jen­ner’s book and ini­ti­ated a so­cial-me­dia lock­down on all pho­to­graphs of our baby. I wanted this in­cred­i­bly pri­vate mo­ment to be en­joyed with­out watch­ing how many likes I re­ceived. Of course, it was won­der­ful to get a flood of good wishes when we fi­nally did an­nounce her ar­rival, but we held off for 48 hours so we could be in the mo­ment with our lit­tle girl.

And then it con­tin­ued. I de­cided that all pho­to­graphs of Greta are per­sonal and pri­vate. In­stead of baby spam­ming my on­line com­mu­nity, I send out daily pics through pri­vate mes­sages and on­line jour­nal Tiny­beans, where you can choose your au­di­ence. If you’re in my What­sApp in­ner cir­cle you’ve most def­i­nitely re­ceived a photo of Greta in the buff. But sorry, Rory, my long-lost friend who I once spoke to at Fresh­ers’ Week at uni, un­for­tu­nately you won’t wit­ness the chub­bi­ness of my daugh­ter’s cheeks.

Lest we for­get the World Wide Web – ‘world’ be­ing the op­er­a­tive word here – where ev­ery­one has ac­cess to your pub­lic data. Un­for­tu­nately, this can have sin­is­ter im­pli­ca­tions. In the past month I’ve wit­nessed a close friend’s open In­sta­gram ac­count cloned – all her pho­tos and sto­ries of her chil­dren were ‘stolen’ from her ac­count and pre­sented as the cy­ber thief’s own chil­dren. But here lies the prob­lem: this im­per­son­ator didn’t ‘steal’ these pho­tos be­cause, re­ally, as soon as you hit share, you are re­lin­quish­ing any con­trol over them. That’s more than enough rea­son to hold off from post­ing Greta.

As much as I be­lieve this kid is the next Ein­stein – I swear she said “ok” when I asked if she wanted a mas­sage the other day – un­for­tu­nately my lit­tle brain­box isn’t yet able to give me per­mis­sion to start cre­at­ing her dig­i­tal foot­print. Who says it’s up to me to start cu­rat­ing her on­line life be­fore she even knows what’s go­ing on? I hope to bring up my lit­tle girl know­ing she has a choice in ev­ery­thing, and for me to post pic­tures be­fore she can say no re­ally isn’t giv­ing her a chance. As we are all well aware, a dodgy photo posted years ago can sur­face at any point and can have detri­men­tal reper­cus­sions.

Per­haps in the fu­ture I may suc­cumb to post­ing a snap of gig­gling Greta, but be­fore I do I will pause be­fore I post and ask: will this photo af­fect my daugh­ter when she’s older? Does it of­fer too much per­sonal in­for­ma­tion about her life? But for now, please en­joy her ‘back fringe’ of hair and ad­mire her lit­tle head from be­hind.

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