Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Facebook-Free Baby

Are you a mom or dad who's guilty of 'oversharenting'? The cure may be to not share at all
By Steven Leckart
The Wall Street Journal
Tue, May 15, 2012

I WOULD NEVER TELL ANYONE how to raise their kids. But I've decided to draw a line in the sand with mine. When it comes to my son, who is 3 months old, I am doing away with privacy settings altogether—by abstaining. That means my wife and I won't be posting photos or discussing him online publicly (more on that later). Like a kid born into a vegetarian or Amish family, that is just the way it will be.

This hasn't been easy. I'm no Luddite. I fit the profile of what Nielsen recently defined as "Generation C," adults between 18 and 34 who are deeply invested in digital life (the "C" stands for "connected"). I joined Friendster in 2002. Myspace in 2003. Flickr in 2004. Facebook in 2005. I've been tweeting almost daily since 2007. I've checked into Foursquare. Uploaded to YouTube. Updated my Path. And I still post regularly to Instagram, albeit privately.

But I am an early adopter by choice, not obligation. It's not that I want my son to remain hidden from the world. I just want him to inherit a decision instead of a list of passwords and default settings. If he takes part in social media, he'll eventually do so on his own terms, not mine. (At what age? No idea. I'm new at this!)

As more of Gen-C begins having kids, I suspect they'll agree. In the last decade, we've watched parents embrace social media, often too much. I call it "oversharenting": the tendency for parents to share a lot of information and photos of their kids online. Sure, there's a big difference between announcing your baby's first crawl and details of your dirty-diaper duty (or worse). But it's a slippery slope. the rest image


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