Such Pretty Faces

A Space to Relate and Create

At the request of a dear friend (and my boss), I am writing today about my use of social media as it pertains to my children. But as always, some context is needed to fully understand how it came to be.

In my experience, I have seen, heard and known a lot of folks engage in “pre-thinking” about the decisions they will make as parents for their kids. I was and am not one of those types by nature, rather I figured I would be (and I am) the kind of parent that makes decisions as they need to be made, based on the information I have at the time. But the need for significant, impactful decision making for us came even before the children did.

Let me explain.

My wife and I always planned to try for a biological child and foster/adopt a child. Given the laws of nature, we opted to try for the biological child first. (To answer the question you are dying to ask, she would have been the carrier. I cannot wrap my brain around WHY women choose to push a big head out of a small hole). You’ve put the pieces together by now (surely) that we could not conceive “naturally” and so we worked with a fertility specialist. So, the first big decision we had to make that would impact our future child was choosing the sperm donor.  We discussed this at length for weeks, given the magnitude of the decision at hand. One of the biggest points of discussion was if the donor was open to being contacted or if they wanted no contact. I thought about this from all the possible angles, and what felt the truest in my soul was making the decision that would at least afford my future child the option of choosing for herself when she got older.

Fast forward a bit…we have beautiful 4.5 year old twin girls and have had to make many decisions for them so far, as you’d expect. Where to live, how to decorate their rooms, what toys to buy, where to send them to Pre-K etc. Whenever possible, we include them on the decision making, teach them to evaluate all of the choices and think through what it would look like to make each choice. Perhaps a bit heavy for 4 year olds, but the ability to communicate and problem solve is a highly valued skillset that we are intentionally cultivating. With every major decision (and there have been several), my guiding thought is “what do I need to choose for them now, and what impact will my choice have?”  This question is always followed up with “when they ask me why I made the choice I made, can I look them in the eye and tell them I did what I thought was right? That I considered the impact on them even if they didn’t get a vote in the final decision?”

Light hearted stuff, I know.

Early on with our kiddos, we made a choice to refrain from posting them in any online forum, and prohibiting our family and friends from doing the same. It was a very easy decision for me, but harder for my wife and some family members who are avid Facebook users. She (and they) wanted to be able to brag about how adorable our kids are (off the charts, naturally) and share the funny things they say/do. Just like millions of people do. But for me, it is a clear violation of their privacy, and also flies in the face of all I do to  keep them safe. Many people flood their social media accounts with personal details of their kids, pictures, snapshots of intimate moments etc and I always find myself thinking “how is that kiddo going to react when they get old enough to see their parents social media posts of them?” Will they laugh, or be embarrassed? Will they feel shame, or lose trust in their parents, or will they retaliate with pix and personal details of their parents? Whatever their future reaction will be, it will be too late to change it at that point. 

Now, I have no problem sharing pix or videos or funny stories with friends and families, but I do not see the need to extend it to anyone in the world. Our kiddos know they are loved, celebrated and how proud they make us simply for being them. We are teaching them those things on purpose, not just because it makes a social media post garner a lot of “likes.” And let’s face it, no matter what your privacy settings are, we simply cannot be guaranteed that anything we put out on the internet is safe.  It is simply not worth any amount of “likes” to me to risk that. And if my kids ask me one day why we did not post anything involving them on social media, I feel 100% comfortable looking them in the eye and saying “because when you are old enough to use social media, it will be your choice what you share with the world about yourself, not mine.”

Righteous as it may sound, and very well may be, I have zero regrets with this choice. It is one of the decisions I feel the best about as a parent, and a major way I feel I am helping keep them safe. 

If you disagree, cool. Post away and enjoy all it brings you!

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