fbpx
19/05/2019 Communication Science news and articles

Parenting in the digital age

Parenting is and always has been hard. With social media nowadays, it hasn’t become easier. Would you want your kids to develop a digital footprint earlier than they develop the ability to speak?


As our lives get increasingly digitized, parents’ relationships with their children are further mediated by how both parties interact with social media. From monitoring their children through online platforms to building a career based on their children, the Internet has given parents a new tool to share their children’s lives to not only their friends and relatives, but also strangers. Consequently, parents today have much to think about when it comes to their children’s personhood and privacy.

A digital archive of your child
As a child who grew up with the massive onset of social media, it’s rather common to see your face plastered on your parents’ social media. In fact, it’s a prevalent experience—a 2010 study held by AVG shows that 81% percent of infants under the age of 2 in participating countries already have a digital footprint. Some parents even go further, with 23% of children having digital footprints before birth through pictures of sonograms.

Many parents love to take pictures of their kids, and it’s never been easier to do so. Almost every parent has a smartphone or a digital camera; with a few taps and you’ll get a picture of your child. While some parents prefer cloud-based services such as Google Drive or Dropbox to store these memories, some choose to immortalize their children’s birth and growth through social media platforms such as YouTube or Instagram.

News broke out in early January that the then-unborn daughter of influencers Kyler and Madison Fisher already had an Instagram account, racking up tens of thousands followers before her birth. As of now, Halston Blake’s Instagram (with 392K followers and counting!) is filled with adorable photoshoots and pictures of the child. Furthermore, fans of the influencer family could also see Halston Blake’s birth on YouTube, as the family has dutifully photographed and videoed the moments leading up to and after her birth. While most families would resort to home videos and photos snapped on their phones, many influencers, especially those who capitalize on being parents, choose to document every iota of their children’s lives.

Children who have had their entire lives documented would grow up with exact timestamps of their birth, and countless pictures showing their growth as time passes. It’s a significant change from previous generations, as more and more parents are now setting up digital archives of photographs and videos to ensure that their children would have reminders of their childhood and adolescence. With parents posting more content of their children, children will literally have a digital trail of their growth to look back on as the years pass. But the ethics of exposing (some might even say exploiting) your child’s privacy and personal history for Internet fodder is a question that also concerns scholars and parents alike.

An ethical dilemma
A Washington Post essay details how a mother reacts to her daughter’s upset reaction of seeing herself being featured on many of her mother’s writings. In defense, she writes that “[…] amputating parts of my experience feels as abusive to our relationship as writing about her without any consideration for her feelings and privacy”. While this may seem like a reasonable defense, it is worth considering that the person she’s writing about is her 14-year-old daughter. Children’s lives do not exist for public consumption; parents who often draw from their children’s experiences and stories walk a fine line between intruding on their children’s privacy and utilizing their freedom of speech much like everyone else. After all, children are still people; they have a right to their own privacy, and they may disapprove of their parents’ actions.

Another ethical dilemma is when their children are so thoroughly featured in paid partnerships with major brands. For example, the Fisher twins can earn their parents from $10,000 to $50,000 per sponsorship post, depending on the platform (YouTube or Instagram). Considering that children are still minors, it’s worth questioning whether the amount of hours that influencer parents devote towards photoshoots, videos, and sponsored content their children feature in can be counted as hours of work for the children as well. They will grow up with the sense that what they do mostly consists of performance, whether it’s for their parents or the ever-present camera. With any shred of anonymity gone, how will these children adapt if they decide, as adults, that they dislike and disapprove of their entire childhood being open to strangers for consumption and enjoyment?

These are difficult questions that many parents still struggle to answer. While several countries have set up ‘right to be forgotten’ laws (where children can sue their parents for posting private information and pictures of them), many others lack the protection these children may need. In the meantime, parents should attempt to discuss their offspring’s digital presence with their own children.

Cover: Unsplash/Tim Gouw

78 Total Views 1 Views Today

Reacties

reacties

Related Posts

The Brutally Feminine Murder of the Anti-Hero

18/05/2019

18/05/2019

We all love a hero, but sometimes, an anti-hero is even better. This article explores moral ambiguity and why we are attracted to it.

#RIPDorisDay

17/05/2019

17/05/2019

The world mourns as news of the passing of Doris Day arrives. Medium remembers a woman whose movies and music earned her the status of a Hollywood legend.

Tessa: De geneeskundestudent die geniet van haar leven in Maastricht

13/05/2019

13/05/2019

Dit keer geen student uit Amsterdam, maar een student uit Maastricht! Medium sprak met geneeskundestudent Tessa over haar studentenleven in Maastricht en hoe communicatie een rol speelt in haar studie.

Faking a Disease Online: Munchausen by Internet

12/05/2019

12/05/2019

Who can we trust online? This article explores the distressing phenomenon of Munchausen by internet.

Your nightlife review: De School, Amsterdam

10/05/2019

10/05/2019

Gabby reviews De School, mainly known as a techno nightclub. Is it worth a visit? And why is there such a strict doorpolicy? We sum up the good and bad points for you.

The Pursuit of the Perfect Picture and its Consequences

09/05/2019

09/05/2019

A lot of people nowadays do the craziest things to get the most beautiful Instagram photos. It's all fun and games, until people's properties get destroyed. Angela discusses 3 places in the world where 'Instagram tourists' have taken over.

Quality of public debate and social media

07/05/2019

07/05/2019

Does social media add or subtract from the quality of public debate today? Aakansha shares her take on the controversial topic.

Everything Not Saved Will be Lost

03/05/2019

03/05/2019

As our lives today are intertwined with that of the objects we are surrounded by, Ada dives into minimalism, decluttering and downsizing.

Medium TV – Brexit, just what the bloody hell went wrong? | MediumTV #19

30/04/2019

30/04/2019

Medium TV asked Jeppe and Charlie a few questions on Brexit. Watch the interview and listen to their opinions about it.

Outraved: Dance Demonstration for Your Education | MediumTV #18

29/04/2019

29/04/2019

Medium was present at 12 April's Outraved; a demonstration against budget cuts on education.

Medium TV interviews Leon Willems, director of Free Press Unlimited | MediumTV #17

29/04/2019

29/04/2019

Leon Willems, director of Free Press Unlimited since May 2011

VR Butterfly (World)

29/04/2019

29/04/2019

In a world where we are losing touch with our natural environment, can virtual reality save the day?

Just dance! Social interaction and communication inside a nightclub

26/04/2019

26/04/2019

When the beat drops and strobes lights start flashing through the dark, the way people dance functions as a primitive but universal language. It brings people from all places together through an intense form of communication. Gabby explains why dancing can function as a communicative medium and how this works.

Is Having a Restricted Press Really Such a Bad Thing?

22/04/2019

22/04/2019

Having a government-controlled press, singapore has been ranked 150th out of 180 countries on the World Freedom Press Index. But is this controlled press really a bad thing in a time were fake news thrives?

Backstage bij Dotcomspot: Raf

19/04/2019

19/04/2019

In deze editie van backstage sprak Medium met Raf die stage loopt bij Dotcomsport.

EnjoyInstagram