By CATHERINE RODIE BLAGG
I updated my Facebook status with an emotional birth announcement within an hour of returning home with my precious newborn. Good news travels fast these days and with friends and relatives around the globe connected in one place it seemed the quickest and easiest way to get word out. I didn’t think twice about it.
In those days my whole world revolved around my baby. I lived in a bubble comprising of family, mothers’ group, Chai Lattés and very little else. This was very clearly reflected in my Facebook status updates; my baby’s sleep patterns (“10 hours in a row – hurruh!”), her amazing and unique talents (“G rolled over today! She is so clever!”), and then there were the sometimes graphic descriptions of the content of her nappy (“Poonami! The carpet will never be the same again!”).
I found the early days of motherhood to be an immensely lonely experience. For me, social media was just a way of reaching out and asking for a bit of support, a bit of a chat, a joke – anything to escape from the monotony of sleepless nights and dirty nappies.
Lately I’ve been reading some fairly scathing articles about ‘sharents’, the nick name given to parents who over-share mundane details regarding their offspring. It didn’t take me long to realise that I’m guilty of ‘sharenting’ – pictures and stories about my children are all over my Facebook profile, Instragram and blog. I know I’m not alone, so what’s everyone making a fuss about?
Sharents are being warned that there could be repercussions for their children down the line, with some claiming that in years to come children will need years of therapy to get over the embarrassment of that toilet training story.
Social media has changed the way we connect and, for better or worse, a whole generation of children will face the prospect of a witty poo story cropping up in a Google search from a perspective employer. I admit that could be a bit embarrassing, but I doubt very much that it will affect their job prospects.
Then there is the threat that sharenting can attract sex offenders. Understandably this is a very frightening prospect and parents should absolutely act responsibly (update security settings, no naked photos, no location maps, etc) but let’s not forget that it is a well-documented fact that in the majority of cases the attacker is someone who is known to the family.
But what’s really infuriated me is that sharents are being accused of boring their friends. Seriously… we’re such a dull bunch that some folk are turning to apps such as unbabyme.com to get rid of us.
If you’re my friend and can’t tolerate pictures of my children I don’t think you’re my friend after all. My baby pictures and anecdotes may well irritate some of my Facebook friends, but that’s okay – because some of my Facebook friends irritate me! They may well be having a grand old time, but I don’t necessarily want to know about their latest rock and roll antics and extravagant lie-ins! See? It goes both ways!
The thing about social media is that there’s room there for everyone. There is no right or wrong way to use it – it’s your little bit of internet to use as you please. It is also updated at a rate of knots – so if you don’t like what you see keep scrolling!