parent opinion

OPINION: 'Let's be real about the impact our obsession with Instagram is having on our kids.'

Who among us has taken a photo of their child today? This has been happening for multiple generations now. We document our lives and have the ability to reflect on times gone past.

But who has then deleted the not-so-perfect looking shots, favoured the shot where your little cherub looks cutest, cropped it, edited it, filtered it, and posted it on various social media channels, waiting patiently to revel in the attention it so deserves? (Babies get a lot of traction!)

And who has then refreshed their feed multiple times to ensure that their entire network agrees with the level of cuteness in said image?

There’s a lot of talk about the selfie-generation, but there’s a whole generation of their offspring who are planting their best angles all over social too.

This is the plight of the Insta-mum: we spent our pre-baby lives on social media and are now in baby-land, absolutely besotted with our bundles of joy and documenting this for the world to see.

What those funny baby faces really mean. Post continues after video.

Video via MMC

There are some positives to this plight. Our socials are overloaded with random memes, depressing news stories and ads about the latest fad diet. So it’s uplifting to see photos of innocent, happy toddlers with bright futures in front of them, and it’s heart-warming and encouraging to see our families and friends’ families grow.

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But the motivation behind why we are taking these photos or videos and obsessively posting them on social platforms is where it starts to seem a tad… unhealthy. Could we be contributing to creating a self-image problem worse than what magazines and advertising gave us?

And consider the knock-on effect for things like kids’ clothing, choices about our holiday locations and activities we choose for our children.

Babies are messy creatures, but practicality has been replaced by whether or not something photographs well or keeps up with current trends. Once, mothers dressed their six-month-olds in $5 outfits and hand-me-downs; nowadays a $60 linen smock dress is considered the norm, even when its lifespan is a few months (lest it get stained by orange coloured puree.)

At a child’s birthday, my friend’s baby was asked to smile for the camera. She batted her eyelids and began to pose as if it were her day job. She’s 18 months old…

There’s constant talk about how Instagram gives us a glorified view of people’s lives and an unattainable standard to live up to. Could it be that we’re buying into this by posting filtered images of our smiling kids on their best behaviour?

What’s the social etiquette when it comes to “liking” a post on social media? The Mamamia Out Loud team discuss. Post continues below.

The values we impart on our children are often not considered until our kids are old enough to ask questions or answer back. This is proving tricky in the digital age where documenting our every move is totally normal.

What are we really telling our kids about our world when we are constantly demanding they look cute for the camera?

What are your thoughts on Insta-mums? Tell us in the comments below.

Lauren Brender is a mum, freelance writer, speech and language pathologist, and coffee addict.

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