friendship

Is this the new modern day baby book?

Is this the next phase of parenting?

I like to think I’m all over social media.

When I saw the Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake #hashtag clip a few months back I was in stitches.

I, too, was guilty of talking in hashtags.

The humble hashtag. That weird button on the phone you had to press when calling any form of call centre has now become an identification symbol for all things great and small.

Including children, it now seems.

Upon recent social media stalkathons (come on we’re all guilty of it) I noticed something lots of parents were doing.

They were hashtagging their kids.

Every picture they put up had something similar to these written below it:

#babyjohnnyb

#bonnieR

#maxandme

If hashtags existed 20 years ago I wondered whether my parents would have picked:

#liselou

Or maybe a more obvious one:

#littlebrat

Either way, I am a little bit on the fence about this one.

Firstly, I am totally bummed I don’t have a hashtag about me so I can search to find baby pics of myself.

Secondly, I am so relieved there is no hashtag about me that others can search to find baby pics of me.

"Hey mum what's my hashtag?"

At first I was trawling Instagram and when I saw the hashtags I thought, “OMG, that is SO cute. These kids can search their own hashtag later. Family member can search pics. Friends can search them."

Wait. Hold up.

ANYONE can search them.

Cue creepy undertones.

While I think it is cute, and a type of modern day baby book, it is also extremely scary.

Did I mention anyone can search them? A hashtag makes your pictures public. To ANYONE.

A potential employer could search. Kids that are bullying a child could search. Estranged brothers and sisters could search each other.

Obviously someone would need to know the hashtag to search it but if your parents chose something fairly predictable it wouldn’t be hard to guess. Something like a name and initial scenario.

In a way more generic search I tested out a #babyboy on Instagram.

ADVERTISEMENT

6,061,050 photos.

Over SIX MILLION.

That’s a bit scary.

Then I chose an actual name:

#sarahjane (because it was the top 80s name and because every Sarah I’ve ever known has had the middle name Jane. And I’ve known a lot of Sarahs in my life).

That hashtag had over nine thousand photos alone.

I took the top boys name and tried it with random intials.

#danield has 712 photos.

I think most adults today grew up in an era where we paid $20 for a roll of film to get developed (unless you went el’ cheapo and could swing it for $13 somewhere). On those films were 24 photos, 27 if you managed to nab a roll that had been cut wrong and gave extras. Of those 27 you may like about 10. And of those 10 probably only 4 would be what we currently consider social media worthy.

This being the case, access to 712 photos of #danield by simply typing the hashtag is pretty extreme.

#sarahjane

I currently have 6000 photos on my phone. I got my phone in February.

I’d say about 2000 are screen shots of stuff I want to remember but never actually look at.

Another 1000 are shameless selfies (okay fine, maybe 1500).

About 600 are of my recent holiday.

The rest are of my kids.

That’s 1900 photos I’ve taken in a period of 8 months. 1900 photos I could potentially be hashtagging and putting on social media.

There are maybe 200 I’ve put on social media but, to date, none that I’ve hashtagged. Well not with my child's name.

When the internet first came out people were so wary about getting their real name online.

Now we have parents willingly creating hashtags and making their children searchable.

Many people say you are "what Google says you are". Imagine what world our kids are living in when hashtags are literally making their whole lives searchable.

Do you have a hashtag for your kids? Do you think it's appropriate?

Like this? Try these:

The 5 parenting moments that never make it onto social media

The social media trend that has to stop.

00:00 / ???