I’m worried I’m ‘papping’ my own children. In case you don’t know what ‘papping’ is, it’s when a photographer jumps out at a celebrity and takes multiple photos.
That’s what I do to my kids, ALL THE TIME.
I photo-bomb them constantly, desperate for the perfect shot. I take ten to fifteen photos of single moments. Damn technology.
When I was little my mum would buy film and she had 24-36 chances to capture as many photos of us as possible. She would never waste them all on one or two special moments. If she didn’t get the perfect shot the first time, that was it. A blurred photo of me blowing out my birthday candles would have to do. And it wasn’t often I was photographed on my own. She was always having to step back to fit in all the people she’d crammed into single photo opportunities.
These days, it’s very different.
For example, when I was at my daughter’s toddler ballet performance yesterday, I took seven photos of the same moment. Caterina was presented with a medal and certificate from her dance teacher. Instead of waiting for one, special moment, I photographed her walking up to her teacher, their interaction and then took four photos of them facing me alone, then took a few of her sitting down afterwards.
So not only am I completely disconnecting myself from my children's special moments by putting a camera in between us, not only have I lost the ability to enjoy my children's live without desperately documenting every single second of it, I've also turned my children into little stars.
They are completely comfortable with the fact that I will 'pap' them every time they do something special, something ordinary, every time they wear a new outfit and sometimes just because.
Experts have now confirmed that taking photos of our children too often makes them feel 'overly important'. And if that's not bad enough, our toddlers and children are even taking regular 'selfies'. They they spend way too much time wanting to view photos of themselves.
We are raising our children with an inflated sense of importance, which goes totally against how I was raised. I was raised knowing I was one of many and nothing special. I think that's were I got my urge to strive and achieve.
Judith Myers-Wall is a professor of human development and family studies at Purdue University in the US. She told Today.com, “We need to keep track of what values we are communicating by taking the picture and posting and distributing the picture. Are you taking a picture of the child and not as a family as a whole? They might think they are the center of the universe.”
Still, she doesn't blame parents. She says the effect is unintentional and the urge to take so many photos of our children has become not only habitual, but a way we try to control how fast they are growing and how time really does fly.
She recommends taking group shots over individual ones. That way parents can be parents documenting their families, not paparazzi capturing a single subject's every move.
Are you guilty of being your children's paparazzi?