It seems to be true more and more each day that we put every aspect of our lives on the internet. We Snapchat every squirrel we see on the way to class, and Instagram each meal (making sure that it looks pretty, of course). But, where do we draw the line?
I've noticed a strange phenomenon of oversharing going on online: my friend and I watched an entire pregnancy unfold on the internet, with every single detail shared with the woman's followers. That's all fine, but what we didn't expect was the flood of information after the baby was born. Videos. Pictures. More pictures. EVEN MORE PICTURES.
To a certain degree, it's normal for someone to take a lot of pictures of their newborn baby, but when those countless photos are all uploaded onto the internet on an Instagram page with a large following, it turns into a whole different animal.
It wasn't long before this newborn baby had an Instagram of it's very own, and I have to say, it felt wrong in more ways than one.
This child hasn't even witnessed the world yet, and they've already been thrown into the maelström that is social media. They have a "following" that likes and comments on their pictures, seeing every aspect of their life that their parent decides to share.
It's a growing trend in today's pop culture. There are "family vloggers" on YouTube that film their kids every day and post the videos online for millions of people to see; some videos only show the kids, following a "day in their lives."
This brings up a really interesting ethical question: is it okay to give a baby a social media presence? They're too young to give consent, considering that they only have a vocabulary of a couple of words. So, where do we draw the line?
People don't stop to think about how this will affect the child in the future. What if they are applying for a job one day and they're employer Googles them, only to find videos of them throwing food and using the toilet for the first time? What about dating? What if they grow up to be incredibly shy and want to have their privacy valued?
Many times we see this with celebrities and their children. Stars shelter their kids for this exact reason: they want them to have a normal childhood away from the spotlight, and decide their future for themselves. Drew Barrymore even said in an interview, "I don't want mine [children] to have mobile phones until a certain age. I will never let my children act. When they're 18, if they want to, but not before."
I think there's something really admirable about that.
Drew Barrymore grew up in the spotlight, and look where that got her: she had a drug problem by the time she hit puberty, and a really unhealthy relationship with her parents.
I'm not saying that every baby that has an Instagram is going to grow up and become an addict, but there are certain consequences of early fame that need to be addressed.
That much attention and criticism at that age can be harmful to a child, not to mention that their concepts of normalcy and privacy will be seriously affected by constantly being a social media icon.
There is also the elephant in the room: these family bloggers and Instagram parents are, much of the time, making money off of their child's presence online. Family vloggers with significant subscriber counts are paid through ad revenue and Instagram partners make money through ad campaigns. Suddenly, your baby stops being a baby, and becomes a money-making machine.
It isn't right for parents to thrust a child into something that they can't knowingly agree to, and I think that kids should have the opportunity to just be kids, without the eyes of thousands upon thousands of people on them.
Reach Staff Reporter Amanda Suarez here.