Photo albums and scrapbooks are taking a backseat when it comes to capturing treasured family moments, as it appears the millennial moms are now opting for social media profiles for their kids instead.
A survey conducted by Gerber.com indicated that almost 40% of moms aged between 18 and 34 created social media accounts for their children before their first birthday.
For some a social media profile for their child is the easiest way to maintain their personal identity as well as a modern reserve of memories, updates and milestones for family and friends. For others the concept is completely foreign.
Who’s doing it?
Law & Order star Ice-T and his wife, Coco Austin, created Twitter (@BabyChanelworld) and Instagram (@babychanelnicole) profiles for their daughter Chanel Nicole. Just hours after her birth, both profiles had a combined number of 30 000 followers.
Local singer Loyiso Bala and his wife, entertainment manager, Jennifer, have Facebook and Instagram accounts for their little girl Kenzie as a fun way to connect with family and friends. To date @kenziebala has a combined following of just over 7 000 followers.
To the contrary, TV personality, blogger (www.modernmommy.co.za), and mother of two Jo-Ann Strauss only posts pictures of her children with their faces hidden, as a way of protecting them from public scrutiny.
As with most parenting trends, this has certainly become a hot topic among moms who quite often band into the for-or-against camp. Whatever your views, the decision to create a social media profile for your child is a personal one that should be well considered.
Tips for children’s social media profiles
Maintain the essence:
Should you decide to create a profile for your child, be clear on what the purpose of the profile is and stick to this.
Think before you post:
Have a healthy respect for the personhood of your child. In sharing images, remember the ‘Save As’ tool is available to everyone who views your posts. Openly sharing content about your child can expose you to unwarranted scrutiny from strangers (which can be particularly difficult if your child is of school-going age).
Safety is key:
Be careful not to reveal too much information regarding where you live, your child’s day-care facility or places that you frequent, as this could potentially put you or your child at risk.
Some parents have taken an offline approach by creating private email accounts. The account is used to store childhood memorabilia, which can later be shared as an 18th or 21st birthday gift.
There is a lot to consider before creating a profile for your child, such as the boundaries regarding what is acceptable to post, when your child will have a say in the content, and when you will transfer control of the account to your child. Pausing to answer these questions will help you determine the kind of profile you create, and the manner in which you post – if at all.
Here’s what you had to say:
Jane Mary Philip, Johannesburg
I think it’s a bad idea. Unfortunately there are too many dangerous people out there and social media accounts are easily hacked. Also, if you look at social media law, the more pictures you post of your kids, the less recourse you have if the photos are misused.
Chantalle Ingram, Pretoria
We feel it’s too dangerous. Our nine-year-old may not have a profile and has actually not asked for one either. We’ve also taken the decision to limit her screen time.
Stephen and Keilah Green, Cape Town
Because we live a large life, we created an Instagram account for our son so family and friends can follow his growth and milestones. It’s also a great online photo album that we can show our kids one day.
Jennifer Bala, Johannesburg
It’s a fun way for us to record moments that we feel comfortable sharing with the public. I am in control of what I put out there and my intentions are always positive. I know social media can be used in negative ways, but thankfully we haven’t been exposed to such. If I ever felt threatened or unsafe about the profile in any way I could lock or even delete her accounts with the simple click of a button.