Within the last ten years and with the advent of the–now extremely irrelevant–Myspace, there has been a social media explosion. As a twenty-something, for the last five years, I have seen increasing amounts of posts of newborns and fetuses showing up on my Facebook and Twitter feeds.
One article even cites a survey showing that nearly 2/3 of all infants make it on Facebook within an hour of being born. With all of this baby frenzy on social media it is important to examine the negatives that may come along with the ability to quickly share those photos to a large number of people.
With growing concerns about online privacy, I often wonder what makes otherwise normal individuals feel the need to share their intimate moments with, not only friends, but the hundreds of acquaintances that they have on Facebook or other social media sites. Now that I am pregnant, I understand the desire to quickly disseminate information about your pregnancy, but I also do not want my child to have a social media presence from practically the moment of conception, here’s why:
This alone should be scary enough, but those adorable photos that you post of your newborn are owned by Facebook as soon as you post them-forever. Meaning that even if you decide later that you want to delete them, Facebook still retains a copy. I don’t know about you, but I’m not exactly “down” for Facebook to use my infant to make a profit. Don’t believe me, take a good hard look at the document that you supposedly already read when signing up for the ‘book.
Second, when it comes to ultrasound photos specifically, maybe 1/10-and that’s being generous if you have a lot of friends-actually want to delve into the depths of your uterus. I know that prior to being pregnant, I certainly didn’t. That’s a moment for you, your significant other, your close family, and extremely close friends. Seriously, it is kind of creepy. I doubt you’d post any photos from any other medical procedures on social media, so what makes the photos of the tiny human floating around in your most private area any different? Luckily for those who really don’t want to see it there is an app for that.
Finally, take a good hard look at social media usage for young people. There are definite problems there and not just with maintaining anonymity, although since children are unable to make informed decisions until much further down the road than infancy, anonymity should be a concern as well. In an article posted on Slate last Fall, the author tells the story of a young girl who Facebook’s algorithms were able to identify the infant daughter. Not only is that terrifying in a big brother sort of way, but it also points out the sophistication of computers and highlights how difficult it will be in the future for our children to be able to avoid the monster that is social media. If we examine the motive for social media companies to create these algorithms it is to gain increased profit from us, again-do you really want social media companies to be profiting off of your adorable bundle of joy?