Posted On: 12/01/2015
By: Zoe Delaney
Why I’m going to throw a toddler tantrum if I see one more baby picture….
My mum has an abundance of photo albums; filled with enough images of me as a child to provide me with a #throwbackthursday for the rest of my life. However, I’m not sure whether my debut as a train passenger is amongst them – I don’t think I could even tell you the age of which I first boarded a train. Not a problem the child I encountered the other day will have in the future. As I struggled to board a packed train at Liverpool Lime Street, I learnt that the reason passengers were struggling to get seated was due to a woman at the front of the carriage; snapping away at her new born. “Just one more – baby’s first train ride” she practically squealed while seemingly deaf to her fellow passengers practically bellowing “excuse me” at her. It wouldn’t have been that annoying if it hadn’t been the Northern Line train to Preston – if you’ve ever had the misfortune to board the train that is essentially a cattle bus then you’ll appreciate it’s hardly a milestone that needs commemorating.
While our childhood pictures reside safely in our parent’s attics, babies born to this camera phone wielding generation will see their early years stored on the internet for all to see. Whereas mums before us did things like ensure photography was banned during children’s swimming lessons, just in case a paedophile somehow snuck into the local baths, we’re comfortable to plaster our pride and joy naked in the tub all over the web. It just doesn’t sit right with me. I don’t have any children (before anyone says it; no, I won’t feel differently when I have kids) but If I ever do decide to procreate then I will think very carefully about what I want to share with my internet pals.
A US study found that 63% of mums use Facebook; with a whopping 97% of them posting pictures of their little sprogs, 89% posting status updates about them, and 46% even feel the need to treat social media to videos of their babies. Children have a life online before they even start school; with the amount of scan photos knocking around, most start their social media story while still in the womb.
You can have your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram privacy settings set tighter than a nun’s woo woo but it’s murky waters about who actually owns the rights to any pictures posted on social media. Not just that, but should everyone on your friends list really have the honour of seeing your precious family moments? Let’s be honest, we’ve all got that friend lurking on our Facebook still; the school friend we sat next to in year 9 History but haven’t spoken to since, other than the obligatory ‘Happy Birthday’ yearly message. Should they really have a front row ticket to watching your child grow up online? What about that girl you exchanged Twitter handles with after becoming best mates, pissed, in a club toilet during Fresher’s Week? Each to their own but I feel a lot of people forget just exactly how many people have access to their cherished images.
I must admit, I feel I’m masking my true agenda behind this piece by expressing safety concerns. The real reason I despise excessive baby pictures on social media is plain and simple – they’re so bloody tedious. This isn’t ground-breaking news; half the people on Twitter probably joined as an alternative to the baby bores dominating Facebook. When stuck in mundane social situations Twitter can transport us to a wittier world; filled with sarcastic quips, the live tweeting of TV programmes that can be more entertaining than the original show and the breakdowns of Z list celebrities, limited to 140 characters. Things are changing though; not only are users at risk of seeing Sir Ian Botham’s penis when they open up Twitter but now baby braggers have found their way into our timelines. The beginning of September saw an influx of kids in school uniforms being Tweeted with pride (a child of school going age attending school is not an achievement; it’s a legal requirement). Between the snap happy parents and the newly revised format, Twitter looks like it will be descending into a Facebook clone in the not so distant future.
I’m not opposed to the odd picture now and again – hey, you’ve recently squeezed a person out of your vagina, show that fact off. I constantly live tweet my shambles of a life and if I successfully make a dinner more complex than beans on toast I feel the need to provide photo evidence so who am I to judge? But everything in moderation, parents. I follow a few people on Twitter who regularly post pictures of their offspring that actually make my ovaries twitch (is that a thing?) but I think it’s due to the fact that they’re amusing situations accompanied with witty captions as opposed to the generic “this baby boy is my absolute world xxxx” style comments. If you’re going to dress your child up as Heisenberg then that I want in my feed – another snap of it laid in a cot looking like every other baby in the world? No thanks.
If you really can’t help yourself inflicting your camera roll online then please try and keep it to Instagram at the very least. They’re at home there and we can quietly unfollow you without you easily finding out.
Follow Zoe on twitter here – she’s pretty hilarious…
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