Proud Parents or Bad Narratives?

I read a very interesting article this week and would love to hear your thoughts on it. The full article can be found here, but here are some highlights:

Today’s 30-somethings are the first generation whose children are coming of age alongside the social Web.

Technology is making an indelible imprint on modern parenting, and there is a sense that our data, our personal information, are no longer within our control. But new research findings indicate that openness and information sharing are a way of life for many adults, and personal privacy is readily compromised, along with personal information about one’s children…

More than half (55%) said they have shared information or posted pictures from a vacation. Also, nearly two-thirds of parents (66%) reported posting pictures of their children online, and slightly more than half (56%) shared news of a child’s accomplishment…

Well-intentioned parents with great instincts have a desire to share and connect about their children, which often helps foster and maintain social ties to relatives and friends. Our extended families live in different states, and we enjoy being able to keep up with siblings, nieces and nephews. But there is a cost to connection, and many are unclear about what is lost and what is at stake…

On the most basic level, we want to be able to tell our story about our lives. But, in the case of our children, a permanent and public story has already been recorded about them before they have a chance to decide whether they want to participate or even whether the narrative is true to their own vision of self…

The message from parents, as witnessed from behavior, is clear. Children grow up learning that posting pictures of one’s self and sharing personal information is typical. We’ve created a sense of normality about a world where what’s private is public. The sense of being entitled to privacy has been devalued.

And our children will never have known a world without this sort of exposure. What does a worldview lacking an expectation of privacy mean for the rest of society?…

We are living in an era in which every [online information] is collected, stored, archived, aggregated and potentially shared or sold. And… there is no delete key for the Internet. Once it’s out there, it’s probably out there forever.

…never before have parents had the ability to publish the details of their children’s lives in such a widespread manner.

A potentially embarrassing anecdote won’t faze a toddler, but how does the unilateral flow of information affect a tween or teenager?…

More than 900 million of us (and counting) willingly participate in this exchange of information for convenience and connection. But we implicate more than ourselves in the transaction.

We have a right for our data to not rise up and destroy us. We have a right to create our own narrative about our lives. We have a right to control how much we want the world to know about us.

These are fundamental to our personal autonomy.

Our children deserve the same protections.

What do you think?

Are Sultan and Miller on to something? Or are they just being alarmist?

What story are you telling on social media?

How often do you post about your kids? Do you stop to consider what story you are telling for them?

What is our use of social media teaching (or going to teach) our kids about social media?

I am looking forward to this discussion!

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One thought on “Proud Parents or Bad Narratives?

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