8 July 2014, by Dannie Cho
I’ve been wanting to write about this for some time now. More precisely, since the first week of April, when a friend shared this link on Facebook. I’m guessing that she must have had many requests from well-meaning friends and family members to post pictures of her newborn online.
For those who are too lazy to read the entire link, here’s a quick summary. The writer does not post pictures of her kids online because of:
1) Safety concerns
2) Privacy concerns
In addition, she shared how she created a ‘digital trust fund’ for her daughter – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc – all tied to a single account that is kept active but never used, just so that her daughter can decide on her own digital identity when she is mature enough to decide on her own.
Make no mistake, I applaud the writer’s thoughtfulness of her child, in creating a digital vacuum for her child to fill up entirely by herself. I just think that it was a little extreme. And yet, and yet… here’s a follow-up post from the same writer. Proves that there’s some truth in what she wrote, after all. The more social media you use, and the more stuff there is out there, the greater the exponential risk that something you want hidden will just be exposed. Definitely something to think about.
That being said – the wife and I already take safety and privacy into account when sharing our stories on social media – this blog on Maybebaby, a mummy-centric blog called Bubsicles.com, which Yi Lin sometimes contributes to, our Facebook accounts, and my Youtube account.
In terms of safety – We make sure that our address is never revealed, either in text or in photos. The wife and I never use location check-ins on Facebook. Sure, some people might be able to figure out where we stay, based on some of the photos posted online, but I think we’ve been able to keep it generic enough.
That being said, I have been pondering if I should go any further in securing digital anonymity for my kids. And three things immediately come to mind:
1) It’s too late anyway – The way search engines work, it’s a pretty sure bet that whatever we’ve put online before has already been indexed and some of the content has been archived somewhere. That being said, I am pretty confident that most of the information out there is about Yi Lin and I, and not the kids. (If you want to take this as a challenge, please feel free to leave your findings in the comments section and nowhere else. I’ll request the mods to still keep things confidential. I hope no one sees this as a challenge though!)
2) It’s about our community – When I Love Children first approached us to blog on maybebaby.sg, the premise was that we were embarking on a journey to parenthood through IVF. We had believed that there was a need for us to speak out about our experiences, to encourage others who are in the same boat to achieve their parenthood dreams. It has since evolved into something else, where we built a community of readers whom we try to inspire, influence and educate in every post. And truly, while our IVF experience seems to be about done at this stage of our lives, there are probably many more people who will go through that in the near future, and will benefit from what we have blogged about.
3) It’s also what we want to share with our children – When your privacy settings are done right, you limit the exposure of your kids being searchable on the internet. People my children eventually deal with (classmates, colleagues, employers, stalkers, etc) will not be able to see anything about my kids unless they add me as a friend, or my kids create their own accounts and start tagging themselves in everything without any privacy settings. However, people we have absolute trust in, who are able to see everything, will now be able to do something very important for Yi Lin and I if we happen to suddenly pass on (touch wood!).
They will be able to show our children how much joy Daddy and Mummy found in their very existence. They will be able to show our children how much we loved them and treasured them. What made us laugh. What filled us up with pride. What exasperated us and inspired us. They will learn that Daddy and Mummy believe that it is better to share than to hold back. And they will learn that because we decided to create a digital treasure trove instead of a digital vacuum.