I am responding to an opinion piece titled “Don’t be afraid to share pictures of your children,” that was written by Sarah Gawdin and published in the March 19, 2019 edition of the Hope Standard.
While I appreciate Ms. Gawdin’s enthusiasm, I believe that her Utopian image of the world and society is unfortunately way ahead of our time. We live in a world of all kinds of predators and dangers for our children and perhaps we should use media platforms to inform and warn parents about the dangers that social media brings to our children, rather than indulge parents to share everything about their children publicly.
Ms. Gawdin suggests that publicly sharing pictures of children illustrates how amazing they are and “makes them feel like a star”. Children are indeed amazing, but in my opinion, the level of accomplishment the child feels comes from the values we teach them at home. I am sure if you ask any child, not going to school would make them feel happy and yet we send our kids to school because we prioritize their needs. Publicly sharing pictures of the children because it makes them “feel like a star” is not a priority when compared to the risks and moreover, it translates into children looking for confidence from outside sources. Therefore it implies that in order for kids to reach proper confidence levels, they should seek approval from members of our community. I believe if we teach the kids in that manner, the future might bring us a number of non-confident individuals who are on an endless quest of searching for validity by means of showcasing themselves to their community with the main purpose being to satisfy the people around them.
Moreover, Ms. Gawdin agrees with the point of the view that child’s identity should be kept private for legal or safety reasons but fails to see how posting a child’s picture can make them a target which is concerning due to a growth in a number of cases related to the social media and target assaults on children.
Additionally, Ms. Gawdin is of the opinion that if we teach our children of the ways of the internet and the rules around safe image sharing while they are still young, they will understand how to safely navigate their social media appearances. I acknowledge the importance of teaching the children of the same however, I have trouble understanding how can we teach the kids about the safety if the main idea is to indulge in public image sharing and to not be afraid to do so, which is contradictory with the sole idea of the safety. Another point Ms. Gawdin fails to differentiate is made out of two segments: children’s safety in social media setting when parents post their pictures publicly, and development of proper personal values when it comes to the social media appearance of the child. The effects of social media have shown to be detrimental to self confidence, therefore we should teach our children to be critical of social media and methods to build their self confidence while educating ourselves at the same time, which will bring a positive impact on the future of society and the next generations to come.
Ms. Gawdin refers to the old saying that “it takes a village to raise a child and why not allow that village the chance to celebrate its children and their success”. I believe the context of this saying is misinterpreted because Ms. Gawdin refers to the village as the same as a community and therefore both inside and outside of our circle. In my opinion the ”village” is consisted of our family and close friends and each individual in that circle is meant to teach something valuable to our children in a relationship built on family ties and trust, therefore it is acceptable to share photos and accomplishments of our children among the closest members of our circle.
I assume Ms. Gawdin, like the rest of us, closes her front doors. Why do we do that? We trust our community but still we take precautions to protect our children and ourselves, because when it comes to kids there is no room to take risks of any kind. Posting our children’s photos publicly can be harmless but there is also unfortunately great chance for it to be dangerous. So why take the risk?
Maria Buntic Bosnjak