Social media: Now, even babies tweet

Many parents feel it’s essential to snap up Twitter handles and Gmail accounts for their kids before someone grabs those names.

“Harper Estelle Wolfeld-Gosk has 6,282 Twitter followers,” said Joe Coscarelli in NYMag.com. “She’s 2 weeks old.” The infant daughter of Today show correspondent Jenna Wolfe is just one of thousands of kids who have Twitter accounts that are written in their voices but are “set up, maintained, and authored by parents.” Here’s a sample of little Harper’s tweets: “Pooped AND pee’d on Dr’s changing table. Everyone laughed.”

Why bother with such twaddle? Blame both “everyday parental pride” and “tech-savvy paranoia.” Many parents feel it’s essential to snap up Twitter handles and Gmail accounts for their kids before someone grabs those names. Once those accounts are established, parents can’t resist the temptation to put wisecracks in their kids’ mouths. Some critics are calling this “oversharenting’’—sharing too much information about kids online, said Eliana Dockterman in Time.com. One study found that 94 percent of parents post pictures of their kids on the Internet, with newborns uploaded to Facebook an average of 57.9 minutes after their birth.

You won’t find my daughter there, said Amy Webb in Slate.com. My husband and I have decided we will keep all photos of and references to her off the Internet until she’s mature enough to decide what to post. Exposing your child on social media poses huge issues for his or her “future self.” Do you really want photos of your 5-year-old in a bathing suit circulating permanently on the Internet? Do you want Google and Facebook to start compiling data about your kids before they can even crawl, to be shared with advertisers or intrusive government agencies or unknown searchers? “It’s inevitable that our daughter will become a public figure, because we’re all public figures in this new digital age.” But it should be her, not us, who decides what’s in that public identity.

So, parents, please spare us, said Mary Elizabeth Williams in Salon.com. All these babies tweeting and posting supposedly amusing observations on Facebook really is a bit much. “It’s like we all woke up one day in a mass version of Look Who’s Talking.” Children are not meant to be a “witty accessory” to your own online life. Besides, said Caity Weaver in Gawker.com, making sure your kid has the right handle on a Facebook and Instagram account 20 years from now is laughably shortsighted. It’s likely to be as useful as 1990s parents stockpiling “CompuServe screen names and laser disc players.”

Subscribe to the NetLingo Blog via Email or RSS here!



0 comments:

Post a Comment