Starting a Digital Life

A few months back, I had to create email addresses for our kids.

To apply for Global Entry, each applicant has to have their own email address. That’s kind of ridiculous, seeing as only one of my kids can read right now and neither can write.

Anyway. I created Gmail accounts for both of them. Google offers parental control options and a family setting which reassured me.

But that got me thinking.

Is it too early to start our boys’ digital life?

It’s true, they’ve been featured on Instagram since their earliest days.

I always told myself it was because my closest family and friends were on Instagram, and therefore I wanted to share pictures of the boys there.

But let’s be honest: It’s about the little buzz you get at the number of likes on a post.

Lately, though, I’ve gone off Instagram. I deleted it from my phone, because I found myself mindlessly wasting time there (and clicking on one too many ads).

All that to say: the boys are already online.

How far to take it?

I was thinking about it today, because I thought it might be a good idea to create a Goodreads account for our Bug.

We’ve been reading chapter books together for the better part of a year, now. He’s already read a good number, and I’d love for him to have a record of the books he’s read. Then when he’s old enough, give him this profile.

But for now, it’s just a thought.

Not Entirely Comfortable

This is now a thing, I guess. People creating profiles here and there for their kids. Populating them with photos, info, etc.

This seems to be today’s version of scrapbooking.

Instead of creating family albums where we collect birth announcements, photos, holiday cards and other memories, we now do it all online.

Or, we just don’t do it at all.

And that’s fair enough, I guess. Why pay to print out a bunch of photos if we have them so accessible on our phones? And albums are so bulky and take up lots of space.

(Data servers are huge too, but eh, that’s not our problem.)

I guess I’m just not that comfortable putting so much of our kids’ lives up on the internet, without their informed consent.

Scaling It Back

So for now, I’m holding off. I’ve largely kept them off Facebook, only sharing from time to time. I had this idea that somehow Instagram was different (it’s not). I’ve put the breaks on that, too.

I don’t know if this will be forever. There are two very different pulls: the concerns about privacy and the security of our photos and information on the internet, vs. the desire to share beautiful (and cute and hilarious) moments with distant family and friends.

For now, considering the effect social media has on me, I’m limiting my own use of it.

As a consequence, our kids will show up less on social media than before.

We’ll see how it goes.