When last we left, I was about to go to my 25th college reunion. I'm back now and I almost ended up trading in for a smartphone Saturday morning. The trigger was an inability to show photos of my kids like everyone else around me was doing. I considered running home, quickly printing out 8 x 10 paper photos of them, throwing them in a 3-hole punch and then a loose-leaf binder. But there were various social hours to get to and I take my cocktails, I mean, socializing, very seriously. And I also have a dearth of three-ring binders at home.
But I definitely felt the pull of the ease and fun of having a camera and the past five years' worth of developmental phases and growth spurts in a handy digital catch-all spot. In other words, pictures of my kids on my phone. I kind of felt like a bad mom. I'm just as besotted with my children as the next parent, I just don't have the ability to flash photos of them right now to interested, or even disinterested but standing close enough, parties. What kind of mom doesn't have photos of their kids? One currently with a flip phone, that's who.
Having a flip phone does have one positive in this whole conundrum though. Not being able to take or show photos also means I don't have to wonder should I post the photo to social media or not.
I think there is a valid ethical point about posting photos of people, e.g. kids, who are not able to understand what it means to have a photo of themselves posted online. One parenting expert, Dr. Kirsty Goodwin, recently wrote:
"Digital DNA is my term for digital footprint, because I don't think the term 'footprint' is strong enough when you take into consideration every image, every comment, every post has some kind of record.
"Parents are posting their kids' life on social media and curating that on their behalf.
"What habits are we teaching our kids if we are curating every moment of their lives on digital devices? Are there private moments that would be better kept private?"
Such great questions, Dr. Kirsty Goodwin!
Sharenting, which is apparently what it's called-posting photos of your kids online, comes with some consequences from the mundane to the rather profound. In particular, this whole notion of perfection and inability to show vulnerability in a true sense on social media. Another biggie in the parenting expert world, Michael Grose, makes a great point about this in a HuffPost article:
"It goes to vulnerability. We want our kids to be vulnerable and no one is vulnerable on social media. We want our kids to be real, and no one is real on social media.
"I never put a picture of myself up when I'm struggling."
"I just think [it is important] to reinforce the notion it's okay to fail. That is a really big issue for many children. They don't want to be seen as failures, a lot of kids are perfectionists."
And reinforce that it's okay to not post every little adorability on FB, Instagram, etc.
I write this because I had a real compulsion to post everylittlething on Facebook. All of it! Remember that saying, "If it's not on Facebook, it didn't happen?" That was me! There was some perverse sense for me that posting these wee little nuggets of sweetness were more indelible, more meaningful when I shared them with the world. I know...crazy!
So all of this is to say, the flip phone is again somewhere in my house as I continue this journey with it that comes with its benefits and its challenges. I know a smartphone is definitely in my future with its efficiencies and easier everything, but I think I need to still wait until the glamour of it continues to wane for me.