Why I do post pictures of my kids online — Tim Lai
My two daughters have more Instragram followers than me. Albeit, my Instagram is essentially dormant, and the followers of their dedicated, private accounts number less than two-dozen close friends and family. On my Facebook, I have countless images of them, individually and together, usually posted in batches in an album every now and then rather than single snaps, so that feeds aren’t regularly filled with their mugs.
As you can gather, I’m a parent who posts pictures of their kids. Yes, one of those.
You see, photography is one of my main escapes from the daily grind. It’s a creative outlet to frame those milestone and mundane moments in time and a way to remember certain details in a world that’s filled with non-essential noise. My shots are mainly captured via my Nikon DSLR, with some taken on my iPhone, so I generally take more time than others to edit what I want to share.
I have two lovely muses in my life — a pair that gives me so much pride — and documenting their growth is very important to me, since storytelling and history are pillars of who I am. And for much of my family, including my mom and brother who live out west, this is one of their main ways of keeping up with the little Lais, in addition to FaceTime.
I’m quite cognizant of what I share understanding their digital stamp will be around for a long time. None of our social media accounts aren’t open to the public, and we’re not seeking added attention with #babiesofinstagram and the like. But these pictures I post are a union of an ongoing documentation of my life, which they play a big part of, and the passion to snap multiple frames.
Why I don’t post pictures of my kid online — Tracey Tong
In the year and two months since she was born, our daughter’s had only two photos posted online that show her face. This is one of them.
I am probably on social media way more than is healthy, but I want to limit Millicent’s digital footprint until she decides for herself that it’s OK.
I love seeing photos of my friends’ children on Facebook. I adore newborn pictures, taken minutes after baby makes her arrival, and this time of year my newsfeed is full of toddlers in sweet hand-knit sweaters, seated in pumpkin patches. Millie has photos like these too. So far, she’s been the subject of nearly 8,000 shots taken by her shutterbug mama, some of which capture her cuteness so well that I have to fight the impulse to share her beaming smile and shining grey eyes.
Photos posted to social media are no longer within your control and it’s impossible to know where they will end up — potentially on the screens of child predators and identity thieves — or how these photos will affect your kids down the line. (I decided that because the Star’s digital readership is comparatively limited, I would be fine with posting Millie’s image alongside this column — but as proud as I am of my work, I won’t be clicking “share”).
This is why I turn down photo requests from well-meaning Facebook friends. Instead, I’ll invite them over to meet Millie and have a coffee — and they’ll be glad they came. Any photo I would have sent pales in comparison to the real thing.
Tim Lai, 33, is a public relations specialist and a father of two daughters, a toddler and a newborn. He lives in Mississauga.
Tracey Tong is a 36-year-old freelance journalist and mom to toddler Millie. She lives and works in Ottawa and Toronto.