Online childhood

The discussions about how spaces are produced online remind me of a debate in the Danish media about parent’s behavior on social media. The discussion goes on whether it is okay for parents to put pictures of their young children online. Experts have argued that children have the right to privacy and therefore, parents should refrain from putting pictures of them online. The problem with the pictures is also that they can be used and abused if the images are publicly available.

 11117827_10155432849280457_1499286492_nThis issue is an example of how parents produce or create an online space for their children without giving them the opportunity to choose for them self. When looking on Facebook or Instagram you see plenty of pictures of cute young children playing, eating, laughing etc. On Instagram, if you search on the hash tag #baby more than 70 millions pictures come up. Today, everything can be posted and shared on the social platforms. Without giving the children the choice to being on the Internet many parents create the children’s identity online from a very young age. Often the images do not illustrate who the children actually are, but they present a picture to the world of how the parents want others to see their children.One can argue that the online space creates a sort of “fake” identity for them. A fake identity that the children afterwards have to live up to.

To some people posting photos of your babies has almost become a social norm where it is expected from the surroundings that you as a parent post pictures of your baby so that your friends/followers can follow the children growing up. They expect the parents to create their children’s body online. And also many friends and family members post pictures of babies when visiting, maybe even if you as a parent don’t actually want them to, and then they take part in creating the children’s body online – still without giving the children a choice.

In class we have discussed the concept of “micro-celebrities” who in this context reminds me of the 11101014_10155432848895457_1860187837_nso-called “Mum-bloggers”. In Denmark these are a big group of very popular bloggers who blog about their everyday life as parents and post pictures of their family etc. On a daily basis they interact with big online communities consisting of followers who they inspire, advice and entertain. To the mum bloggers the online space has not only become a lifestyle. To some it has also become a profession where they earn money, for example by cooperating with companies by promoting theirs products. The mum bloggers then make money on creating their children and family’s space online by posting pictures and by writing about their lives.

Questions:

Do you think children should have the choice to decide them self how they want to be presented on the social media? Is it okay for parents to create their children’s identity online?

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