Instagram for babies: A smart guide for new parents

 

There’s one born every minute. Instagram accounts for babies, that is.

With more and more proud young mums and dads are setting up social media accounts for their offspring, Family Zone cyber experts take you through the pros and cons - and then offer some practical advice.

As young parents, you probably cut your teeth on MySpace. And you’ve grown up along with Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. So is it any wonder that it just feels natural to share pics and posts about the most photogenic bundle of joy the world has ever seen - i.e., your new baby? 

There's plenty to love about sharing baby love on Instagram. But you need to be aware of the potential risks, too - and take action to minimse them.  

What’s great about the ‘gram

  • It’s like an always-accessible visual diary of your child’s journey, from bump to babyhood and beyond. 
  • Grandparents and other family members and friends can share the love, no matter where in the world they happen to be.
  • It’s possible to set up a totally private account for your child - separate from your or your partner’s personal account - to afford stronger protection to their privacy and identity.

What’s not so great about the ‘gram

  • Even if your child’s account is private, followers can still screenshot their images and distribute them to people you don’t know.
  • Insta is all about image. That’s the whole point. Too much emphasis on appearance can be harmful as your child grows and develops, and divert attention away from what really matters.
  • You are creating a digital identity for your child well before they could possibly have any input or control over those decisions. Is that an ethical issue? However you answer that question, it’s one every parent needs to consider. 

Screen Shot 2019-10-24 at 11.33.37 AM

Advice from The Modern Parent

Mum of five Martine Oglethorpe, Family Zone cyber expert and director of the Melbourne-based consultancy The Modern Parent, understands the pull of Instagram better than most.

But she urges parents to think about the time and energy they may be spending getting the perfect shot (not to mention editing, filtering and adding special effects …)  - as opposed to simply staying in the moment, in real time.

“We don’t want to be spending all our time getting the right shot, and that in turn means we are placing a lot of emphasis on looks and image as a focus of self worth.”

And then there’s the time and attention you’re giving to the platform, possibly at the expense of your child. (What babies really need is time to gaze into mum and dad’s eyes - not into the lens of a camera.)

“Sharing a few snaps is of course ok, but we need to be careful that we are still allowing kids to be kids and having plenty of time to play, and be messy and muddy without worrying too much about how photogenic they are”

Screen Shot 2019-10-24 at 11.34.20 AM

Martine also recommends:

  • limiting the number of images you post
  • keeping accounts private AND sharing only with select friendship groups. (This will give you a better chance of keeping images safe - because let’s face it, how private can a “private” account with over 500 members really be?)
  • being sensible about nude or bath-time images that could be targeted by the wrong people. 
  • staying mindful that you are creating a permanent digital footprint, which might cause embarrassment or resentment later on. 
  • privileging the person - i.e., the relationship you have with your child - not the platform.
  • getting into the habit of asking their permission to post - as soon as they are old enough - to reinforce the importance of respecting privacy and maintaining control over one’s online images.





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Topics: Parental Controls, Screen time, Mobile Apps, instagram, Social Media, digital parenting

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