KIDS ON INSTAGRAM? BIEN SUR

You may, or may not, have heard that the French have got their pantalons in a bunch over the whole ‘posting images of your kids online’ thing as they pass a law allowing kids to sue their parents for posting pics of them online. This week, the ever brilliant Mother Pukka expressed her feelings on the matter eloquently: Instagram is the modern day photo album and as long as we can make the assumption that (most) parents are making choices based on love for their kids, we can let them make their own decisions about whether to post or not. Non?

Of course, there are always the opinionated few who feel the need to impose their views and decisions upon others who may choose differently. They’re the same people that sneer at you when you bust out a bottle instead of a boob, or when you resort to fish fingers rather than homemade organic goujons caught and made by some female-only cooperative in Outer Mongolia. This kind of anti-sisterhood, mean-girls judgey shit is not OK and, quite frankly, more than a little boring. Why don’t you just concentrate on what you’re doing and let me get on with what I’m doing, d’accord?

So, now that we’ve established that no-one needs to feel guilty about the choices they make out of love for their children and based on their own personal circumstances, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of what this law that the French are implementing actually means.

Do you remember, maybe 20 years ago, when the media went bonkers because a court in America allowed some childhood star to divorce his parents (it could have been Mccauley Culkin but, frankly, I don’t give a shit). Remember how we all scoffed at how totally bonkers and batshit crazy those knobby Americans were and how it was all SO Hollywood and they’d lost their teeny-tiny minds? Well, this whole thing is no different.

The very nature of parenting is that we get to make the decisions because they can’t. Guys, listen up, because this is important: it’s what parents are there for. Yes, the small humans probably aren’t grasping the concept of Instagram and privacy and the internet but, guess what, they don’t understand the ins-and-outs of religion but millions of people still happily bounce them down to church and dunk their heads and declare them saved. We don’t sue parents for that. I don’t remember consulting my Small before I chose to feed her meat, or send her to nursery. I don’t remember my mother consulting me before she shoved me on TV as a child actor in Emmerdale Farm for a year when I was three years old (true story) and I certainly didn’t realise the implications of her taking all those naked pics of me on holiday proudly displaying a white bum when I was seven; little did I know that she’d blow them all up to A1 and display them on the walls at my 21st birthday party.

And you know what? She gets to do that because she’s my mama. She raised me, kept me safe, looked after me, took me on holiday, captured the moments on film all so that, when I was 21, I could relive those moment and yes, blush and feign mortification, but actually stop and take a moment to remember how lucky I was to have such an awesome mama.

And yes, I know (because I’m not an idiot) that the internet is different. I know that people I wouldn’t invite to my 21st birthday party will have access to all the images that I choose to post but you know what? I don’t live my life assuming there’s a pervert around every filtered corner. I don’t post inappropriate images of my Small and the ones I don’t want the internet to see I use this really handy, clever trick called PRIVACY SETTINGS. It’s amazing, really. It means that only people you want to can see your pics. So, essentially, it’s like only showing the family photo album the people who you’d invite into your house…you know? Like we used to in the old days?

If there’s a chance that she won’t get a job in 20 years time because I posted non-naked, cute images of her when she was a kid then I’m worried about what job she’s going for. Yes employers will be able to rake up their digital footprint but what employer is going to be remotely interested in a pic of a potential employee as a two-year old wearing her mama’s sunglasses and covered in chocolate ice-cream? Remember when everyone thought books were dangerous? It’s the same thing.

If my Small gets to an age where she starts to feel uncomfortable about it and if she ever asks me to posting images of her then, you know what? I will without question. But until then, I’m making choices based on my own instincts and beliefs and if you don’t like it, then don’t look. If she doesn’t like it then, like every normal parental relationship, we’ll have a blazing row about it, she’ll storm out, slam the door and go and sulk at her best friends house.

Old skool. Tres cool.

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