Facebook is starting to make me feel like a grump.
One of my friends posted three separate batches of photos of her toddler yesterday. There were photos from a sledding adventure, photos from afternoon playtime, and then some mom-and-son selfies to end the night. Another friend, who is a single mother, filmed her daughter opening all her Christmas gifts this year, rather than putting the camera down and experiencing a special holiday moment just between the two of them. And my own 4-year-old niece never lets us take pictures of her anymore, because she's sick of her mother following her around with an iPhone.
Yup, it looks like I've reached the latest milestone in my life: I get to start complaining about baby photos!
Now I know I'm certainly not the first person to get fed up with photos on the Internet. It seems silly that I still feel the need to say anything about this. But as my friends and I are approaching our mid- to late-twenties, I'm suddenly being flooded with photos of their children. Of course I am delighted for those who have started families, and I love to see what they're up to now. But do my friends—who are otherwise very bright and rational human beings—really not see anything wrong with hiding behind the camera every time they spend time with their kids? It saddens me that they spend so much energy documenting every move their child makes, rather than quietly savoring some of it.
I completely understand that posting photos online is a great way to update relatives who live far away. And of course it makes sense to share big moments or particularly adorable snapshots. But we really don't need to be inundated with dozens of photos (especially if they're blurry or practically identical to the rest in the batch!) Not to mention, this only reinforces the stereotype that we millennials are self-absorbed and narcissistic.
Personally, when my turn comes, I'm going to aim to handle things just like my best friend Sam does. Her son was born in August, and since then, I've seen maybe ten photos total of him online. They're rare enough that when his face pops up in my Newsfeed, I actually feel excited to see how big he's grown. Plus, I get the feeling she's relishing motherhood and spending too much time with her baby and her husband to waste time sitting around on her computer. That's my goal too.
Then again, I'm adopting a puppy this weekend. Maybe my new "fur baby" will inspire me to go on a photo rampage and I'll be spamming all my followers with them come Monday. You never know.
Digital Devices and Children
Image: Young mother with kid taking photo via Shutterstock.