With natural excitement of a first-time dad I WAS impulsive in sharing my daughter's life events - out of PRIDE. First spoken words, first walk, first mess, and other fancy firsts. I thought the whole world would want to see.
Nowadays, uploading kids photos and videos has become a 'norm' in the parenting world. We have our own criteria of what's "too good not to share".
Yes I'm guilty.
But not until she's in school I realized what should be stopped. It's not just all about her and us anymore. She has started creating new connections and she'll be more exposed to the outside world without us by her side.
Let's be reminded, anything we share online lasts forever.
From a dad's perspective, here are 12 things I think must not be publicly shared on social media:
1. School milestonesWe are all excited to see them read and write their first words, or paint their first artwork, or their first dance. These developments are definitely big accomplishments for us. But let's be aware that kids have different stages of development. Some learn to color before talking; Some develop motor skills faster than verbal; Some actively dance than do good in math; and so on.
Do not delight so much if your kids learn particular skills ahead of others. This is normal. Normal.
I understand the pride, but be mindful because you might be sending the wrong message. Not all high grades equate to greatness, and not all low grades mean bad.
Kids are shaping up their passion from their earliest days in school. The future athletes don't necessarily need to keep up with the scientists or mathematicians. The future educators don't really need high grades in arts.
Stop posting report cards or test paper scores online. It will backfire if it becomes a habit. How would you feel if one day your child gets low marks? Set your expectations the right way.
Grades are only results from a school test, they will excel in a lot of other ways, especially if we recognize what their strengths really are.
I'd rather be proud of their good character than high grades.
All kindergartens get stars. There's no point of bragging about it. They are either rewards for really doing good, or consolation for being silly.
4. Minor awards
Best head dress, best in eating hotdogs, best in Bring Me, best in GMRC... people don't need to see these.
5. Packed lunches
You are blessed if you have the time, money and energy to prepare decorated meals. Your fancy lunch boxes don't imply bigger value than those simple yet full meals. I have nothing against the art, especially if it works for your purpose of encouraging your kids to eat well.
It's all about your intention of sharing it in public. If you want to inspire your friends, continue. Make sure the message says so. To just brag about how beautiful and crafty you make your kids baon, that's something that should go down the drain.
Ooops, my wife would kill me for this.-=(",)=-
6. Stories with school whereabouts
Some parents post stories that include the time they drop and pick up the kids - the name of the school, them in uniform. Not only that you're vulnerable to people with harmful intentions; school details doesn't really matter for the public to see. Don't tell these stories.
7. Conversations & study sessions transcripts
It's cute, but only her grandma actually cares a lot about it. Your child is genius, good. They are sweet, okay. Don't rub it in. People who do not posts their relationship stories might have actually far more real intimate conversations than you.
8. New school supplies and other things
Not everyone are as wealthy as you. You don't have to post their new notebooks, bags, pencils, shoes - they are irrelevant to your child's progress.
9. Gifts and rewards
The world don't need to know what you give your kids for their birthdays or for Christmas or for getting high grades.
Let’s be sensitive that not all our friends can dress up their kids according to trend. Fashion comes with price tags. Some of us tend to overdo this adding bags, shoes and other accessories to our "little models". People love to see kids in their cute outfits once in a while BUT not everyday. Post with a meaningful purpose, not #OOTDs.
We “unconsciously” contribute to igniting vanity. What could go wrong is the kids concept of what’s necessary and what’s not. Don't allow them to conform to the patterns of this world. They don't have to.
Simple getup is beautiful. Don’t spend so much money and effort in dressing up your star.
…unless you are in showbiz or in the digital influence business.
11. Shaming photos
Nutella on the face and Halloween costumes are cute, but a boy dressed as a girl, a kid doing business in the potty? Nah! These shaming photos can have devastating effects on kids in the short and long term. Either they become subjects to bullying or they grow bully themselves. Consider how posting certain pictures online may impact your child at school.
12. Photos with their classmates in it
Your social media manners may not be the same with other parents. So before you post a group picture, ask the other parents involved if it's okay. Be ethical.
Taking pictures is not the problem, irresponsible posting online is. Facebook has a privacy settings you can modify to manage who sees your photos. You can also just send them as direct message to the ones who really want to see them - uhmmm grandma and grandpa - unless you are after the approval of others, and you delight in the number of likes and comments.
We are trapped in a celebrity mentality. We thought our online accounts are our personal 'fame space.' At the end of the day all our babies have tantrums, but we only share happy moments in the limelight.
We have different parenting patterns. Respect. Don't sound like we are the expert - that we oughta know what's right. In fact, this blog won't sit well with some of you. I respect that.
It all boils down to our goal in posting these things online. It's about being conscious to who we may harm with insensitive, thought-lacking posts. If you have meaningful and life-changing intentions, then all I've written above don't direct to you.
And if your children ask why you're not sharing much about them, then it's an opportunity to teach about the value of humility. Let other people do the talking about the goodness in your kids.
Let me end by sharing this verse from Proverbs:
"Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth - a stranger, not your own lips"
We cannot be perfect parents, but we can be wise.