SHARE THE LOVE

Go ahead and Facebook your kids’ lives—they’ll thank you for it later

Blowing out birthday candles. Shaking maracas to an original birthday song created on the spot. Running down a beach. Every day, people all over the world tune in to my social media accounts to see what my three kids are up to.

My Facebook feed is just like a sports reel—you can feel like you watched the whole game without having to sit through the boring parts. All my posts are 100% public, so I wind up having friends, relatives and complete strangers wander by and stay for the Zucker Family Show.

My daughter got her art published in a book? Share it.

My son was student of the month? Post a pic of him with the certificate.

I generally refer to each kid by age and gender. When someone who knows them refers to them by name, I don’t have a problem with that. The world was dangerous long before the internet existed. 

Every day, my kids have experiences that fill my heart with joy. My smartphone camera is my notebook, recording business receipts along with memories.

Of all the thousands of pictures my parents took of me as a child, I have exactly ten. Do I wish I had those pictures, along with the locations and details that made those memories special? You bet I do. And that is the gift I am giving my kids—an online visual archive they can refer back to whenever they want to recall a special event.

Do I have safety concerns? Of course I do. The internet is a dangerous place, full of people who could misuse the images I share with the world. But you know what? The world was dangerous long before the internet existed. Terrible things have happened to children for time immemorial. If someone really and truly wants to harm your family, they wouldn’t need the internet to do it.

There comes a point for all parents when we have to acknowledge that we cannot protect our children. One day they will have to go out into the world and face danger while we helplessly watch from the sidelines. As a social media professional, the best gift I can give my children is to gradually teach them how to deal with the online world.

Right now, my kids do not have independent accounts. I know some kids their age who are on Instagram—my husband and I are not eager to educate our kids on the benefits and dangers of social media any sooner than we absolutely have to. So for now the kids play starring roles on mom’s and dad’s social media accounts. They love hearing they have fans, and blush when people want to buy their artwork.

I absolutely adore all three of my children, and that is my goal—to share the love with anyone who wanders by. Having a world full of people who love my kids cannot possibly be a bad thing.

Follow Kathy on Twitter at @KathyZucker. We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com.

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