This past week I have seen plenty of bloggers and Facebook friends share pictures of their child’s nativity performances and school plays, which is fine for them but I won’t be sharing ours.
Firstly, and most importantly, we were asked by the school not to share. And my 7 year-old self is still scared of the headmistress, so I dare not disobey! On a more serious note I wholeheartedly agree with why she issued a blanket ‘no sharing’ request. Because people’s privacy boundaries have been blurred by social media. And I include myself in this.
Lately I’ve been reflecting on what I share, reminding myself that once it’s on the internet, it’s there forever. I have looked back at what I shared in the past with some shock. It was too much, even with my privacy settings on max (as they always have been). And my children were too young to have a say. I can’t completely erase these posts but I can start doing things differently now.
I used to justify my excessive Facebook sharing of the kids with the excuse that we have close family overseas. But we can send things privately. Using apps such as WhatsApp for data exchange, keeps data private (for the time being). Or perhaps try adding people to your family setting on iTunes to share albums over the cloud. There are several ways to share without publicly publishing and the technology is evolving constantly.
Now Loulou is 7, I have explained what sharing photos and videos means in order for me to ask her consent. I have combined that with a little foresight of my own, asking myself what she may object to being published later in life. Pictures of the school play is something I will leave her to decide on.
With Boo’s first school performance, their take on the Nativity, though sorely tempted, I have not published one single photo. Not even a delicately cropped one. Although I agree with her learning about the true meaning of Christmas, thankfully, this will be the only time she’s in the Nativity. And thank God.
Of course without the story of the birth of Jesus, we wouldn’t have our Christmas tradition, we can’t ignore this. But after my own education was zealously presumptive that Christianity (even Catholicism) was the ‘right’ way, I am happy they will move on to explore every alternative on faith. Until they are old enough to choose how they’d like to conduct their spiritual well-being, I would like their theological education to be theoretical not practical.
Loulou, in Year 2, has been learning about Judaism and Hanukkah this year and I gather from the National Curriculum, eventually all religions will be studied across the Key Stages. In my view it will be vital for her generation not only to understand the foundation of belief of each major religion but how each religion is practiced and a perspective on how religion is demographically distributed on a global scale.
My last reason for not sharing is a selfish one. Publishing photos for a wide group Facebook friends somehow makes an event feel less special, less exclusive. Connecting with people makes me feel so alive and I have had so many amazing Facebook discussions and moments with friends. There is value there. But I have started to keep selected events and special moments back. Mainly because true friends and family will never see it as Facebook bragging, they share your joy.
Of course this reduced sharing makes it incredibly difficult when you’re a blogger. Let’s call it a new skill I am working on.