2 Comments

  1. jgwolfensberger
    November 16, 2013 @ 11:31 pm

    I am fascinated by this topic in some peripheral ways as well. Two things possibly interesting for consideration or discussion:

    1. As both an Xer about 40 at the time and someone who helped blaze the Internet trail in a corporate setting, I was a slow adopter of Facebook. I really could not grasp how it made sense to be openly identifiable online. I came from an Internet in the 90s where we relished anonymity and avatars – it seemed to make sense. I slowly came around in time, however, when my understanding of the Internet “better becoming itself” evolved, and I realized that our online existence no longer merited referring to non-online as “IRL” (in real life)… our online experience had become very much “real life,” and this – I am convinced – will not change unless a solar flare knocks out the power grid.

    2. A follow question I would like to pursue to these parent types is what should we do as parents when it comes to sharing our childrens’ images and experiences online? The online existence has, as mentioned, evolved into “real life,” and family is so central to real life. I have the option, of course, to only share an image or anecdote of my child with only family on Facebook (provided I understand how to use friend groups, which many do not), but often it is compelling to share beyond family to friends, which inevitably leads to acquaintances or semi-professional peers, etc. I believe in the culture of sharing very much now, which would require a long article, so I’m inclined to share stuff about my family. But apart from concerns over my child’s safety, what level of confidentiality do we owe our minors? The only measure I have taken now that my child is almost 10 is that I have granted him veto power on any image I am compelled to post of him. But I’m not sure if this is enough.

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  2. Anne Boysen
    November 17, 2013 @ 6:12 am

    Thank you for the great insight, James! It seems to be a question with no clear answer indeed. I wonder though if there is actually a pretty good case to be made that since these children’s identity will be shaped both by their parents and also their google searches, credit card transactions and soon, from the all the data collected by their “smart utility appliances”, a nice positive childhood image curated by a loving parent in social media could possibly offset a less fortunate “default image”. But it does compromise their autonomy for sure.

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