Raising Kids in the Age of the Internet

I’ve made it clear how I feel about using the Internet to stoke the fires of obsessive worrying as a new parent. But there are other facets of the digital parenting age that warrant discussion.

babygaze

FACEBOOK:

When I first got pregnant, I was adamant about not posting pictures of my child on Facebook. In my mind, it seemed unfair to publicize a person incapable of making the choice to do so. When Ella is a teenager, would she be resentful of baby pictures I’d spattered on Facebook? It’s hard to say how I would feel, since all my baby pictures are safely stored in physical family albums at my grandmother’s house. Ultimately, I decided to post at least a few pictures of her because so many people were clamoring for them and it seems that in addition to being potentially invasive, it’s a great way to involve physically distant, but caring friends and family in her process of growing up.

BLOGS:

I love reading blogs belonging to other moms with babies around Ella’s age. My current favorites are:

What I Wore
see anna jane.
Born to Be a Bride
Tales of Me and the Husband
Cupcakes and Cashmere

Of course, as is frequently the issue with blogs, all these ladies seem to have perfect lives, where everything is always under control, their babies are never crying and they always have time to do their hair and put on cute clothes. Since I spend 80% of my time in sweatpants, wishing all my old clothes would not only fit me immediately, but also magically become nursing-friendly, it can end up being a bit of a downward spiral if I don’t remind myself that the blogs only portray a small piece of life and that surely they have problems too.

INSTAGRAM:

Again, I love following cute baby brands or Instagrammers with beautiful, stylish babies, but this just reinforces a new facet of consumerism. Where did she get those leggings for that baby? Ella needs more headbands. I should get her an outfit for x occasion. While I’m sure the urge to dress baby girls in adorable outfits is as old as time, it can’t possibly be as omnipresent as it is now that every Instagram post is a commercial for some new brand or baby “accessory” (scarves, bandanas, etc. etc. etc.)

APPS:

Baby-related apps can be wonderful tools. I L-O-V-E the “Eat Sleep” app for tracking patterns in Ella’s eating and sleeping habits. It was also incredibly useful for the first few weeks when I was asked at every doctor’s appointment how many diapers she’d gone through recently. But between baby-related apps, and the aforementioned Instagram addictions, I have my phone out quite a lot. Ella probably doesn’t understand when she looks at me on my phone and I explain, “I’m doing this for you,” so the upshot is that she just sees me on my phone all the time. Not an image I want to imprint upon my infant daughter. What did my parents do when they were hanging out with us kids? Since smartphones didn’t exist, I’d be willing to bet that they focused most/all of their attention on us!

COMMUNITY BOARDS:

It’s marvelous that we moms have such easy and quick access to other moms to ask questions, get opinions or vent about the trials of motherhood. What is not so good is how obsessive it has caused people to be. Posting pictures of your kid’s rash? Asking other moms how long you should let your baby cry in his crib at night before going to comfort him? In MY opinion, these are questions better left to a physician or decided upon by the parents. Every child is different, so any response about such questions from another mom is only going to be an opinion. It’s like using WebMD to diagnose yourself.

AMAZON:

As a Prime member, it’s just a little too easy to “1-click order” and have something arrive two days later. Items I’ve accumulated due to the ease of this process:

-baby leg warmers
-swaddle sacks in multiple sizes
-multiple nursing pillows
-baby leggings glaore

The point is, we no longer have to think about what we want to purchase, drive to the store, pick it out, stand in line and physically hand over a form of payment. It’s mindless and convenient, so I definitely end up spending more money than I would otherwise.

Any other potential pitfalls or boons of the Internet parenting era that I missed?

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