They’re precious moments that our proud parents insist on bringing out at those awkward family gatherings. It’s a physical keepsake that can be hidden under a pillow and away from prying eyes, unlike today where it takes less than a moment to upload, like and share a picture from anywhere in the world.
The need to document every aspect of our lives is made even easier with social media and photosharing apps. It’s the age of Instagram and Snapchat, and new parents are lapping it up.
The Washington Post columnist Erica Jackson Curran recently documented her journey into motherhood online and started a private Instagram account for her son at 42 weeks pregnant.
“I wanted to share a picture of my enormous bump with close friends and family, but not with the acquaintances, strangers and spammers on my personal accounts. I invited a few people to follow, with the intention of posting the occasional baby photo to satisfy the cravings of those who cared to see,” she wrote.
Erica documented insignificant moments that she felt were special and shared them freely in the semi-private space. For some parents, this is good enough, but for others it’s a constant overwhelming bombardment of baby pictures.
When does it become too much? Celebs seem to be taking it to the extreme by documenting baby’s introduction to the world in the delivery room. US music producer DJ Khaled went as far as filming his son’s birth on Snapchat. Reality TV star Blac Chyna created her own version of the mannequin challenge while in labour.
Rapper Ice T and Coco’s baby girl, Chanel Nicole, has her own Instagram account with more than 400K followers. This seems to be the norm as many celeb babies are already born with their own social media accounts – copywritten, of course.
Do you post pictures of your baby on social media? We put the question to parents in a Facebook post.
Terri-Liza Fortein shares pics of her children on Facebook because she says it allows her to connect with family that’s scattered across the globe: “Social media brings us closer together and we can share special moments. It’s also a great back-up to have when losing a phone.”
What about privacy issues? The thought of complete strangers leering from behind the safety of their computers is enough to shock any parent into disbelief.
Asanda Sokanyile, mom of a five-year-old daughter, agrees: “Personally I just feel it is a safety risk now to have pics of your children floating around on social media. You simply do not know what pervert is lurking in the background.”
Quinton Mtyala brings up a valuable point – Facebook has facial recognition software.
The social media’s Help Centre page states: “We currently use facial recognition software that uses an algorithm to calculate a unique number based on someone’s facial features.”
In a nutshell, facial recognition software identifies a person from a digital image or video frame by comparing selected facial features from the image and a face database.
Gee Motsepe from HDI Youth Marketeers, says that it’s ultimately a parent’s choice on whether to post pictures of their children online, but that "once it’s on social media, it’s there for ever and people are able to download their baby’s images and use them”.
And when it comes to posting newborn pics straight from the delivery room?
“That moment is very intimate for a mother and her newborn child, which I believe does not belong on social media. At least upload the baby pic a couple of hours later after the baby is bathed and the mom has regained her strength,” she said.