I’m sure that as she posted each status, each picture, each small bit of information, it didn’t feel that way. But all those things add up to a digital timeline (thanks Facebook), the record of our children’s lives, pictures, stories, right there for anyone to view.
Truly, privacy is almost completely lost in today’s digital world. Even if you opt out of the internet (impossible unless you’re a hermit), there is no guarantee that someone won’t post something about you or your children online against your knowledge or wishes. (And even if you’re a hermit, someone might blog about you!)
It takes my breath to see how public some people are with their lives. How will they feel about that in 5 years, or 10? Will they really want the details of every relationship or youthful stupidity on display?
There’s certainly nothing wrong with talking about our lives and families online, but as we do, I believe we should ask ourselves: Will our children one day feel exposed?
I was very naïve when I first got online 12 years ago—late to the party—but I’ve tried to be discreet about what I share. Not perfectly, I know. But more so now than ever find myself saying, “No one needs to know that.” It’s not bad things or even super-personal things. But does the world really need to hear that I hate wire hangers or what I had for breakfast? Do they need to know where my children struggle or fail?
Remember what it was like before the internet, when only close personal friends knew the details of your life?
These days, what I choose not to tell provides a sort of inner sanctum, a large collection of habits and events that are not shared. It is also a way to shield my children a bit from the whole world knowing everything about them. If they choose to share their stories with the world one day, they can. Their stories are not mine to tell.
It’s different for every family. There is no one right way to know how much to share. And I am so thankful for many people who are very transparent online, and write to encourage! It’s something you have to settle in your own heart.
Just ask yourself: How will this expose my children?
Have you ever felt like you or your family was exposed by too much sharing? What kinds of boundaries do you put on your online life?