We see it every day in our Facebook news feeds: someone is newly engaged and preparing for marriage, or someone is pregnant and preparing for parenthood. Old traditions created by society are passed down to the early Millennials who are now starting new phases in life. But now there is a new tradition emerging on social media sites. It’s the latest trend in starting a family these days. It’s the craze of the web-documentation of a child’s entire life from the very moment they begin life in the womb.
It begins with an ultrasound picture from the happy expectant parents. We find out the sex of the child soon after that, and then the baby bump pictures begin to roll in. After the nine-month-long progress reports are compiled and posted online, a new baby is born and we learn the time of birth, its name, weight, where it was born and when it arrives home. The pictures fill our news feeds; we begin to learn everything else about the baby’s appearance and join in on the flooding of likes and comments from loving friends and family members. Then the videos commence. The child’s movements and patterns are recorded along with a brief summary of what took place when that video was shot to ensure every little detail is permanently logged online. And depending on the privacy settings of the parents social media account, the life of that unsuspecting child is out there for the world to see.
Of course this is the best way to effectively share those precious moments with distant relatives and show everyone how cute the new addition to the family is, but what happens when that baby grows up and realizes their privacy has been completely ripped away from them without them even knowing it? Imagine if your mom showed everyone your baby photos whenever they asked? What kind of message does this give our children regarding trust and personal boundaries? How easy is it now to find out where a child is and where they are going to be during their everyday routines? I can’t help but think of The Truman Show and that monumentally crushing moment when Jim Carrey realizes his life is a reality TV series.
With all of the recent concerns and complaints about privacy terms and leaked information from some floating online cloud, you would think it would be a deterrent for parents who are creating Facebook accounts for their newborns, but surprisingly this does not seem to manifest any worry. The next generation’s documentaries are here and in full effect, lacking any safety precautions or privacy standards. Privacy seems to be going extinct, and with the growing population of Generation Z, this may be the last time we can properly define confidentiality amongst our peers. Is it only a matter of time before privacy is no longer a choice?