Letting our children author their lives

Sophie on Talking Point with presenter Steven Chia and friends talking about sharenting.

Mummy, “You should change your name to Sharon and your surname to Ting. You know why? Then you’ll be Sharon Ting, get it, get it?”

Sophie shot me a smug look and chuckled. She was clearly amused by her witty joke after we finished filming an episode of Talking Point with Steven Chia.

The Talking Point topic? Sharenting.

Are you guilty of oversharing?

Sharenting is a new urban dictionary term coined to describe parents who overshare about their children online. As a parent blogger, I’m definitely guilty of doing that since the day Sophie came into our lives 10 years ago.

We’ve shared photos of Sophie just minutes after she was born.

We’ve posted her first cry, first smile, first step.

Her first Birthday, Christmas, Chinese New Year.

The day she went to the infant care, childcare and then to Primary One.

As I look back at all my social media posts, I’ve lost count on the number of posts about Sophie.

Besides being a proud mum, who thinks the world of my daughter, these posts are a visual reminder to me. The cute, funny, silly, happy, precious moments that Sophie brought to our lives and I want to share them with others as well.

The internet never forgets

When it comes to sharing photos of our children online, there are bound to be different camps on the matter. Some avoid it like plague and wouldn’t even have a social media account let alone post photos of their kids. While others like myself, are more active online and view it as a form of sharing is caring.

Am I not afraid of leaving our digital footprint online?

I’ll like to think that we are no celebrities and I’ve been careful not to reveal too many personal details that will compromise our safety.

The parents listening in on our kids as they were being interviewed.

I was asked on Talking Point if I would remove all posts on Sophie from social media if she asked me to down the road. My short answer was no, because those photos and posts are also a part of our shared memory as a family.

For now, Sophie still enjoys being featured on my social media accounts and we even brainstorm of interesting content together. Of late, we’ve even done videos, thanks to IG stories and IGTV.

However, I know a day will come when Sophie will prohibit me from sharing about her on my social media accounts. The time when she steps into her teenage years and want to reclaim her own voice online.

While I’ve always exercised discretion and avoided posting anything that embarrass her, I realised that we have very different yardsticks. This year, her Mother’s Day card to me is also not on my Instagram as she feels they are too personal to be shared.

In fact, Sophie has told me that I need her permission before I post things about her and that was pickd up in the CNA article too. I think that’s only fair since my daughter is turning 10 year old and starting to value her privacy.

Letting our children author their lives

While only a small segment of our interview made the final cut on the programme, what I hoped other parents get to hear is how we as parents will have to let our kids be the authors of their own lives instead of telling it through our lenses.

 

“We have to let our kid be the authors of their own lives, instead of telling it through our lenses.”

It’s not uncommon to hear how people have a different impression of Sophie from what I shared about her online and in person. I wonder if I’ve misrepresented her or perhaps even curated a persona of her from my point of view. I can see why it’s so important that others don’t prejudge Sophie without even knowing her in person.

All these reflections have made me take a step back to think about why and what I want to share online going forward. Eventually, it’s all about respect, even our kid’s boundaries and space online.

I know I wouldn’t want another narrator while I write the pages of my life. And that’s going to be my guide as I focus lesser on Sophie in my social media and blog posts. Will I still be a parent blogger? I don’t know at this point because I want to balance sharing authentic experiences while respecting Sophie’s wishes.

But one thing’s for sure, I’ll still be taking lots of photos for her, of her and together with her for our memory bank 🙂

PS: If you missed the Talking Point episode on TV, you can catch it on Toggle here and hear what Sophie had to say about her over zealous sharenting mum 🙂

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may like these posts where I share my heart about parenting.

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Comments: 2

  1. Christy Wong June 6, 2019 at 9:58 am Reply

    Hi Susan,

    It has been a long time since I reply on blog comments. That tells how long I have been out of action from the blogging scene. Coincidentally, today I was having a similar conversation with my hubby. I have stopped blogging for half a year and been consciously careful about sharing photos of my children. I have even considered closing my blog and turning all instagram pictures to private. While I love to share my parenting thoughts and solicit ideas and experiences from other fellow parents, I am also worried about whether my sharing will be used to turn against the children somehow or another in future. It is a hard decision to erase (if it is even possible) the internet footprints or at least minimise it since as a parent, I would love to share success, the proud moments, or even the not-so-rosy side of life.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic. Congrats for another milestone to appear on Talking Point too 🙂 Your reflections on whether we are curating a persona or causing pre-judgment are so real and so true. There has to a balance and it is hard to define a line that we will not cross. Just thinking about how easy it is to find out about a person by doing a few google search frightens me. I am still in a dilemma, I hope to eventually find a way to share but not reveal too much of our lives while I remain in the influencer scene.

    Christy

    • Susan June 6, 2019 at 11:54 am Reply

      Thanks for leaving a comment Christy. As children get older, they want their privacy and that’s also why many mum bloggers have stopped blogging altogether. I do enjoy the sharing within the parenting community and am still undecided if I want to give it up completely or switch to another area. For myself, it’s clear that I want to keep sharing authentic stories as there are already many other parent influencers with a much higher following than me. I want to keep holding on to that for as long as I can.

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