When I find the time to pop on social media, it’s usually only for a few minutes here and there. I’m continually astounded by how much stuff packs my newsfeed in the four or five minutes I scroll and click through things. Even more surprising is the amount of content people share about their kids. Photos, status updates, videos and more, all about the everyday lives of single parents and their kids.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love seeing these things. I learn so much from other parents who are kind enough to share their wisdom on social media. And, of course, I get a good laugh from the photos and videos of kids being ridiculous and strange. But it always leaves me wondering. What are our kids going to say to us when they grow up and find all this stuff out there on social media?

The first social media generation

Kids aged 10 and under are the first real generation to have a life on social media before they’re even cognizant of it. Parents snap pictures of their kids from birth and the documentation keeps on for the rest of their foreseeable lives! Social media is so deeply engrained in culture now that it’s likely we’ll have it forever… which means those status updates, photos and videos are also forever.

The question is, “is it okay to document someone’s life on social media without their permission?” When you’re talking about kids, it’s an easy question to answer: Yes, as a parent you have the right to share these things. But what about when that child turns 18 and decides they never wanted any of those things shared? It’s something we’ll need to start thinking about in just a few years!

Is it okay to document a child’s life?

I fall under the camp of believing it’s okay to share things about your kids on social media—updates, pictures, videos, etc. But my reasoning comes from a gray area. It really depends on what you share. I always take the time to remember that I’m in a public forum, and that anything I share is out there for the world to see. I’m not going to share intimate details about my daughter or go into depth about her life. Instead, I try to approach it from the standpoint of sharing updates, advice and inspirational stories with my friends, family and followers.

I’m sure there are all types of arguments against my reasoning, many of them probably valid. But it all comes down to reality. The reality of our culture today is that social media is part of it—a big part! To me, the question isn’t about whether it’s okay to share things or not, it’s about how to share them in the right way.

Social media is many things to many people. One of those things is a tool for creating communities. Groups for single parents who need support. Communities of extended family members who can’t be as close-knit as they want to be. A collection of people from around the world with something in common. These groups care about the individuals in them and their lives. It’s worth sharing updates, photos and videos about your kids. At the same time, it’s always important to remember that whatever you put out there stays out there. It’s best to think twice (or even three times) before you hit the “post” button—for the sake of your child.