I get it, really, I do.
Once you become a parent, a switch you never knew existed is flipped on inside your brain and life is never the same. The world suddenly changes from a place of opporutnity and adventure to one of darkness and mystery. Dangers suddenly lurk everywhere—all one has to do is look at all the ways parents babyproof their homes to see how many innocuous objects become tools of death—and it’s our duty to ensure our children are kept safe.
However, it’s also our job to teach our children the difference between what’s safe and what’s not, as well as how to navigate life with confidence, and the best way to do that is leading by example.
So please take this not as a critique of anyone’s parenting choices, but as a friendly suggestion from one parent to another: please don’t be afraid to share pictures of your children with me, or the world.
As a community journalist, I consider my job a mixture of chronicalling Hope’s history, reporting the hard-hitting news that matters, and sharing the things that make life worth living: such as the wonder children express when introduced to all the amazing aspects of the world around them.
Perhaps that’s why I find it difficult to understand those who choose to keep their child’s image private: sharing a moment of success or joy not only illustrates how amazing children are, but offers the community at large a glimpse at the next generation of innovators and leaders.
I’m, of course, not referring to instances where a child’s identity needs to be kept private for legal or safety reasons. Nor am I suggesting people leave their social media accounts unsecured for just anybody to examine. But rather, those who choose to protect their child’s image because they’re afraid it may make him or her some sort of target, or who refrain from sharing photos because they want to leave that up to the child when they’re ready.
But here’s the thing: the majority of individuals who prey on children choose kids they know because it’s all about access. And if we begin teaching our kids the ways of the internet and the rules around safe image sharing when they’re old enough to understand the consequences, but young enough to not want to test boundaries. Perhaps then, we can help an entire generation avoid the possible pitfalls inherent in sharing images of themself.
As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, so why not allow that villiage the chance to celebrate its children and their successes as they grow and take flight down their life’s path. And it’s also a great way to counter any belief that kids these days are anything less than their counterparts of previous generations.
If you ask them, most kids want to see their photo in the paper. As one child told me, “It makes me feel like a star!”
And what’s wrong with that?
Sarah Gawdin is a reporter with The Hope Standard. To contact her, email Sarah.Gawdin@HopeStandard.com, or call 604-869-4992.