This post has been a long time coming. I know I don’t have to explain myself to anybody but I want to just to help other parents who may be feeling the same way. In September, my dear friend Jade Phoenix, posted a video on her YouTube channel saying she was no longer comfortable featuring her baby. She linked two videos down below about the dark side of family vlogging. You can check them out here and here.
Since we had Abigail, my husband and I have discussed this topic. He has never been comfortable sharing her on platforms like Instagram and Twitter where anybody can view them. I had made a promise to myself that I would never exploit her on my blog, but I felt quite content sharing my breastfeeding and first-time parenting experiences. I wanted to help other mothers who were struggling and have her first year of life documented so I could reflect back on it. However, now that she is a toddler, I don’t want to feature her photographs on Instagram, Twitter or this blog any longer. Here are the reasons why:
1.) NO CONSENT
Abigail is too young to understand anything that is happening at the moment but one day, she might resent the fact that I put up images of her on the Internet for strangers to see without her consent. I try to place myself in her shoes and imagine how I would feel if my mother did the same thing when I was young. I just don’t want to risk that and potentially embarrass her in the future. I recently heard about a successful blogger who documented literally everything about her daughter’s life until the girl turned nine and asked her mother to stop. Her mother refused as she had gained so much popularity and income from exploiting her child. This is just awful and leads me to my second point…
Let me be completely honest here. I am not making money off my blog yet. I feature ads on here but I cannot receive an income until I reach a certain amount (which I haven’t). I also have only a bit over 100 followers on Instagram, so I am in no position to exploit my child financially even if I wanted to. I know a lot of family vloggers on YouTube get huge amounts of views purely because their children are in them, but what would happen if the child no longer wanted a camera in their face? What would those vloggers do then? It just feels so wrong to me. I don’t want to ever become successful or get paid a lot of money because Abigail’s face is plastered all over my social media accounts. Having said that, I do plan to continue writing about motherhood, but I can do that without featuring her face or revealing anything too personal about her life. I want to talk about motherhood in general and share lots of tips for vegan parents specifically, as I know they will be extremely helpful.
3.) THE DARK SIDE
The majority of us look at cute pictures of children and think ‘nawww’ but there are a lot of sick individuals out there who think differently. Once an image is uploaded to the Internet, you cannot remove it completely. On more public social media accounts like Instagram and YouTube, predators can search via hashtags or just in general for photographs of kids. They can save them and share them around to other predators on the dark web. I don’t want to sound judgmental but a month ago, a creepy looking guy started liking pictures of Abi on Instagram. It freaked me out so much. Who was this person? Why was he liking pictures of my kid? It sucks that we live in a world like this but we have to be mindful and intelligent. These days more than ever, predators are exposed to so much content featuring children. Some children even have their own Instagram accounts set up by the parents (which has always been strange to me). As a parent, I want to do anything I can to protect my daughter. I don’t want to be providing fodder for these creeps.
To anybody reading, I ask that you respect and understand our wishes as parents. I will keep the posts and images I’ve already uploaded on this blog but I won’t be showing Abigail anymore moving forward. My husband and I are in agreeance that sharing things occasionally on Facebook is fine. We both have our privacy settings turned on to the max and trust our friends and family members on there. I have deleted all her images on Twitter and Instagram as well as her highlight reel. When it’s her birthday or something significant happens, I may share a quick image on my ‘Close Friends’ option on Instagram but not publicly. I feel so much happier since doing this. Also, I don’t want any parent reading this to think I am attacking them or calling them bad parents if they share their children on social media. I am not judging you at all. You have to do what feels right for your family and I completely understand wanting to share the love of your life. I just hope this post might give you something to think about. I didn’t even think about consent, exploitation or predators until just over a month ago.
Thank you so much for reading. I welcome all comments and feedback below provided it is respectful.
Peace & Love xoxo