Say no to 'sharenting': Why I won't put my child online

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock 

OPINION: "Hey, love, sorry to be a drag, would you mind taking that picture off Facebook?"

My daughter is not yet two, but I am proud to say that unlike most of her peers, who have had every milestone of their short lives documented on Facebook and Instagram, her digital footprint does not yet exist.

These increasingly frequent requests on my part have led to some awkward exchanges with well-meaning friends and relatives, who've posted group shots from holidays and get-togethers. They're always quick to apologise and delete, though I sense that some secretly think me overly precious.

We have no plans to move to the Outer Hebrides or keep our child locked up in a tower, and I know that when she grows up, if social media hasn't gone the way of the minidisc, she'll probably want to have a profile.

But until she can make that decision for herself, I feel it's my duty to protect her privacy, and give her a childhood unencumbered by the need for likes. (I still take thousands of photographs of her and bombard my husband, friends and family privately on WhatsApp, and many parents I know are increasingly opting to do the same.)

The harmful effects of social media, especially on young minds, are now well documented - the inventors of these platforms admit they keep their own children well away. So I find it a tad hypocritical when parents post a running commentary of their child's every giggle, burp and fart, and then complain when they grow up to be a miserable screen addict.

The temptation to "sharent" is strong. Obviously, in my eyes my daughter is the funniest, most fascinating, most gorgeous creature that has ever walked the Earth, and I just know that if I posted that video of her riding a scooter for the first time, it would probably break the internet.

But it's exactly this motivation that helps me resist the urge to post - is this about her or me? It taps into an unseemly desire to brag.

Scrolling through all those shots of beaming children sitting on gorgeous vintage furniture certainly leaves me feeling inadequate - that must be far worse for those who are struggling to start a family, or are grieving for a lost child.

In fact, keeping my child off social media has been enormously liberating.

Rather than wasting precious minutes getting my daughter's hair Instagrammably tousled and the pot plant in just the right spot, we have more time - to just be together.

The Telegraph, London