Why I've Been Posting Less Of My Child's Face Online

I want my son to learn how to set boundaries. I want him to understand what the term consent means, what boundaries are, and that he has a right to them.

Picture-taking is in my blood. Tucked away in my closet is a musty, old storage bin containing old images. My father always had a camera hanging down from his neck like a fifth limb. Landscapes, locations, hobbies, family, friends, experiences are all in that bin. Memories I can physically hold onto when I forget. As a stay-at-home mom, my son is a constant presence in my life from sunrise to sunset and every moment in between. It only felt natural to take and post photos of him. Building an online mom community, having that interaction, and bouncing compliments off each other.

However, the internet is eternal. No matter if you hit the delete button, those photos are there for good. The tantrums, the marker face, the allergic reactions, the too-quick camera click, the bath photos. When it goes up, it never goes down. I lose control over who sees it and what happens to it when it gets published on the internet. Our moment becomes the moment of many. Those photos and videos will follow them into teenage years and into adulthood. This is the world we live in and the world our children will grow into.

Like in the real world, I want my son to learn how to set boundaries. I want him to understand what the term consent means, what boundaries are, and that he has a right to them. I don’t force him to hug anyone if he doesn’t want to, his doctors ask before examining him, I remind him he’s allowed to tell people no if he’s uncomfortable or doesn’t want to be touched, I listen to him when he says he doesn’t want his picture taken or to stop tickling or roughhousing with him, I tell him when I don’t want him climbing on top of me. I give him choices, I give him boundaries, I teach him consent yet I felt I should be the one that controls his online presence? Why does consent stop here?

In Psychology, there is something called positive reinforcement. Basically, each time you receive likes and comments you are being reinforced or validated in your actions which means it’s likely to cause you to continue that action in the future. Being aware of that is one reason I realized how relaxed I became with sharing photos of my son online and one reason I vowed to change it – self-control outside of the psychological catastrophe of social media.

My son is sacred, his feelings are sacred, and I’m proud of him – without wires.

Swapping stories is important. It gives us a sense of connection we may be lacking in our real life whether it be with distant relatives in another state or strangers we don’t truly know. For me, I want to change the way that’s done. I don’t want strangers to know him unless they want to make an active and intentional effort to know him. Relationships have become lazy and I feel I’m participating in it by sharing my life unabashedly. At three years old, I don’t want to put social media’s weight on my son’s shoulders. My online choices should enrich our real world life as a family. There’s no doubt that the internet is important to me – for blogging, for writing, for connecting, for sharing. But it’s not everything, it’s not my son’s everything. My son is sacred, his feelings are sacred, and I’m proud of him – without wires.

I posted 4 photos on Facebook with his face in them since August 20th and only 3 posts on Instagram since August 28th with his face showing. In ways, it still seems like a lot but I feel much more comfortable with his digital media presence and knowing I am giving control back to him.

How do you view social media and photos of your children?

Christmas Snapshots

So many past Christmas memories stand out but none have been better since having my little family and none have been better than this year. Nothing about it was rushed or exhausting. I finished Christmas gifts early, I baked early, I got Christmas pajamas early. It snowed Christmas morning so instead of leaving quickly after presents and breakfast to go to Dave's brothers, we were able to stay home and take things as slow as we wanted. 

Dave's gifts were so thoughtful. He got me an INCREDIBLE solar-powered watch with a minimal, Roman-numeral face and black leather strap, a beautiful quill set, and Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff (the sequel to Nevernight which is one of my all time favorite books.) My mother and extended in-law family also killed it with their gifts (like a Ravenclaw tumbler??!) and I'm so grateful for everyone in our lives.

Maddox received so many wonderful gifts from us and from the rest of his family and friends. Initially, he was so careful opening his gifts almost as if he were afraid to rip the paper. But after some time, he started tearing right in wondering what was beneath the paper's surface he could play with. And he's always so grateful which makes my heart melt. He loves giving hugs and saying thanks for all his presents which makes me so warm to have such a kind soul for a child.

As I said, this was one of my favorite Christmas's so far. So joyous to spend time with family. Lots of smiles and laughs and thankfulness. Merry all around.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and is ready for 2018. Stay tuned for a wonderful New Year's post about goals and resolutions. 

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Shayna Shattelroe

25 years old. Mama to Maddox. Word weaver. Lover of love. Coffee addict. Psychological science student. 

A woman of curious nature, my name is Shayna. I am wild & reserved. Humbled & proud. Quiet & clamorous. Strange & familiar. I live in the trees of New England typing away as lifestyle blogger. You can always find me with a coffee cup in one hand and a book in the other.

Blogging since 2005, I’ve had an innumerable amount of blogs on a vast number of platforms. Finally, I’ve found one to call home: The Lovely Cicada. This blog is a piece of myself I extend to you.

First Picnic of the Season

First Picnic of the Season

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous out which means it's finally outdoor season. This seasonal funk I've been in has finally been lifted and I feel whole again. Winters are so hard, dark, and dreary. It really takes a lot of my energy and shoves it into deep corners, hidden by the early nightfall. 

I'll be happy when we turn our clocks back this weekend and finally have more sunlight!

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