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Should We Shape Our Children's Digital Legacy?

My daughter on my old laptop (and I'm totally putting words in her thought bubble).

We mom bloggers think (and talk) about the digital legacy we are creating for our children. One of the most common charges  leveled at mom bloggers is that we’re ruining our children’s lives by sharing stories of their childhoods online because after all “everything on the internet is FOREVER.” (At some point I’ll write about why that isn’t quite true.)

But bloggers aren’t the only people considering their children’s digital future; parents often buy the web domain with their children’s names, or “reserve” their Facebook page for them in advance.

But Derrick Harris in Gigamom argues that it’s important to allow your children to shape their own digital legacy.

 

You see, as I write this, it’s 2012, and social media is still a relatively new idea. Most people have no clue how sharing all this personal information on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other sites will affect the way we think about privacy and reputation. But I think it’s a safe bet that by the time you read this, society will have figured out how to balance their desire to share information online with their desire to keep some semblance of a private life.

I think it’s a fallacy to think that those of us that share so much of ourselves (and our children) online aren’t keeping some things private. While we may all share milestones or touching moments or (many) humorous anecdotes, there is still so much that goes unsaid. Even a blogger like me who, on the surface, looks like she shares it all keeps much of her life private and away from public view.

But Mr. Harris still thinks that’s too much.

So I figure why risk scarring your reputation before you even get out of preschool. No need to have your first day at school forever linked to some picture of me dressed up like Amy Winehouse for Halloween 2009. I’ll let you decide what you want to share. We have all your photos, you can use them if you like.

He brings up some interesting points, even if I don’t necessarily agree with the fear. I’ve watched the teenage children of friends grow up in this digital age, and while I absolutely agree that we have to watch our young people find a middle ground of sharing, I do believe that our culture will change and accommodate this public sharing in such a way that no one will be particularly scarred by their father’s Halloween costume in a Facebook photo.

But it is definitely an issue that bears thinking about. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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