Three reasons why Facebook and children don’t mix


As the mother of two young children and the holder of a Facebook account, I am often tempted to update the world on the latest antics of my little munchkins.

What stops me are the following:

  1. My paranoia that some creepy stranger out there is looking at photos of my babies;
  2. They haven’t consented to having their photos posted on Facebook; and
  3. My concern that my children will grow up thinking that they, like a member of the Jolie-Pitt clan, are special for doing nothing at all, and will develop some kind of narcissistic personality disorder.

My reasoning for this shocking deviation from the norms of modern day parenting is as follows:

  1. Lack of Consent

Cast your mind back to the immense joy and pride you felt each time you brought a boyfriend/ girlfriend home to meet your parents, and the old family albums were dredged out to expose you in your unadulterated, gummy grinned/ saggy nappied/ buck toothed/ monobrowed/pimply glory.

Imagine if those photos were available to your boss, your workmates, a prospective employer, or your arch nemesis back in high school. Now imagine that a random stranger got hold of one of these unflattering photos, turned it into a meme which was viewed by millions, and you are now a laughing stock around the world..

As parents we don’t tend to ask our children if we can photograph them, nor do we ask them before we publish these photos online.

Older children may be in a position to say yes or no, but many of the millions of babies and toddlers whose photos are posted on Facebook everyday can barely talk, let alone grant a considered approval to having their images posted online.

Sure, some kids may look back at the images of themselves posted online one day and thank their parents for this electronic repository of their development, but they didn’t really have much choice in the matter, did they?

As a parent, I just think we owe our kids some degree of respect by protecting their privacy until they are old enough to make their own choices about something which could have a major impact on their lives later down the track..


Facebook’s security settings allow you to select who can see your ‘stuff’, and this can range from your friends to practically anyone on earth. It’s legal terms provide that you own all content and information that you post, however, how this information is shared depends on your privacy settings. So for example if your privacy is set to allow “everyone” to see your information, then anyone and everyone can see your photos and comments. By not locking down the privacy setting of your account, you’re also granting Facebook a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License)…”

And then there’s the risk of your account being hacked and images being accessed and downloaded without your knowledge or consent. Just a quick online search shows how easy this is, with numerous sites offering you tips on the best way to hack into your girlfriend’s/boyfriend’s/son’s/daughter’s/victim’s account.

If the recent experience of female celebrities having their cloud accounts hacked has taught the rest of us one thing, it is that it would be naive to think that your privacy is safe on the Internet.

  1. Everybody loves a narcissistic threenager

I worry that the over zealous photography of our progeny may give them the impression that they are some kind of Aryan uberchild. Afterall, why else would every moment of actual and/or perceived cuteness need to be preserved for the betterment of future generations?

Constant snapping photos of your children could lead them to feel superior to other members of the family. Some experts are also worried that being constantly photographed might make a child become critical about their appearance, or perhaps even attribute an unnecessary level of importance towards their appearance or behavior needing to be ‘cute’ in order to attract more attention to themselves.

The raising of children is such a personal and sensitive process, and I probably won’t know until my kids are old enough to tell me whether these concerns are valid or unnecessary. I just know that the reason that I take photos is to preserve memories of my family as a private process, shared on special occasions with loved ones yes, but not as a daily advertisement of our lives..

So who owns yoga anyway?

Yoga, as we know has hit the mainstream, and its mental and physical benefits have propelled it into a multibillion dollar business around the world. With this comes attempts by some to claim ownership over something which essentially belongs in the public domain. As a result, a concerted effort is being made by the Indian Government to reclaim what it considers to be its traditional ownership over yoga.

Over the past decade, it has been collating yogic poses and other forms of traditional knowledge such as the medicinal Ayurveda, into a repository known as the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), and has sought to have this included under the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Patent Cooperation Treaty. This allows a patent examiner to consider applications relating to yoga against the TKDL, and to refuse a patent on the basis of it being a copy of traditional knowledge (as opposed to a novel ‘invention’).

Another measure being explored is the possibility of obtaining a geographical indication, which would specifically identify yoga as having originated in India. The trouble with geographical indications however, is that they normally apply to products and a particular region rather than an entire country. Famous examples include Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, which originates from specific regions within Italy, and Champagne, which comes from the Champagne region of France.

Unlike cheese and wine however, yoga is an experience rather than a tangible product, and after about 4000 years, it’s going to be difficult to identify a specific geographic location within India which can be attributed as being its original place of ‘production’. It’s also going to be just as difficult to police, as this would need to be done at the ground level on a country by country basis.

Perhaps the intention behind seeking proprietary rights is to preserve the essence of yoga, by exerting some control over what can authentically be called ‘yoga’.

Practitioners will tell you that physical benefits aside, what is truly special about yoga is the stillness it brings to the mind. In fact the physical part of yoga, as wonderful as it is, is merely preparing the body for the hours of meditation which are meant to follow. The typical mass produced yoga class at the gym however, is normally about 97% physical poses with a 5 minute rest at the end. Then of course there’s the dogis and doginis and tantrum chuckers, who must really be making the Indian Minister for Yoga scratch his head in confusion.

Whatever the true intention behind these steps, instructors and practitioners alike are watching this space with interest. In the meantime, the following sums up some of the current sentiment rather well.

A taste of the Hipster Business Model

We recently had lunch at the coolest place in Sydney. It was clearly the coolest place to be, based on the number of beautiful, bearded, beanied, skinny jeaned and tattooed people in there. Being so cool, the place was naturally very popular, with people lining up to wait over an hour for a sit down meal. Having our three year old with us and me being very pregnant at the time, we chose the takeaway option which meant having to eat standing up along the outdoor tables provided in the garden. Now we’ve all had an interesting dining experience at some stage, but what I found unusual here was the sheer scale of the mayhem which confronted us. There were people milling around waiting for food, people milling around eating, people milling around patting the fluffy animals, people just randomly milling around to add to the crowd scene like extras in a movie. The end result was utter and absolute chaos. Now you don’t need to be a Henry Ford, or even a Ronald Macdonald to realise that a great product needs just as effective a delivery for optimal success. The Hipster Business Model (HBM) however, appears to operate on the premise that you the customer are paying not for a dining experience, but for the opportunity to immerse yourself in the uber cool organic vibe (chaos) of the universe..

While the stuffy old ‘conventionals’ tell you where to sit, and gang up to ban cell phones, at an HBM establishment, tables don’t need numbers- patrons are left to roam free and sit wherever they please. Fluffy animals frolic in chic little hutches for your amusement. The staff are super busy and super friendly, and their main purpose appears to be for fist bumping and taking photos – because you’ll be wanting to tell your friends and your friends friends when you’re at the coolest place in town.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as much a fan of organic free ranged clean eating as the next person, and am totally concerned for the welfare of the various creatures which we affectionately call food, but the urban consumer of today appears to want more than just wholesome food and great service. They want to go somewhere that they can tell everyone about while they’re there, not afterwards.

It was also clear from the hordes waiting to throw their money at this place that HBM, despite its unconventional approach is a hit.

But will it last? Is it possible that HBM could one day rule the world??