In the ten months since I’ve become a mother, I have taken thousands of pictures of my baby – yogurt smeared over his eyebrows, grinning in the bath or our faces squeezed together in a selfie. Those shots have been pored over with sleepy parental wonder by my partner and me, pinged to grandparents on WhatsApp and framed for our mantelpiece. But none of these images have been shared online.
I don’t judge anyone for ‘baby spamming’ their own friends on Facebook, but as somebody who worries about online privacy, I didn’t feel it was my right to choose how public my son’s life would be. With so much of ourselves being put ‘out there’ nowadays, I also felt an instinctive compulsion to keep my family life in a safe, offline bubble. One scroll of Instagram, though, and it’s clear I’m in the minority. In 2016, parents posted 54 per cent more images of their children than they did in 2015, and by their child’s fifth birthday, the average British parent has shared 1,498 pictures of their child. So, is this simple parental pride or is there something else going on?
Vicky Charles, 35, a copywriter from Salisbury, became a single parent three weeks after her daughter Samaire, five, was born prematurely – she turned to social media for support. ‘Because my life was in such chaos, I had no confidence in what I was doing as a mum,’ she say