Although thousands of kids are born everyday, maternity on the internet seems to be a taboo sometimes. Not only a social taboo, but also the algorithm of the social media may be tricky to parents who want to post their children. There are always discussions about whether children can or not have access to social media and if it’s ok for their faces and body to be exposed like that. At the same time people want to see maternity tips, debates and raising content, they are concerned about the internet exposure issues to the kids.
Blogger mothers are directly affected by these issues: how to preserve their children’s image while producing content? And what if they just want to share their kid’s pictures without having to worry about what happens when it goes to the internet? These are indeed tough questions that make mothers around the social networks try to seek alternatives for the privacy and safety of their children.
Paula Castanho, 22, is a mother. Her daughter, Aurora, is only 1 and a half years old. She really likes taking pictures of her, but is more concerned about guaranteeing Aurora’s safety — “my relationship with social media changed after I became a mother. Even when I was pregnant, there were men using my pregnancy as a fetish because of my Instagram pictures”. She changed her media on all platforms and made all her accounts private after giving birth to her baby, so she can continue sharing her pictures with her friends and acquaintances. “Instagram has a dangerous algorithm for kids regarding the ‘explore’ tab”, Paula explains. Social networks are a virtual environment that may propitiate the risk of encountering pedophiles, for example. Paula herself claims that once, when she was using an app of anonymous questions, she received a message about her daughter that was “way too heavy, with sexual conotation. I felt terrible”.
She also says she receives a lot of positive comments, despite the hunches she has to read: “sometimes, when we show a lot of our routine with the kid, people deduce a lot. They think there’s an intimacy”. On the other hand, Paula likes to consume some maternity content — she follows “moms that are adept at neurocompatible and violence-free parenting. “Most of the mothers I follow on social media are also professionals related to children’s health”.
Yandra Campos, 19, is a mother to the 3-year-old Viccenzo. She shares a lot of him on her Instagram account and also has a specific account to post her son’s pictures. Even though she likes being active on social networks, the time she spends online decreased after Viccenzo was born: “I’m way less active. My time has been short due to my commitments that are a lot now. We receive a lot of compliments. Sometimes people criticize too”.
Sharing her son’s image on public media makes her take measures to ensure his safety: “I monitor as much as I can who has access to my accounts. Whoever likes or sees the things we post are people we know — once in a while we come across strangers.” Besides posting, Yandra also consumes maternity content, especially tips about education, child’s plays and musicalization.
Despite being a sensible matter – and sometimes, for the mothers, hard to deal with – this type of blog and content appears to be gaining a certain notoriety on social media. As some mothers seek tips and content that might help in better parenting, others share their experience and advice, so they can all make social media a better and less toxic environment for their children, even though the controversies of the algorithm and the digital surveillance are still arduous.