The Rights of Children


Every day, my friend Laura brightens up my Facebook news feed. A gifted writer and mother of three precocious children, she relays their conversations, poignant moments, and hilarious activities with style and wit. I love her children: the deep thoughtfulness of her son, her daughter’s sass, and the smushy cheeks on her baby. I have never met them.

So begins Jennifer Doverspike’s intriguing article about children in the age of social media, but it’s not what you might immediately think. Rather than standing by the idea that children need to be protected from social media, she puts forth the notion that constantly posting about a child on social media is more about a lack of respect for the dignity of a child.

But even as society jealously guards our children’s well-being in the physical realm, we overdo the freedom in the digital realm… Yes, we have complete and utter control over those little people, but that gives us even more of a mandate to respect their personal boundaries.

She writes of being complicit in this behavior and understands the reasons that parents want to share the milestones of their children. But she cautions that doing so may deter a child from forging her own identity and making mistakes in the process.

I as a mother might think it’s cute to post a hilarious comment my son makes, but that comment was made in earnest… How much longer until that child shuts down and stops verbally exploring the world, afraid of being, in his eyes, ridiculed for his insight?

Although it is possible that there are some instances of overexaggeration in the article, the premise is certainly worth thinking about.

Abigail Bereola is a writer and the Books Editor for The Rumpus. On Twitter, @sherarelytweets. More from this author →