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The Problem With Sharenting

I just learned the word “sharenting.”  It’s a portmanteau created to shame parents who post pictures of their children online.

sharenting

(screenshot because WashPo seems to have pulled the article offline)

I don’t post pictures of my kids online, and even I think the term “throwing their kids to the wolves” is overkill.  What wolves?  Does WashPo mean the other kids in school?  Does anyone really believe that those kids would be little puppies if we didn’t throw them these meaty morsels which turn them into wolves?  Last I checked, bullying existed before parents started posting about their kids online.

Here’s my problem with the term and why I don’t think it’s cute or funny.  The term only exists under the heading of parenting.  What about the other abuses of privacy — from writing about your dates (which is an invasion of another person’s privacy) or your partner (once again, invasion of privacy) or your parents (yes, again, an invasion of privacy).  Bitching about your sibling online, complaining about your boss online, writing snarky commentary about your neighbours or classmates: these are all invasions of privacy and examples of oversharing.

But they’re not judged like parents who post pictures of their kids online.

I have no problem discussing over-sharing if we’re going to apply the questions asked by WashPo to all people and situations: where does one person’s story end and another person’s privacy begin?

The Internet is a sea of images and statements that people wish their friends and family (or strangers or enemies) hadn’t posted starting with the stories about something really funny that happened to us (that makes another person look foolish) to snapping photos of unsuspecting people or stealing images and turning them into a meme.  There are so many cases of things that are definitely damaging vs. potentially damaging such as children turning around and being upset that their childhood was documented online.  Let’s focus on getting rid of the definitely damaging cases before we start focusing on the potentially damaging ones.

In all cases, before you post something potentially upsetting to someone else online, ask.  And if you can’t ask, you probably shouldn’t post.

But let’s not pretend this problem only exists amongst parents.  Let’s all be a little circumspect before posting online.

And while you’re being circumspect, remember that tomorrow is #MicroblogMonday and get writing.

April 12, 2015   20 Comments

540th Friday Blog Roundup

So the Wolvog just finished his first online college class.  He audited it instead of taking it for credit because I wasn’t sure he’d be able to keep up.  But he did, excitedly chatting with his fellow students on the class forum and taking his exams at night.  It was super cute and sometimes I snapped pictures of him while he was trying to work and then screeched, “you are so cute!”  He got really good at ignoring me.

The only problem came when he got to the final project.

He dragged his heels because he wanted it to be spectacular.  He kept coming up with ideas and summarily rejecting them.  The clock kept ticking closer to the deadline, and I advised him that satisfactory-but-turned-in beat spectacular-but-not-turned-in.  It was finally a few days before the due date and he started working on coding a game.  He finished it with hours to spare except for a small glitch.  He sent a message asking for help from a fellow classmate and went to baseball practice.  When he came home, the answer was waiting, and he fixed the project.  Completed, at last.

He went to turn it in and discovered that he was locked out of the class.  The due date had been a half hour earlier; the time zone listed as one 5 hours ahead of our own even though the college itself was 3 hours behind our own.  He couldn’t turn in the project and would have to accept a zero, lowering his final grade from an A to a B.

He asked me to email his professor, and I did, explaining that I’m writing because I’m his mother and he’s 10 and lacks the ability to negotiate that power dynamic.  He is accustomed to a school situation where his mother can mosey into the classroom and speak to his teacher if there is an issue.  And I also explained that he would have to accept the consequences if it was impossible to turn in the project.

The professor was sympathetic but ultimately couldn’t bend the rules.  The due date was the due date.  Even though it was marked as a zero, she still gave him feedback and praise on the project, and I think he left the class feeling good about it overall.

I think letting him experience that was important — not the class, I mean, but having your hard work not counted due to lateness.  I don’t think he’ll procrastinate like that again.  He gets that the stakes are raised as you age, and that there will be times in the future where he will have to set aside other fun things to buckle down and get something done.  That he may sometimes need to settle on an idea that is satisfactory instead of waiting for something spectacular to spring up in his brain.

I think it’s a good sign that he’s looking for another class to take in the future — either in person at a local college or online again.  It means that he gets the idea that he’s going to be held to a standard and he gets to choose whether he rises to reach it and reaps the benefits or not.

Plus he’s still promising me that I can move to wherever he goes to college in the future so I can still do his laundry and cook his meals and tuck him in at night.  Hoping the ChickieNob chooses the same city if not the same college since she has that plan, too.  Though I’ve been told that I need to stop screeching at them, “you are so cute!” and covering them in kisses while they’re in class.  Online is fine since their classmates can’t see.  But in the classroom?  So embarrassing.

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STAR WARS COMES OUT ON ITUNES TODAY!  Um… yes… we set aside a gift card we had to purchase all 6.  One needs to be able to carry these things with them in their pocket at all times.

Isn’t that mid-blowing?  It used to be such a big deal to get to see the movies at home on a VCR.  Now I can carry all of them in my pocket on my phone.

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Stop procrastinating.  Go make your backups.  Don’t have regrets.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.

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And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

I Try: The Additive Property of Happiness has a fantastic post on BlogHer this week busting her top three infertility myths.  It’s nice to have words going out to a more general audience instead of preaching to the choir, and I can see the post being shared over and over again across the Internet.  She’s invited people to add their favourite myths in the comment section, and I encourage you — if you want your words to travel outside this community and hit a more general population — to add your myth in the comment section ASAP.  It’s a great chance to spread a little more understanding into the world.

Searching for Our Silver Lining has a post about choosing to pick up heads-down pennies, superstitions be damned.  I love how she has taken bad omens and turned them around, writing, “Before our final treatment cycle, Grey informed me that we were black cats as others viewed us harboring bad luck. And yet we continued to persevere, choosing to live and exist without apology.”

Lastly, No Kidding in NZ has a post asking you to treat yourself as well as you would treat others, especially when it comes to infertility and loss.  If you have uttered something cruel to yourself lately; told yourself that you need to suck it up or get over it or that you’re not “woman enough” or that all of this is your fault, you need to read this post.  Run, don’t walk, over to her blog.

The roundup to the Roundup: Wolvog learns not to procrastinate.  Star Wars is out on iTunes.  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between April 3rd and 10th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

April 10, 2015   13 Comments

The Ache of Mars One

I wrote about Mars One when it was announced back in 2013.  Since then, I’ve bookmarked every article I’ve come across on the topic, almost as if trying to pin down pieces of these people’s stories before they’re gone forever.

200,000 people applied.  200,000 people (or 2761, if you go by this story). That’s a lot of people willing to take a one-way trip to Mars and die, far away from anyone and anything they’ve ever known.  The pool has been winnowed down to 100 people.

I watched a short documentary on the mission, and everyone makes sense when they speak about their reasons.  Dina’s point that she has already done this (said goodbye to family forever) when she left Iraq. The idea of leaving a legacy. Of starting over in a place that doesn’t have unsolvable problems.  It was interesting to hear the thoughts of family and friends talking about how they would feel to say goodbye to the people going on the mission.

But then, at the end of the day, amid all the melancholy that thinking about people applying for this brings, there is the fact that Mars One likely won’t happen at all.  And if that is the case, how do these 100 people return to their regular lives?  How does the first man who spoke about wanting to leave a legacy find a legacy to leave here on Earth?  How does the third man who spoke about being unable to exist on this broken planet continue to live out the rest of his life amid the chaos and hate?

Was Mars One just a cruel joke, jerking people’s emotions around with no real promise of ever transporting them to another place, another life, another goal?

The whole thing makes me unbelievably sad.

April 8, 2015   8 Comments

A Brand New Pressure For You

Just in case you didn’t have enough stress right now, I wanted to turn your attention to a recent article where its sole purpose seems to be to make you feel guilty.

Time magazine just wants you to consider as you struggle with family building (or consider putting it off) that your biological clock also affects grandparents.  What?  You aren’t living your life for your parents?  Then you’re DOING IT WRONG.

The article wants to remind you that you inability or lack of desire to procreate affects the older generation.  Susanna Schrobsdorff writes,

While we were worrying about our biological clocks and our careers, it didn’t occur to us that another biological clock was ticking down: that of our parents’ health. And while medical science keeps coming up with new ways to prolong fertility, thwarting the frailties of old age is harder.

And yes, everything she says is true, but that doesn’t mean that it should have weight.  Would any sane parent really want their child to enter parenthood just to please them before their child is ready to do so?  It makes as much sense as a person grabbing a partner before they’re ready to marry just to please their parents.  And yes, I’m aware there are people who do this, but that doesn’t make it a sound idea we should be recommending to others.

This article got under my skin because of course I’m cognizant of generations aging.  If I’m aging, then everyone else is aging, too.  I’m too aware that when I’m racing a clock for myself, I’m racing it for everyone else who is running alongside me.

A lot of factors go into the timing of parenthood, and adding the age of grandparents into the equation in order to enjoy a longer period of health (which, again, isn’t a given) pushes past the boundaries of reasonableness.  Which Schrobsdorff grudgingly admits,

If I had thought about all that, I might have gotten pregnant a few years earlier, just to give my kids that little bit of extra time with my parents in their prime. Of course, it’s not as if my sister and I could have chosen exactly when we met the men who became our children’s fathers.

Schrobsdorff’s cry of “Don’t forget grandparents in the high-pressure calculus of modern life” isn’t a helpful take on the equation.  It’s just one more reminder of another contingency we’re letting down in a situation that is mostly outside a person’s control.

April 7, 2015   22 Comments

#MicroblogMondays 32: Whining About the Complaint/Restraint Project

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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February has come and gone, which means that I missed the first round of the Complaint/Restraint project.  It’s an Internet project meant to get us complaining less.  Apparently we complain about once per minute of conversation.  So in a 15 minute conversation, we whine 15 times.

And that’s a bad thing?

Yes, yes, yes, we all know that negativity begets negativity and how we need to send positive energy into the universe and the Laws of Attraction and… I get it.  But there is something so satisfying about a complaint; about unloading something that has been annoying you.  In fact, talking about things you can do nothing about takes back control from the uncontrollable by containing it inside words.  So there.

So complain away.  What’s bothering you this morning?  For me, it’s people who use their phones while driving, especially the ones who think it’s okay to look at their screen because they’re driving slowly or because they’ve reached a red light.  GAH!

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Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored posts.

1. Lori Lavender Luz 16. trendyvulcan (The Polka- Dot Umbrella) 31. Mali (A Separate Life)
2. The bespectacled mother 17. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) 32. Junebug
3. Shilpa 18. Daryl 33. Uma S
4. Karen (River Run Dry) 19. Miss Conception 34. Queenie
5. Jessica 20. Jen (Days of Grace) 35. nina michelle
6. Middle Girl 21. Infertile Girl 36. Kimberly
7. No Baby Ruth 22. S 37. Stacie
8. Buttermilk 23. Turia 38. Mary Francis
9. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled) 24. Amber 39. Angela Derecas Taylor
10. Solo Mama 25. torthú il 40. Corinne Rodrigues
11. One and Done? 26. Sara @ Mommy Summers 41. The Hardest Quest
12. Isabelle 27. Laurel Regan @ Alphabet Salad 42. No Way to Say It
13. Accio Baby! 28. Savannah (Because I Can’t Have Babies))
14. Cristy 29. Savannah (Countless Tomorrows)
15. Non Sequitur Chica 30. Mali (No Kidding in NZ)

April 6, 2015   39 Comments

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