DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am at the age now when my friends have started having children of their own. That puts me in the generation who share nearly every part of our lives online, and though I don’t have children of my own, I certainly enjoy the pictures and stories my peers post about their kids (who are too young for Facebook accounts).
The trouble is, where does the cute story end and the humiliation begin?
Many of my friends with children post not only “cross-eyed bear” anecdotes, but stories of their sons and daughters being naughty or reckless (as toddlers will), and include details that, were I that child, I would not want to be public knowledge. It’s known that most social media make up a permanent digital record. And even if future colleagues and friends don’t find these stories, every adult the child grows up around will know them.
Since these kids won’t have access to their own online identity for several years, it’s a very one-sided narrative indeed. I’m not sure how to talk to the parents involved about my misgivings without seeming nosy or discouraging them from sharing their experiences raising children.
GENTLE READER: The urge to rescue endangered children is a noble one, and Miss Manners agrees with you that these children are in danger of being embarrassed in years to come. As you point out, they are not yet old enough to embarrass themselves.
However, this is not a form of cruelty that justifies outside interference. The most you can do is to say jokingly, “Wow, I bet his future bosses will enjoy seeing that.”