You know that photo your parents have of you? That one from when you were really young that you don’t want your friends to see?
In my family, it’s a photo of my siblings and me in matching sailor outfits that don’t quite seem to fit right. Maybe for you, it’s that photo of you as a one-year-old in the bathtub. Or the one where you were caught red-handed eating Play-Doh. Or the one where your sister made you wear a dress, and you’re not really the type of person who’s into dresses.
I’m not saying you should be embarrassed by that hypothetical picture, but, in this hypothetical situation, you are.
Now, imagine 470,000 strangers have access to that photo.
If that’s the case for you, you might be Dream Kardashian, the daughter of Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian, and, apparently, the smartest, tech-savviest newborn alive. The child was born just a few days ago, and not only does she have her own Instagram account, but it’s already verified.
At this rate, she’s well on her way to surpassing Boomer Phelps, who drove a lot of internet traffic while his dad was swimming laps in Rio De Janeiro.
I’m not here to take issue with the Kardashians or any of the specific photos that have already been posted to the account. I know how the internet works, and I know there must already be thousands of people doing that. And I know all those people are intolerable jerks.
I will say this: babies make pretty good marketing tools. That’s especially true of Kardashian babies, but it’s true of mortal babies as well. In an online world where the lines between person and brand are becoming increasingly blurred, I just feel like there’s something sinister about using your baby to get likes.
When I say that, I’m not talking about the Kardashians anymore. I’m talking about regular old plebeian moms and pops. I know they’re just proud of that thing they brought into the world, but I feel like kids deserve a chance to lay low for a while before their likenesses are plastered all over a network that’s about as private as the bright side of a two way mirror in Times Square.
At the worst, the photos could fall into dubious hands. At their best, they’ll annoy all the parents’ friends. But even if they don’t do either of those things, people deserve a chance to decide for themselves how much of their lives they want online.
Besides, newborn babies are just plain ugly. I know none of us want to say it, but can we all just agree on that once and for all?
And while we’re at it, can we please do away with this whole “public internet shaming” form of punishment? You know, the thing where people post pictures of their kids holding up a sign that says “I twerked at the school dance against my parents’ wishes?”
When the world sees that, the kid will probably face weeks of alienation at school, but as long as the post makes it to BuzzFeed, I guess the parents have done their job!
And please, parents: If you’re going to post embarrassing photos, at least have the common decency not to name your kids something like Dream or Boomer. They’ve been through enough.
William T. Perkins is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. How do you feel about posting baby pictures online? Let William know by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.