Earlier today I read a BBC News story about a new(ish) phenomenon – baby time-lapses. The basic idea is that you take a picture of your child every day, then build that into an online gallery or even a time-lapse video which you’ve then got the option of uploading to YouTube. The article mentions one such video which has had seven million hits in the four years since it was first posted.
Now, I’m happy to admit that I can be a sentimental old sod, and I can totally see the appeal of doing something like this. I even had a similar idea myself (which I may still do) of photographing every piece of art our girls produce, and sticking it on here as a virtual gallery. I may actually go through with that, but the idea of these time-lapse videos makes me uneasy for a number of reasons.
I have no idea how many pictures have been taken of our girls – more than were taken of their parents by the same age, definitely. Most of them are “catch the moment” type pictures though, most likely taken with a mobile phone. A lot of the time the girls won’t even know we’ve taken a picture. And yet, Heather’s already gone through at least phase where she refused point blank to pose for the camera. We reckoned it was photo fatigue – too many pictures meant she wasn’t interested any more. And if that’s how she’s reacted to random spur of the moment pictures being taken, I can imagine how she’d deal with a staged picture every day. Without resorting to force (or bribery!) to get her to cooperate, the project would have had to be abandoned some time ago.
My other concern is over-sharing. Now that might sound silly, given I’m writing this on a blog that could be viewed by anyone in the world. And you’d be right. But… I know how many folk read this blog and believe me, it’s nowhere NEAR seven million. And I think that makes a difference – I know I’m really only sharing with friends and family. If I know I’m getting more visitors, maybe I’ll change what I post.
Also, I’m fully in control of this site. Everything. I couldn’t say the same about something I posted on YouTube, particularly the comments that are made. I can moderate what folk say about my posts here, but could I do the same on YouTube? And would I have the TIME to deal with the volume that appears to have been generated?
I worry about the effect this will have had on those kids – being photographed every day, being thrown out on the internet for all and sundry to comment on, and all at an age where you’re too young to have any say in the matter.
Of course maybe I’m just overreacting. And maybe being a touch hypocritical too?. At the end of the day, everyone’s different, and everyone parents differently. Maybe these parents wouldn’t approve of some of OUR choices (for example when the kids went into front facing car seats).
But no matter how great a record it wil be of their childhood, this isn’t something I would force on my kids. Now… where are those paintings?