Suzanne Reisler Litwin: Privacy… what privacy?

I think the word privacy is losing its value. It doesn’t seem to have much use these digital days. Other words like floppy disk, icebox, and yuppie seem to have faded with time also. If you don’t know what these words mean, it’s a clear indication I have fallen even deeper into the generation gap!

This new digital age is playing havoc on the respect and use of privacy. It seems nothing or very little has any right to privacy. My greatest concerns are the very young people who can’t even exercise their rights to it. Let me explain…

I have a friend who recently had a baby. From the moment she knew the sex of the baby, this child has been digitally exposed. Firstly, the mom sent us a gender reveal video. In the video, she popped a balloon which displayed a burst of blue confetti to symbolize she was having a boy! From that moment onward, she has shared the child’s daily life on either (or all) social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat.

At first I enjoyed seeing the child grow from newborn to toddler. Then the cute pictures and videos of the child eating an Oreo cookie and getting the chocolate biscuit all over his face. I’ve enjoyed all the pictures and videos up until the exposure of his naked self. That’s when my ears perked up and I became alert to the extreme lack of HIS privacy.

Every day the child has been exposed in some form of picture or video, via the internet. There is a complete digital history of the existence of this person. From the moment of his gender identity to the most recent day of his life, all exposed. Seen by all friends, family, and whoever else is watching!

Although, social media forums claim to provide protection of privacy, we know there is no privacy with the recent knowledge of the Facebook no-privacy fallout. My primary concern is for the child. I’m just not concerned about the security of the child; I am also concerned about his rights to privacy. He may grow up and not be happy about all the exposure. Perhaps his gender identity will be in question and the social media footprint will be cemented? Perhaps he will grow up to be a very private person and become hateful of having his younger daily life exposed. Perhaps this digital footprint will hinder his professional choices? At this point, who knows what direction his life will take?

I’m not going to belittle the security factor either. I don’t believe any social media platform is private. Therefore, all pictures and videos you see leave a footprint in some digital way for anyone to see and share. I think this is the nature of the internet beast.

Maybe, I just don’t trust the internet!

Maybe, I demand privacy which doesn’t have any value today?

This question still remains. Does privacy have any value today? Is the word, privacy becoming obsolete? Is the word going down the tubes like cassette, HiFi, penmanship, and beatnik. I wonder?

It would be foolish to think that sharing pictures and videos on the internet could be private. Perhaps even more foolish to think that a person has a right to privacy, whether they are 1 or 100?

As parents we protect our children from the dangers of the world. We hold their hands when crossing the street. We put them in car seats to protect them from the dangers of traveling. We give them healthy fresh foods to eat. We keep them from dark streets, creepy alleys and dangerous places.

However, some from the younger generation expose everything about their children via the internet. This exposure is worldly bound. Is this the best security for our children? Does the cute picture of the child eating an Oreo cookie and making a chocolate mess on their face really worth internet exposure and a permanent digital footprint?

Again, maybe it’s just me. Perhaps not everyone in the world is wonderful and kind and the balance of good and evil does exist.

More so, I believe every person has a right to privacy, even newborns!

—Suzanne Reisler Litwin



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