Liz Kearney: 'Might the Apple of Gwynnie's eye be right?'
I've got to confess, it took me only seconds to climb aboard my very high horse when I saw Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter Apple giving her mum a ticking off for posting a photo of them sharing a ski lift on social media.
"Mom we have discussed this, you may not post anything without my consent," scolded Apple. You can almost hear the gigantic eye-roll that surely accompanied this caustic tweet.
But yes, I thought, too right, Apple - sock it to your mum. Gwynnie should definitely not be putting up pictures of you without your permission for the world to bitch about (what! another skiing holiday? bloody celebrities!) but to be honest, she probably shouldn't even be doing it even with your permission - after all, you are only 14!
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Can you really properly consent to such a thing when you are too young to understand in any meaningful way what the Faustian pact of celebrity might entail?
But within minutes I'd fallen off my high horse with a loud bump, when it was pointed out to me that I'm no stranger to putting photos of my own kids on Facebook, and, of course, writing articles about them in this very paper.
I once wrote a piece complaining that the oldest wouldn't sleep at night (he was all of nine months old at the time, bless him) accompanied by a picture of the poor lad looking utterly bemused by it all.
In hindsight, this was not one of my better ideas, and should he ultimately end up in therapy complaining that his permanently cranky mother had no patience with him, he'll have documentary evidence to back up his claims.
But we do need to collectively stop and ask ourselves whether we are doing our kids any favours by relentlessly exposing them like this on social media.
There is no shortage of other Irish 'sharenters' out there and one friend, whose children are much older, says she is frequently horrified by the photos other mums post of their teenage daughters on their way out to discos in clothes that leave little to the imagination.
"Do they not realise that any creep could be looking at those photos? It's crazy," she points out.
And she's right, but the thing is it all starts innocuously enough. When our kids are really small, they just seem like extensions of ourselves, albeit way cuter extensions.
We put up endearing pics of them without even thinking. But at what point do they become their own entirely separate entities?
In Apple's case, she's quite clear about where the line is. The rest of us might not be so sure.
Fat chance of finding a garden to play in
Are we witnessing the end of the traditional back garden, I wonder? At the weekend I went for a snoop at an open viewing of luxury new-builds.
They were five-bed suburban family homes, but the show house, which was selling for an eye-watering sum, had no back garden at all. Just a tiny, extremely dark yard, into which you'd struggle to fit a washing line.
I wish this were a one-off, but just down the street there are a couple of newly constructed bungalows for sale with a cobblelocked driveway in front and a few paved metres at the back, just big enough to put the bins out.
In an era where playing on the road is a no-no because of traffic, and big greens on housing estates are a thing of the past, where exactly do the planners think our kids are going to get any fresh air?
I spent many happy hours playing in our small back garden growing up, but even that simple pleasure will be outside the reach of many modern suburban families.
It is no wonder our obesity crisis is spiralling out of control.