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I'll be letting my children decide whether to make their memories public

Every summer's day with your kids is an album of pictures you want to keep.

I never want to forget my daughter's determined pedalling as she made her wya up the hill to go pier jumping with new friends. I never want to forget three of the kids snuggled up in bed with their father, giggling.

My son's wide grin under his cycling helmet; three of them flying kites on the beach as night falls; my autistic boy rocking in time to an Irish traditional reel; all of us playing cards.

Every summer is unique when you have kids because they are never the same again.

Summers are like rings on the tree of childhood until the tree is fully grown.

Then you and the hubbie can do a nice bus tour of the Lakes of Kilarney on your own and pass around the pictures of summers past.

Between yourselves on your phones, perhaps, or better still, in one of those albums I'm trying to make.

I'm not much past the baby pictures, but 
this winter I swear I'll get on top of those
big albums I bought in a rush of optimism.

I want the kids to have albums of summer pictures just like I have.

But I sure as hell don't want their pictures shared with the world on Facebook.

It's blowing me away how many people are sharing image after image of their children this summer.

I certainly don't want to see holiday snaps of other people's kids. Some of them are so determined to launch their kids into cyberspace that they have squeezed their babies' mugs into their profile pictures.

In case you'd be under the impression they were losers in the fertility stakes.

Or weren't touchy-feely enough.

They're using pictures of their kids to tell stories about themselves.

I think that's wrong. Kids should be free to tell their own stories about themselves when they're good and ready.

But this generation of parents has gone completely mad posting images of their kids on social media sites.

A survey showed 95pc of British parents posting images of their kids, with 68pc uploading new ones three times a week or more.

It's like a massive brag fest from which you can't escape. And the worst thing is that the kids themselves can't escape it either.

Have these parents even thought about the fact that historical Facebook pictures of their kids will be available, not only to their kids' future partners but to future employers, future litigants, people who don't like them?

There are going to be some serious pow-wows between teens and parents as kids attempt to make a cull of their parents' pictures before they reach adultood.

But it's not always easy to edit your history.

And what happens when a parent dies, when no-one remembers their password?

Will Facebook and other social media providers face legal actions to give kids back their identities?


Better to just stop now. Stop putting images of your kids on social media sites.

I haven't made public a pic of any of my kids in a decade, but there are still some baby pics out there from the time before I copped on.

They will be the last public pics of my kids until they post their own images to tell their own stories.

Because that's the issue here: your kids are not your accessories. They're not yours at all. They're their own people. And this is their summer.

The only place they're yours is saved somewhere private on your hard drive or arranged artistically on the pages of an album, complete with the little captions our parents used to write, like "Himself with Rubber Ducky".

Oh, and they're yours in your heart and minds and memories too, of course. I forgot that.