Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Cannon: If you’re a mom, beware before you share


< Previous Page


By now you’ve probably seen that Time cover — the one where a mother is proudly breast-feeding her enormous 3-year-old son for all the world to see. My first thought was, "Wow! That mom looks a little like the girl who plays Amanda on the TV series ‘Revenge,’ which (sadly) is getting stupider by the minute."

And my second thought was "Wow! No matter how superior that kid will be because his mother breast-fed him forever, dude’s seriously gonna wish he’d never been born once he hits junior high school."

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

How do I know this? Because I have five sons. And if a similar picture of them had surfaced when they were teenagers, those boys would have immediately signed up for the Federal Witness Protection Program. Here’s the deal. That Time cover shot isn’t going away. Ever. The image of a 3-year-old male standing on a stool in his sporty camouflage pants in order to suckle at his attractive mother’s bosom will live on in perpetuity, thanks to the Internet.

OK. I want to make it very clear right now that this particular column is not an examination of breast-feeding as extreme sport. We women can and should choose how to nourish our infants. And then we should get off each other’s backs about it.

What I find more compelling here is the issue of a child’s privacy — especially in this day of blogging and Facebooking and tweeting. Frankly, I love to look at adorable pictures of my friends’ kids and grandkids online. I love to read entertaining stories about them, too. Domestic lives — yours, mine — always interest me.

The problem is that parents, without realizing it, sometimes view their children as extensions of themselves. The woman breast-feeding on the cover of Time is comfortable with her decision to go public. OBVIOUSLY. And (also obviously) she therefore assumes her little boy must be, too. Why shouldn’t he be? He’s her son after all.

Children, however, aren’t always on board with their parents’ willingness to share — especially as they grow older. I know this from direct personal experience. Over the past 25 years I’ve written A LOT about my family, including the time one son got suspended for throwing snowballs at recess when he was in grade school. I found myself in the awkward parental position of having to support the principal’s decision in front of my son while on the inside I was going, "YES! BRING IT, BABY! I LOVE SNOWBALL FIGHTS!

I turned the whole thing into a pretty good column.

Or so I thought.

My son came home from school one day, upset. "Alex said you wrote a story about me in the paper."


story continues below
story continues below

"Well, yes," I said. "I guess I did."

"Don’t do that anymore."

It was one of those moments when I remembered I wasn’t just writing about my own life, I was writing about someone else’s life, too. And that someone wasn’t happy about it. Until, of course, I said I would buy him a pizza every time I told a story about him. And then he was all, "AWESOME!"

The point is this: We each have different levels of comfort when it comes to sharing personal information. Some readers, for example, may think I tell too much, while others might wish I were more candid. What an extreme example like the recent Time cover does, however, is remind us that the Internet and whatever we put out there is forever.

Which can be a good thing!

But only if we’re smart about it.

Ann Cannon can be reached at acannon@sltrib.com or facebook.com/columnistcannon.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.