Many moons ago, when I was just a mere tike, when my Mom and Dad taught me to “share” they were mostly trying to get me not to explode in a hissy fit when my younger sister or one of my playmates wouldn’t let go of my Legos or give up my G.I. Joe. Life was so simple then… Toys and games were physical things we kids could touch and feel and pull apart and throw against the walls or step on to break. Today, in our increasingly digital world, “sharing” has taken on a meaning much larger than letting friends play with toys.
Images Can Shape Your Image
Today, even from a very young age, our kids have access to the tools to be creators, and to share their creations with their friends and beyond. There has been some good discussion here and here about the perils of sharing too much online. As a parent, there is much concern, and rightly so, about the nature of the images and information our kids are sharing in their digital playgrounds. The flipside, however, is to encourage our kids to share plentifully and appropriately.
The Age Of The Ubiquitous Camera
When I was a kid photography was a very special hobby that, for the most part, required expensive equipment and costly development and printing. Wasted images were wasted money, so a typical kid did not have the opportunity to dabble in “taking pictures” until they had saved up some of their allowance money and demonstrated a certain level of maturity and responsibility. Even the so-called “instant” and “disposable” cameras had developing costs and usage limitations that inherently made them not particularly kid friendly. In the days of film and rolls of 12, 24 or 36 “exposures” every image counted, and parents on a vacation budget couldn’t necessarily spare a few bad shots on the whims of a child photographer. These are entirely foreign concepts in today’s digital world, where even toddlers can play with (kid friendly) digital cameras; almost every mobile phone is also a camera; and thanks to inexpensive and readily available digital storage (including “the cloud”) the perceived cost of taking a picture is zero, and the amount of images, good or bad, that one can capture is virtually unlimited.
Sharing Is Creativity Unleashed
Our kids are growing up in a world where everyone and anyone can create and share in ways that were barely dreamed about a decade or so ago. As a parent, it is enlightening to see how effortlessly our kids have stepped into this world and how digital sharing is second nature to them. I was recently reminded of this when my older son, 21, had a picture he took of his truck published at an enthusiast and parts website, Edge Products. Ã‚Â As part of the Sony DigiDad Project I had a Sony A330 DLSR on loan for a few weeks. I let my kids use it as well and the first thing Zach did was run outside and take pictures of his truck (which, understanding the nature of the relationship between a guy and his wheels, didn’t surprise me at all). What did surprise me is that, without missing a beat, he assumed he would be able to share the pictures, and not just with his friends on his Facebook page.Ã‚Â He immediately started posting and emailing his pictures to Auto and Truck sites, and “pitched” his pictures to editorsÃ‚Â by email.Ã‚Â Why not?
No Magnets Or Refridgerators Required
As much as we may cherish the crayon scrawled drawings posted in our kitchens, today our kids’ creations can instantly and easily spread way beyond the refridgerator door.Ã‚Â They can be emailed to grandparents and posted to websites for all to see.Ã‚Â Today when we teach our kids to share, they are potentially sharing with the world.Ã‚Â There has been a lot of talk about the potential for negative outcomes from such open sharing, but what about the positive? Ã‚Â How exciting it is to live in a time where the tools for creating and publishing are so readily available to anyone, of any age.Ã‚Â Think of the power our kids have to spread their voice as compared to what we had at their age.
How does that change the way we teach our kids to share in a digital age?Ã‚Â Please share your thoughts in the comments!
Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 19 and Olivia, 18).Ã‚Â He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.Ã‚Â You can see more of JeffÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s writing atÃ‚Â Sassholes! andÃ‚Â Social Networking Rehab.
Photo Credit: Ã‚Â© Nikolai Sorokin – Fotolia.com