Pictures and videos of pets and their antics have for long dominated Instagram. But of late the social media site’s cuteness quotient has only upped, with a number of little people demonstrating that they know how to strike a pose or two, all while looking as angelic as possible. Indeed, the trend of proud parents taking to the site to set up separate accounts for their little ones (managed by them of course) is slowly catching up in Goa.
Memories for a lifetime
In a lot of cases this is to help family and friends share in the joy of watching their tot grow up, and celebrate little milestones.
“Those closest to us aren’t all in Goa but, we still want them to be part of Hailey’s life and not miss out on any moment. Also, it is easier to have an account which everyone has access to instead of sending individual family members and friends pictures,” says Alisha Braganza, who together with Royce Coutinho are parents to Hailey Eva Coutinho. “I’ve had a lot of friends and family who absolutely love her updates and they say it puts a smile on their faces. So that’s always amazing to hear,” she adds.
For Gleta Mascarenhas, documenting moments of her little daughter Hailey Mascarenhas on Instagram means that she always has a photo album with her. “My family and friends can view Hailey’s pictures by just clicking on a button. In fact, if I don’t post for a couple of days, I get calls asking why there are no posts of Hailey,” she says.
Also, one doesn’t have to worry about storage on the phone this way, adds Pooja Trinidade, mother of Ivana Jade. “When it’s up on social media it’s there to stay,” she says. The stories option also means that the pictures are available to view only for 24 hours, she says. “But it’s all archived in the account and is a good option to look back on memories.”
Shaeen and Armando Gonsalves, however, use their sons’ (Liam and Stellan) Instagram accounts, as a way of talking about peace, love, family, issues concerning the environment and the subtler things of life.
“As parents we were wary about exposing our sons to social media, but after giving it a lot of thought we opened an account for him. In the end we thought if we could speak for our children and the issues concerning their future, why not?” says Shaeen, adding that they would like their sons to develop a love for nature and the environment from a very young age. “Liam has been a part of many environmental issues like the Sancoale mango tree issue, the Save Aarey campaign, supporting Greta Thunberg, etc. We as parents speak on his behalf because we are concerned about our sons’ futures,” she says.
Indeed, most parents admit that they were hesitant about starting these accounts at first. “There are always pros and cons to social media. For that matter everything has its pros and cons. But it all depends on how you choose to use it,” believes Alisha, adding that Hailey’s account is private and they are very careful with the follow requests that come in – only close friends and family. “Also, constantly monitoring the account will help keep unwanted ‘predators’ away,” she says.
Poonam Cardozo, mother of Jude Hector Cardozo, says that they only started an account from him once he was three years old. Apart from keeping the account private and being careful with followers, she says they make sure that they never tag the location, unless they are travelling. “Also, we are very selective on what kind of photos should go out, after all nothing online is really private,” she says.
Gleta however had no initial qualms about starting an account for her daughter. “Our lives revolve around social media today,” she says. But she does ensure that she keeps safety checks in place. London-based Zico Fernandes, father of Kora Fernandes, also echoes a similar thought. “I know a lot of parents who are protective about the kids in one way or another, but we aren’t like that. I guess it depends on individual preferences,” he says. However, he says, if there’s something that they as parents aren’t comfortable with, they have a mutual agreement to pull the plug on it. Zico further adds that when they began the account for Kora they weren’t expecting much out of it. But a year in, and the response has surpassed their expectations. “From free merchandise through the post to complimentary hotel stays, they all slowly trickle in. Nobody’s complaining,” he says.
The ‘cool’ factor
There has been much debate and articles written about how accounts for little ones could be a problem once the kids grow up, as they may not be ‘cool’ with the fact that their baby pictures are up online. But parents aren’t too worried about this. “If our daughter is anything like us, I’m sure she’ll be totally okay with it. We think of it as a baby book just like we had when we were kids. This is just a digital baby book,” says Alisha.
Poonam also states that the account is more for them than for him, a way to keep his memories collectively at one place. “Of course we will let him know about it as and when the time comes, but I would like to think of it as a letter I’ll hand over to him of our thoughts and moments as we saw him grow,” she says.
And having scoured far and wide for photographs of himself when he was baby, Zico feels the younger generation can thank their lucky stars that everything is now digital and they won’t have to learn to deal with developing negatives. “My wife, however, thinks she can use it as a blackmailing tool,” he says, laughing.
Shaeen meanwhile says that they refrain from putting up pictures that have no meaning. But she agrees that one can never tell what her sons may later find embarrassing. “For us every picture of theirs is cute and innocent,” she smiles.
Pooja adds that if a picture does bother Ivana when she gets older, she will take it off. “Meanwhile, I try not to put embarrassing pictures,” she says.
A passing trend?
But if Instagram does fade away by the time the kids are older, given that many social media sites have an expiration date, Pooja says that while they will miss out on the memories stored on Instagram, they will just have to move on. “We do have tons and tons of pictures saved on our devices anyway,” she says.
“Sure, nothing is permanent,” says Shaeen. “Everyday there are new sites and apps being launched. When they grow up they might have much better platforms to express their thoughts. But kids absorb things at a very young age, and we are doing our best to inculcate important values into them.”
And Zico and his wife too prefer to just live in the moment. “Maybe Instagram won’t be around when she gets older, but it has made us ready for the next platform that will trend and also appeal to us,” he says.