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Are today’s parents too photo-happy?

by Meagan Francis on July 9, 2013

Sharing moments with the Disney Story App

You know what I get a little tired of sometimes? Criticism of “today’s parents.” We’re too permissive, too protective, too anxious, and the list goes on.

I’m sure every generation of parents has been accused of being “too” something or other, and while I know our generation isn’t perfect, when I look around me I see a lot of moms and dads doing the best they can – and doing a pretty good job, at that.

Of course, one of the latest accusations is that we take too many pictures.

I remember when I started having kids 15 years ago, before the dawn of iPhones and before digital photography had really become mainstream, worrying that I wasn’t taking enough photos. How quickly things change!

On Babble today, in a post sponsored by Disney Story, I wrote about the “parents take too many photos!” criticism and why I don’t buy it. I also shared why part of me wishes my mom had access to some of the technology we have now:

In those days, the average parent posed the kids by a monument or arranged them in front of the scenery, cajoled the obligatory smile, and then snapped the photo. After all, with only 24 pictures to the average roll of film, who – besides actual photographers, mind you – was going to experiment with action shots, mom-and-kid selfies or 2-3 “just in case” shots of the same pose?…

…I wonder how many moments of my mom’s and mine – like this one my daughter and I recently shared – have been lost forever to time.

Please read the post and then let me know what you think! Do you see parents around you taking too many pictures? Do you ever wish your own parents had had access to the kinds of technology we do today?

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Casey July 9, 2013 at 4:08 pm

I just wrote about this a bit today. Someone commented on my blog saying I post too many photos of my daughter and not enough of us together. What she doesn’t realize is that if my daughter isn’t RUNNING, it’s because she’s either eating, or sitting on my lap for quiet time, or getting tucked into bed, and those aren’t really time best times for photos for our family.

My mom took a lot of photos of us as kids. We were always posing. We hated it. Thankfully, our technology allows us to just take lots of photos and delete the blurry ones. We don’t have to request a pose the way my parents did. We don’t have to pay to develop them. We get to just be in the moment and take a bunch of photos while we’re present.

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Sarah July 9, 2013 at 4:09 pm

That is ridiculous. My MIL gave me my husband’s baby book and it literally has two pictures in it, from age 0-2. Now I think that’s a bit unusual, even for the mid-1970s, but still! I’m sure she wishes (and I sure wish) that she had some more pictures of her first child during his first two years of life!

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Susan July 9, 2013 at 5:12 pm

I have a daughter that’s almost 2 and I’m a professional photographer. I love taking pictures of her and when I shoot, I shoot a LOT. BUT…when we’re at the zoo, a friend’s house, the aquarium, or the park, I put the camera down. I want to experience life WITH her not watch her from behind a camera. I have numerous friends that spend so much time behind their cameras and camera phones that they miss out on things. For instance, a bunch of us went to the zoo and while the other moms were trying to get the best shot of their kiddos by the polar bear exhibit, I was casually walking (lagging behind) with my daughter when a polar bear swam up to us and hung out for a while. It was awesome and all the other mothers and kids missed it.
Take pictures, but don’t spend too much time getting the perfect shot because you’ll miss the polar bears!

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Jenni McKay July 9, 2013 at 5:49 pm

I definitely take a lot of pictures of my kiddos, but the photo books I put together of them each year are some of my most treasured possessions. Snapping a few pictures each day helps remind me just how precious my time with them is, and since I don’t need to tote around a camera everywhere I go, I’m much more apt to have pictures of memories that would easily be forgotten otherwise. My friends often joke with me about how often I have my iPhone out snapping pictures, but I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon!

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Heather Caliri July 11, 2013 at 8:18 pm

I’d agree with everything you said here–there’s beauty in the freedom we have to take pictures. That said, sometimes I feel the pressure to take more, do more, spend time I don’t have organizing, printing, scrapbooking the pictures. Some people do this with joy; my one photo book of my daughters was a headache, much as I enjoy the finished product. Like a lot of modern life, the abundance of our photos takes a lot of time to manage.

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Nina July 11, 2013 at 9:44 pm

While I’m sure there are parents who take it too far, no I don’t think we’re too picture-happy. In fact just between my older son three years ago and my newborns today, I wish I had taken more photos of my older son! I didn’t have an iPhone before so I wasn’t exactly toting around a camera everywhere like I do now. And I wish I did; I wish I had more videos of him when he was younger because I almost feel like I don’t remember the details of when he was that age.

I don’t think parents should interrupt their children’s play or have them pose every 15 seconds, but if it’s just once in a while and very natural, I think it’s great that “today’s parents” take the photos they do.

Plus, as the youngest of five and by default recipient of the least amount of photos because of said status, yes, I wish my parents had the technology we do now. I think I have maybe 30 photos of my whole childhood lol.

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Jessica July 22, 2013 at 4:27 pm

I would say that the “takes too many pictures” problem comes into play when I am forced to wait patiently with my kids to play on something because a parent is taking a picture of their kid. I have no problem with taking pictures, but I think it’s important to remember that there are other people in public places, and not to inconvenience them too much. Other than that, take as many as you want!

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