Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Instagrabbing

The internet, simply being what it is, is still a wild west of sorts.. maybe now there are more names and less anonymity.. perhaps more privacy shedding has allowed for an interface of all seeing–or preying eyes–on our every movement.. But it is still filled with odd and sometimes downright frightening fads.

Enter the latest, as reported by Fastcompany.com: A new community on Instagram exists.. In it, users steal other users’ baby photos and children off of the net. And then they role play.. In one incident as reported in the article, this:
Sometimes they create entire fake families. Others then interact in the comments of each photo, role-playing as they virtually feed, burp, swaddle, and even reprimand these virtual children. Some Instagrammers even portray themselves as virtual adoption agencies, where followers can request specific babies and toddlers they’d like to adopt–“Looking for a two-year-old girl with blonde hair, green eyes, and who is feisty”–and the adoption agency then finds a photo, usually without permission. Role playing ensues.

This is weird, creepy.. and perverse in some deeply disturbing way.

The most precious cargo a parent can carry is their own child. Any other worldly concern falls to the bottom of the list when compared to the safety and happiness of their own kith and kin. And that is why this is so bizarre and harsh to contemplate.. someone stealing your child, in a virtual sense. The kidnapping of an identity.. role playing and creating a brand new world for the baby who simply wants to learn, discover, and laugh.  That is chilling..

The world is scary, as are people..

Maybe a few things should be in order before you post.. As people can pry. For example, check your settings. Maybe not allowing just anyone to view your information would be a prime thing to think about. That or maybe even screening friends. .and finally, the fact of the matter is this: You are not a star. I am not a star.. I write on a website. But I can be clicked on and forgotten in seconds, I get that.. perhaps a few customers of my information will stick around. But I certainly will not. I am food for worms, as are you. And often, your photos and opinions does not matter regardless of how many times you bellow it out on the social media platform of your choice. Maybe there comes a time and place for a few photos of your child–I know I have done it. But for the most part, the pictures I take are private. I keep them safe, I don’t upload them to the cloud, and I have a grand plan to get them all printed out in an old fashioned 20th century way. Time is rarely on my side, though, and that has been a long delayed personal project.

Perhaps also the people who do these role playings should be evaluated for mental health. If you know someone who role plays, that’s fine. I have some friends who masquerade on weekends on Civil War and Medieval reenanactors, and zombies. Thus far they haven’t shown me signs that they really believe they are what they pretend they are. But we all need to be careful,.

Staying grounded in the real world–or as real as we perceive it being–is often tough. As nightly news issues its latest blood torn press releases, we often want to fly away into a pretend land where nothing is painful and life lives on forever. But it does not. The real world is now.. you are simply typing letters on a keyboard or reading words on a screen.. The photos of your dinner last night will not impress anyone beyond the second it will take for someone to ‘like it.’ And it does not matter how many followers you have, because there’s  a good chance they really don’t follow anything you say.. The real world, my friends, is dark and dingy.

That being said, it’s still amazing to be alive.
Your own life..
Not the innocent life of a child who has parents and a family.. don’t steal that. That’s the most important thing someone owns. Don’t be an Instaphile, people.

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