Digital and mobile phone photography have made it easy for parents to document every waking (and non-waking) moment of a child’s life, but what effect is this constant picture-taking having on kids? David Zweig has written up an article over at the New York Times arguing that our culture of photography is intruding on the preciousness of youth, and that parents should take fewer photographs of their children.
Our children’s lives are being documented to a degree never done before. My parents have one photo album for every year or two of our family’s history, with four pictures on each page, carefully placed under the cellophane. By contrast, I often have over 100 new pictures per month added to iPhoto on my computer. Like adults, kids often act differently when they know the camera is on [...] The very act of documentation, ironically, affects the moment it is trying to document
[...] both components of our photography obsession — the experience of parents and others regularly clicking away, and the regular viewing of the results of this relentless documentation — are making our children increasingly self-aware. And this is a shame because a lack of self-awareness is part of what makes youth so precious.
Not everyone agrees with Zweig’s points. While some parents commenting on the piece are thanking him for being “spot on”, others are calling his argument “utter nonsense.”