Every modern decision seems to be fraught with new digital drama. Do you post the picture of that amazing pizza slice you’re about to eat on Instagram? Will the teens make fun of you for it? Do you Snapchat that augmented reality dog face? Do you Snap at all if you’re over 30? Does your baby need to start a Twitter account immediately to jump-start their influencer career and pull down those sweet sippy-cup sponsorships?
Your reaction to that last question may be a hearty “WTF?”, and that would say two things about you: you’re not a millennial and you could be discounting the importance of securing your kid’s online footprint. But should you thrust your baby’s identity into the digital void? The answer is: kinda.
Securing A Digital Future
Unless you’re some crazy necromancer with level 20 divination, there’s no way you can possibly know what’s going to be important 20 years from now (though probably not Candy Crush). That said, there are some online spaces that have sewn themselves pretty solidly into the fabric of the modern world.
Dot Your Kid
Owning a domain name, for instance, is almost like owning property. It’s the gateway to tell the world about who you are and what matters to you. But if you miss the opportunity to snag the one you want, things can get tricky. Especially if you’re trying to register tricky.com (which is bizarrely not a porn site).
At Your Kid
Same goes for Gmail. It’s basically become the key to unlock a schload of Google services. Also, your email address says a lot about who you are. Is your kid going to be janesmith@gmail or janesmith2290@gmail or hottiejanes@gmail? Bizarrely, this shit will probably continue to matter.
Set ‘Em Up
Which is to say, you might want to set your kid up with these things now. You can use the domain to put up a classy site where you can share your kid’s life with friends and family. When they’re old enough to take it over they can use it to host their resume or portfolio. Or sell it for a tidy profit to someone famous who shares their name.
As for Gmail, it’ll just hang there until your kid is old enough to start sending emails to their grandparents. Though slap a filter on that sucker so your future 10-year-old isn’t being exposed to your dad’s increasingly unhinged “funny” forwards.
There is a word of warning on the email side. Gmail Terms Of Service do not allow accounts for anyone under 13. And if you give your kid’s real age you’ll be shut down. Google itself has been fuzzy about this. A 2011 Google commercial showed a Dad setting up a Gmail account for his unborn daughter. The company noted that in the instance of their commercial, it was okay because the account wasn’t for the kid but for communication with the kid. So go ahead and check out this workaround.
Social Media Madness
As far as social media is concerned, things aren’t likely to remain so stable. Sure, you can set up a Twitter account for your kid and creepily tweet about them pooping at the doctor’s office. But that (literal) crap will live forever. Which probably won’t make them like you anymore when their teens.
Also, these services are crazy ephemeral. “Not Facebook!” you exclaim. Yeah? Ever heard of MySpace? Your 40-year-old bro who still spins Motley Crue tunes at a strip club outside of Dallas is the only one currently using it.
It’s very likely your kid will totally ignore these spaces when they’re old enough to engage in them. Besides, they’ll all be Occulus Rifting in some alternate reality by then anyway.
So maybe skip setting up social media accounts for your baby. Save it for that dope pizza slice. Who cares what the stupid teens say.