Instagram is a popular social networking site which shares images and short video.

Virtual life or virtually living?

WIth the increasing use of social media in our society, are we managing our virtual lives or are we only virtually living?

With the increasing use of social media and handheld devices in our society, it may be somewhat like beating a dead horse to raise the topic one more time.

But it has been making me think lately.

I recently read an article detailing how two parents took control of their child’s online identity before she was even born.

They searched her name before they chose it to make sure there were not lots of negative search results associated with namesakes. After choosing a name, they then registered a domain name (internet website address) an email account, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, all in her name.

The idea was not to create her identity, but instead to prevent others from creating one for her.

The parents do not post photos of their child on Facebook or other social media, due to their concerns over facial recognition software and the implications for how this could impact her later in life.

They don’t allow their friends to post anything related to the couple’s new child either.

Now these steps seem a little extreme to me, in an age where the majority in our society will be growing up with an online presence before they are even born, it will be a shared experience the couple’s child will not know, but is this such a bad thing?

Probably not.

And while we’re at it, maybe the rest of us could do with a little less online presence.

Well, let’s be realistic, our online lives are here to stay, but perhaps we need to also be present where we are a little more often and worry about showing off to the rest of the world how awesome our bike ride/child’s birthday/night out are going a little less.

I also recently read a great article on the constant documenting of our lives and the impact it is having on us.

Our obsession with our online lives can distract us from enjoying our actual lives, and can also create the phenomenon known as FOMO or fear of missing out. Instead of focussing on what we’re doing, we might actually find ourselves constantly checking our Instagram or Facebook feeds to find out what everyone else is doing.

Researchers are beginning to study these things, which would suggest the problem is not getting better or going away.

I used to think television was the problem – people watching someone’s pretend life instead living their own, but maybe social media is just as dangerous.

My advice: go outside and play, and leave the phone at home once in awhile. #IMO #justasuggestion #adviceonlife #intendedirony