If you’re ever asked what the most annoying aspect of Facebook is, the majority of people will probably say it’s the abundance of baby photos that pepper their timeline. Social media is primed for sharing every single detail about your life in an effort to impress and show off to your acquaintances, but people’s unfettered joy surrounding their new bundle can be a little too much.
While a large number of us will have seen one or two post-birth shots in the hospital bed, it appears Dutch artist Laura Cornet has taken things to their logical extreme. Cornet has designed a mobile to be placed inside your baby’s crib that allows the new human to post selfies and status updates to Facebook.
Net-connected as standard, the camera comes disguised as a soft toy that hangs above the crib. With a touch or squeeze, a photo is taken and uploaded immediately. There are different designs for each prominent social network, if your baby is smart enough to distinguish between them.
If this all seems a little overwhelming then don’t be too worried, this is only a final-year project (called New Born Fame) for the Design Academy Eindhoven student. Facebook haven’t taken up any options yet, but the project has generated a lot of discussion online as to how such a product would be received if it was put on the market.
Writing about the project and its meaning, as well as her own motives, Cornet said: “This generation of newborns is the first to be brought up by parents who grew up with Facebook. Nearly half of the babies are visible online within the first day after birth. I wouldn’t want that, but my research showed differently. A lot of people didn’t think of it as a problem, as their kid was part of their lives. The only negative thing mentioned, was the fact that the baby has no say in it.”
So with the project designed to evoke strong reactions from people who come into contact with it, what do ordinary people think about it?
Matt, 25, and not a parent, think it’s a blessing for any parents who are social media addicts.
“People with kids do this constantly anyway, so this just takes out the effort. So in that sense it is kind of a natural progression. Albeit a totally horrible one if it ever does take off. It’s a clever commentary, but I reckon a lot would completely miss the point and think it’s a brilliant idea.”
Jane, 35, a mother, views it primarily as a bit of fun that would only benefit from parental knowledge and control.
“As far as the social media aspect goes I am pretty clamped down on who I am friends with, and none of my pictures are available for public consumption. I’m not on Twitter or Instagram. Would I be troubled that my child could post to social media on their own? I’d probably be more troubled because my house is a tip and as long as they were posting through my account I would know they were only bothering people that would not be afraid to tell me that my offspring was cluttering up their timeline.
“Also I have the attitude that my tiny child is a joy and a delight to me and some sort of crude noise making device to other people. I try to keep the posting of things my daughter does to when she has genuinely amused me and when she has genuinely outmanoeuvred me – I can think of no reason on earth why anybody (even me) would be interested in her lying in her cot. I have a sneaking suspicion that quite a few mums would love this, but I don’t think I’m that mummy.”
BaDoink spoke with the inventor, who is taken aback by the attention her project has received, but holds strong views on the aims and messages hidden within it, and how parents should heed the easy dangers of technology.
“There has been publicity in the Netherlands as well, but it never became as big as it has become in other countries, like England and the United States.
“I think it has captured people’s imaginations because it seems to be a social dilemma for parents at this time. Basically everyone uses social media, and everyone knows the stories about pictures from kids and babies. A lot of people have to think about this issue even before their baby is born. You have to talk to your family to set rules about the amount of photos that go online, because it has just become so common to do so. I think social media in combined with babies is a delicate and controversial subject, which I think is a reason it is also liked so much by the media. And last but not least: a baby taking selfies is quite cute of course!”
While Laura has yet to be approached by any of the social media giants to patent her creation, she sees it as the next step in her career.
“I am very happy to get acknowledged for my way of thinking, rather than for the actual product. Hopefully I will find a way to either do that in a new company, or start one for myself. The only sure thing will be that this project will start a new chapter, one way or another.”
Technology, babies, selfies, social media – it couldn’t get any more new or modern than this.