Photokill is not a word. But it should be. I am seriously contemplating writing to Oxford Dictionary with the suggestion. They will, no doubt, ask me to provide valid reasons for my seemingly unreasonable proposal. And I am armed with my reply.
All they need to do is to log on to Facebook. That's right, it's that simple. Just log on and get assailed with photographs, especially of children-from the time they are in liquid form (that's right), to their first birthday (with all and sundry pinching their cheeks), to the time they wear the graduation hat. It's all there. But that's not where it stops (you'd hope). No way. There are entire websites dedicated to the pictures. Not to mention other social media like Twitter, Whatsapp, Pinterest and the like.
You'd ask me what's wrong with that. I mean, if a parent wants to chronicle everything from the birth of a child to the growth of his last molar then "what goes of my father?" (as they say). Nothing, except that I think it's a bit much. Also, many of those images end up in my newsfeed; so I am, sort-of, affected. And yes, I am quite aware of brilliant plug-ins like Rather (www.getrather.com) that let you put in keywords which block certain kind of images from your social networking sites.
But that's not my point. I am talking of the bigger-picture here. I think that in this age of "helicopter parenting" (now a well-known term) we've become overbearing parents who are constantly breathing down the necks of our children. In our desire to do what's best for them we want to manage their lives from birth. And photographing them is one aspect of that. Sure, it's about creating memories as well, which people like to freeze digitally, and they should. The trouble is when this desire starts to border on the obsessive. There's something to be said about enjoying the moment, which we seem to have completely forgotten about in our aim to record every millisecond of our child's growth/achievement. I think that if we just let it be for a bit, we'd enjoy our children a lot more.
A child's annual day is a case in point. It's now impossible to watch one without scores of iPads blocking your view. Who cares a damn about the pleading emails from school authorities to deter parents from falling over each other in an effort to catch their child's performance? Not these click-happy guys, for sure. While I understand the need to record your child's show, it can be done discreetly and to a limit. Also, my point is that in the quest for saving the moment for later, you are actually losing the present. I find it ironical.
I am not one to glorify the past just because it's gone. But, in this case, I think the olden days of clicking pictures sensibly and then developing them (funny how that word has lost its meaning) was a far better system. Our parents didn't love us any less just because they didn't want to record us even as we slept.
Photokill ought to be a word. If selfie can make it, then my humble suggestion too stands a chance.