Would You Claim Your Baby’s Digital Footprint?
The first clue about the names of Beyonce and Jay-Z’s twins came in the form of an unusual document: A trademark application for the newborns’ names. Less than two weeks after giving birth, the couple filed the application to use the names Rumi and Sir on, as People put it, “everything from fragrances and cosmetics to baby gear, tote bags and water bottles.”
While few non-celebrity parents are likely to follow suit, the Carters’ trademark application does raise an interesting question. In a world where over 350,000 babies are born every day, does it make sense for parents to claim the territory tied to their newborns’ names?
We’re thinking here, of digital territory: domain names, email addresses, social media handles and so forth. Of course, in the case of common names — your James Smiths and Kate Johnsons — that ship likely sailed long ago. But if you have an uncommon last name or pick a relatively rare first name, chances are you’d be able to sign up for all the accounts you want in your newborn’s name. But should you? Would you? Did you?
The question here is not whether you’d have any use for these accounts right away. But when your child was old enough to use them, they might appreciate being able to use their actual name rather than firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the other hand, some might find this sort of claim-staking either creepy or unnecessary. And there’s also a strong chance that by the time your child comes of age, the sorts of accounts available now could be totally defunct.
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on August 14th, 2017 at 11:06 pm
Shortly after each of our three boys were born I created their gmail accounts. We have a very unique last name, so I doubt there would be any competition, but I did it anyway. I actually send them emails occasionally. I’ll send cute pictures I’ve taken of them, little notes whenever I think about it, and special birthday emails detailing what they’re like at their current age. I also keep the old school baby books and do a first year calendar for them all, but I thought it’d be fun for them, when they’re older, to see all these emails from me. I also sent my parents and in-laws the addresses so they could email them messages for the future too.
on August 14th, 2017 at 11:24 pm
As far as I’m concerned, the Carter’s can have those names!
on August 15th, 2017 at 12:35 am
No comment on the article. But I LOVE what JH has done with the e-mail accounts! How amazing will that be for those kiddos someday!?
on August 15th, 2017 at 1:22 am
I have a 16 month old, and I made him an email address shortly after he was born. I send emails and photos every now and then. I found it really helped me bond with him, as I got quite bad PPD. I wrote him letters and little quirky things he would do. I’ll give him the password one day, And he will have a special little collection of memories 🙂
on August 15th, 2017 at 4:23 am
I like the email address thing as a gift idea/something to show a child, but in terms of social media I’m definitely against it. Not even going into the reasonable point the article makes about companies going out of style/sites being abandoned, but I think that in the modern age, creating and curating your online presence is an intensely individual thing, and very tied to the adolescent need to discover – and accept – your identity. As a 13 yo, I resented my mum for insisting she be my friend on Facebook/follow me on twitter so she could keep an eye on my online habits, and that’s far more ‘reasonable’ than creating the accounts for me.
on August 15th, 2017 at 9:48 am
I know of two families who have already registered their children’s gmail accounts. It makes sense to me, as it is free to do, and the kids can always choose a different email address if they want to later. And if gmail is no longer used by the time they are teens, then it’s not as though you’ve lost anything.
One semi-related thing I have considered in naming children is to factor in how easy it is to find them online. Personally, I like that my name is just common enough that if you google it, you have scroll through several pages before you find the one that is actually me. To me, it provides a layer of privacy. I wouldn’t want to give my child a name that was so unusual that they were easy to find online.
on August 15th, 2017 at 12:00 pm
I was under the impression that for security/safety reasons, you should not let your child use his/her full name or other identifying features for an email address or website usernames. So Tom1234 would be fine, but Tom.Callahan would not.
on August 15th, 2017 at 12:15 pm
I agree with the above, I didn’t think you were supposed to have your full name on social media or emails, so I definitely wouldn’t do it for my child. I don’t really understand the trademark thing in general to be honest.
on August 15th, 2017 at 1:06 pm
OMG I absolutely LOVE the email thing from @JH and @SunKissedChild! Such an adorable idea. Sort of a modern version of the Baby Books. As for me, I think the idea of trademarking names to be very silly. If you’re that concerned with your kids sharing their name with someone, then you have a problem. And that’s coming from me! I would like my children to not have popular names, but I’m not that worried about it.
on August 15th, 2017 at 1:10 pm
Lol, no. I would not do this, it may seem like a good idea… but it wouldn’t be anything that would actually be used by the child. People want to create their own things, come up with their own username. It may be a cute thing to do to send baby pics, so the child can look at it when they’re older, but still that’s not worth it to me. I’d just make a photo album.
on August 15th, 2017 at 7:23 pm
My friend and her husband got an email address for their daughter, and they send her emails every now and then–kind of like a time capsule that they’ll hand over to her when she’s a certain age. I think that’s nice. Otherwise, I dunno. I don’t think it’s necessary.
on August 15th, 2017 at 9:24 pm
Very first comment is clever and cute. Digital scrapbooking! I’m not going to have kids for another +10 years but I think it isn’t a bad idea, especially with the added bonus of being able to send the future them messages.
on August 16th, 2017 at 6:32 pm
I (inadvertently) did this…
Shortly after my daughter was born in late 2003, I received a first-gen iPod as a Christmas gift from my dad. When I went to set it up, I had to start an iTunes account; remember, this was several years before iPhone and iPad. I chose [my daughter’s name]@mac.com as my Apple ID. A few years later, since I don’t use Mac, Apple converted it to an @me.com account. While it’s still the Apple ID for my iTunes store account, my daughter is now a high school freshman and uses it for her email. She says she’s the only one of her friends whose email address is simply [first name]@me.com and thinks it’s awesome. I really didn’t plan it that way…but it’s nice how it turned out!
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