Best columns: Europe
Stop flaunting your kids on social media
The Sunday Times
Are you guilty of “sharenting”? asked Jenny McCartney. That is, do you endlessly post pictures and videos of your adorable children on social media? In a recent poll, 42 percent of British parents declared that they happily engage in the practice. Photos of little ones on Facebook or Instagram no doubt bring joy to many people, not least far-flung relatives who rarely get to see the kids in person. “The difficulty is that such sharing can become obsessive” and end up invading children’s privacy. A 2010 survey found that 92 percent of children in America had an online presence by their second birthday; the digital records of many began even before birth, with 34 percent of parents posting their ultrasound pictures online. There is also something rather misleading about these carefully curated images of childhood. “A small child is indeed a silky-skinned marvel who will fall asleep in your arms, with hair smelling of honey, but also one who will wake you in the early hours having been sick over themselves, and quite possibly scream ‘I hate you’ as you clean them up.” Why only share the good moments? Why, more to the point, waste time “recording parenthood online” in a vain effort to capture the moment, when you should simply be experiencing it?
Our navy is nothing to brag about
Romania’s politicians have made the country a laughingstock with their pretensions to military might, said Sabina Fati. During Navy Day celebrations last week, warships paraded before a crowd at the Black Sea port of Constanta, while Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and other bigwigs gave grandiose speeches. The trouble is, our entire navy consists of one ancient Soviet submarine that can no longer be used in combat, three frigates, two corvettes, and a handful of minelayers. Romanian military commanders fully understand that our tiny navy is overwhelmed by the threats it faces. In the Black Sea, the Russians have been scrambling ships’ GPS systems with satellite interference technology. There are also signs that the Black Sea is starting to be used by people smugglers: Earlier this month, a Turkish ship carrying 70 Iraqi migrants was seized 10 miles from Romania’s coast. It would be right for the government to signal that our navy is ready to meet these challenges, if that were the case. But our show of strength will hardly have scared the Russians, who recognize that Romania is almost totally dependent on the U.S. military for its defense. Everyone knows just how “fragile” our navy really is, so why go out of our way to advertise it?