As a blogger I spend so much time on social media – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Over the years and months of having a life showcased online I have watched other families growing through the pages of social media and I have seen trends coming and going.
There’s one trend that keeps popping up, mainly on social media but in life too, not just within bloggers but everywhere. Monochrome is a bit of a lifestyle trend, a fashion statement and for some – a way of life.
I love the monochrome trend – the black and white, sometimes grey. The statement prints and the bold designs. When things are purely black and white you can focus on them and take them in without being distracted by bright colours or patterns. But recently I have thought that this monochrome phase has gone a little too far.
There are now Instagram feeds full of children’s lives, their clothes, their bedrooms and even their Birthday parties that are full of nothing but black and white. I’m not naive enough to think the Instagram is a true representation of people’s lives but I’m sure that even the most strict of Instagram users wouldn’t remove all colour from their home purely for the sake of one photo. There are Instagram image generator websites to create templates to suit a specific theme. But that isn’t what happens here. This is real life.
So I watched these children grow on Instagram, have seen their wardrobes gradually lose all colour and their bedrooms have makeovers to match. They have white walls, black and white carpets and accessories that lack all colour.
They eat using white plates and black cutlery, drink from a black and white cup and go to sleep tucked up in black and white bedding – hugging a black and white cuddly toy. When they’re not at school they wear black and white outfits, play with black and white toys and I am sure, given a chance, they would also watch black and white TV.
Years ago the older generations had pretty much monochrome lives without even realising it. They didn’t have bold, bright dyes to make colourful clothes and looking back through the oldest of photographs you see that the colours they did have were drab and dull. Over time we have been given the gift of colour and children are some of the first to embrace that. I know that since our children came into our lives we have been surrounded by colourful toys, bold prints and so many different colours.
I also know that very young babies can’t make out colour. They love monochrome as they can see the difference between black and white and so they love having black and white prints to focus on. But that stage ends quickly and before long they can focus on bold colours and most children will quickly have a favourite colour – our daughter loves pink even though we have never been the pinkest of families.
So I find myself scrolling through Instagram and wondering whether the lives of these monochrome children are the way they would like to live if given the choice? Do they love being surrounded by black and white or would they rather have a bedroom filled with colour? Is it the child’s personal taste and their own request or is it the parent’s own lifestyle choices impacting on the way the children live? Is it that in seeking the perfect Instagram feed the parents have removed all colour from their children’s lives without even realising it?
It may be that I am over thinking this. That really behind the camera there are piles of colourful toys, bright room accessories and a whole rainbow of clothes that are worn often – just off camera. Or it may be that no, once at home these children of the modern day Instagram era really do live a white washed world full of black and white accessories. Any splash of colour feeling like an outsider in a world where it doesn’t belong.
When our children are young we have a huge impact on the way they live – the food they eat, the time they get up and go to bed, the activities they have to occupy them and the clothes that they wear. Sometimes it’s easy to pass our own tastes across to the children without really letting them explore their own likes and dislikes fully, letting them make informed decisions and guiding them along the way.
Do you just feed the children food you like and get them to watch TV shows that you like? I would think that really you give them food you know they’ll love and you put their favourite cartoons on because you know it will make them happy. And yet, sometimes, we force children to live surrounded by a life that the parents love – a monochrome wonderland fit for a magazine shoot.
Shouldn’t children be allowed to embrace colour? To have colours in their clothes and in the bedrooms? Saving the monochrome reality for the rest of the house. Are we not depriving the children of such a huge part of childhood by erasing all colour from their everyday landscape?
Monochrome wasn’t a ‘thing’ a couple of years ago but it feels like it is snowballing almost out of control. More and more people are removing colour from their lives – but also the lives of their children and I worry that as that colour disappears a bit of their childhood does too.