With our weeble’s due date quickly approaching, I’ve had friends and online peers tell me, quite excitedly, that they can’t wait to see photos of our little one. As I’m quite active on social media, primarily Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (really, that Snapchat thing still confuses me), it seems expected that my child will share in my limelight.
However, a few months ago, my fiancé and I made the decision NOT to share photos of our child online. Our consensus was not an easy one – we have family and friends with whom we only communicate online, especially those that live overseas. Its popularity and accessibility means that social media is a great way to share photos and news. Certainly, I understand this, with my own social media presence. He, on the other hand, is very cautious with content shared online, and presented solid arguments against sharing our family’s photos on the Interwebz.
There is the obvious – security. Many parents overshare their children’s lives and, without realization, share their children’s birth dates and locations, and when that becomes public information, it could pose a risk to those small humans’ well-being and safety. It’s an easy thing to miss, especially with “check-in” and “location” abilities being integrated into most social media platforms. With the ability to take screenshots on mobile devices and computers, it has become even easier to steal someone’s photos, flip them around, and pass them along as your own. If a stranger does this, your children could be exposed to those with malicious intent. On some platforms, once you upload a photo, you relinquish ownership of that photo. Other platforms make use of facial recognition software (like, when Facebook knows who’s in your photo and suggests you tag them), which can be used to market to you and your children before the latter is aware of advertising. Neither my fiancé or I are okay with this.
Even more important, however, is our shared belief that every individual, regardless of age, should be the sole curator of their online content. When parents share photos of their children, they are doing so without that child’s permission (well, that’s not always the case, but in the case of infants and toddlers, we can assume this is what’s happening), and those photos will follow that child through their childhood and adolescence, and into adulthood. After all, the Interwebz is forever. It would break my heart to realize that my child is being bullied, because I shared a photo depicting its toddler-esque meltdown many years earlier. As an adult, we’re judged for our online content, especially by potential employers – do you really want Company Inc. searching for your grown kids and finding pictures of them running down the street in nothing but their poopy diaper? In the same way that we balk at embarrassing photos of ourselves, and expect our friends and family to respect our privacy online, should our kids not be entitled to the same?
Of course, there are ways to protect your child’s identity, and we are admittedly more cautious than many parents. I am not casting judgment on other parents, who actively share photos of their children on Facebook or Twitter, or wherever. Every family does their own thing, and I can only speak for myself and our child.
Do you share photos of your children on social media? Share your experiences below.