Why I won’t publish images of my kids on social media, or any other medium for that matter. I’m not being miserly or rude. I just don’t want my kids images plastered all over the internet and I don’t want them there before they could even consent to being photographed. Yes, I am concerned about my kids privacy and any digital footprint they have, we all know that once it’s up there, it’s there forever. Social media has made it easier for us to keep in touch, whether you live in the same street or across the world. And I genuinely love seeing your posts, where you share your little ones achievements, I simply chose not to upload every image I have of mine. I’ve never been overly comfortable sharing images of the kids, this could stem from my own inability to be comfortable in front of the camera but the reality is there is a lot more to it than that. I can count on one hand the amount of images I’ve posted and these are mostly the initial baby ones after birth.
I have no idea if they will be disappointed when they’re teenagers and learn they don’t have a billion followers because I didn’t set up an Instagram account for them when they were babies. Sure they do crazy things and make me laugh and yes I’m sure they would be great things to share with my friends and family on social media but I’m still getting to know my kids and their personalities. They’re still little. I’m asked why I don’t share pictures of my kids online now that they’re older. I have a simple answer: We live in a time where information is king and people can learn a lot about you in a very short space of time and I don’t want people knowing where we are 24 hours a day. My kids are still young and I want to respect their privacy. They may not be at an age yet where they fully understand the implications of the internet and if they’re happy with me sharing their life with the world.
Is it so important that we push everything we do to the ‘gram or other social media before our kids are even born? It seems if you don’t you are an outsider or a little weird if you don’t. We are made to think that we would be left out of the popular ‘mum’ culture if we don’t succumb to the pressure. Very early on my hubby requested that we don’t share images of our kids which I wholeheartedly agreed on. As I’m a sharer I was surprised I wasn’t more upset with this choice but I can see the positives to it, will my kids be upset at not having their super cute bath time bubble Mohican hair do shown to the world? Probably not. Ok, so if they do something super amazing then who can I share it with? Simple, I email or send a text to those who really need to see it. They know not to publish it. They respect our choices.
I did feel lonely initially when the kids were born and there were loads of posts of newborns and kids plastered everywhere, but I soon realised that there was another side to this. What of the potential mums, want to be mums but can’t be mums and others who may be struggling to have kids. I didn’t want to add to anyone else’s pain. It can be hard seeing images of bouncing babies and happy families for some. It’s hard enough feeling pressured into striving for perfection but having the additional pressure of happy families is painful. I will admit it was hard not to post images even though deep in my heart I knew it was what we had both agreed to. I felt silly not being able to post but maybe as my kids get older I’ll be able to post nice arty shots which their faces don’t show or are obscured in some way without giving things away.
Just because I don’t post images of my kids doesn’t mean I think it’s wrong that you like to share your kids with the world.
Have I taken photo’s of them looking cute when they were babies at bath time? Yes. Have I taken pictures of them when it was their first day of school? Yes, but I’m not sharing them with the world. If I’m at a birthday party and you take a photo which might happen to include my kids am I going to say don’t post it? No, I probably won’t. But, what I will ask you is that you don’t tag me or my hubby in. I can’t protect my children from everything, it’s not humanly possible, but I will aim to respect their privacy and right to choose. And for that I do not apologise. If when they choose to have social media accounts when they’re old enough then I’ll be more than happy to share their photo’s if they wish until then I’m keeping it private.
Ultimately its about my kids, and me not posting endless images of them isn’t a habit I’ve developed so I’ll not have to wean myself off when I become soooo embarrassing as their mum when they’re older! 🤣🤣🤣
Here are some of the not so nice reasons why I don’t share images of my kids on social media
Children have a sense of who they are as an individual and of others perception of them at around about the age of 5 and sharing personal content on social media can make children feel like they don’t have ownership over their own bodies or own values. Children often don’t have the opportunity to disagree with their parents posting bath-time and other sensitive photos on social media, especially before they are posted.
As a parent I am concerned about how others may react to some of the images I may share about my children online. Others may be able to use old photos and stories published about my kids to make fun of, insult them or even bully them as they grow older. If an image is shared and catches on it doesn’t take long to go from an inside family joke to full blown gossip for an entire school. Think I’m overreacting? Just look at some of the nasty comments people put on kids videos on YouTube. It’s no different. It’s all social media.
I am aware that any image I post of my kids could have a far reaching impact on them further down the line. Who knows how algorithms will work in the future. A potential employer may be able to see something that is personal to my children and it could very well go against them when job hunting or if my children become influencers or have a much more public life then how are their childhood photos going to affect their careers. You never know what may happen and I don’t want to be ‘that person’ who does the one thing that can make or break their careers.
As a teacher, and a teacher of IT in particular one of my areas is internet safety. So I am more than aware of some of the dangers of posting personal images on the internet. Especially social media platforms. I am aware of images posted by other parents turning up on disturbing websites and forums. Some dedicated to child pornography. That little video you posted of your naked child makes the perfect medium for such an outlet.
After doing some research I found that according to an Australian Children’s eSafety Commissioner, one site offered at least 45 million images (source: https://jelliesapp.com/blog/). Around about half of which were photos of children taken from social media accounts. These photos were of everyday family activities, but the worrying thing about it is that they were accompanied by wholly inappropriate comments many of a sexual nature.
We also forget that social media posts can also provide little indicators that can help people identify where a child lives, plays, and goes to school. Posts with information like location tags and landmarks give strangers ability to locate a child and other family members. I can image that this is especially dangerous for families who may be trying to manage custody disputes or escape domestic violence situations.
When my kids are older and more able to make an informed decision about what I share, I’ll ask them what they’re comfortable with and take some precautions when doing so. I already have quite good privacy settings on my personal social media account but I must remember to regularly check them as some updates automatically revert back to public settings. I will choose the photos carefully and watermark the ones I post publicly.
I will involve my kids in deciding what is appropriate to share with others as these conversations can help ward off bad feelings in the future, and lets face it are useful for preparing them for living in a digital age.
To sum it up, here are some tips for being a good ‘sharent’
- Be mindful of metadata — most digital photos contain information about the time, date and GPS coordinates of where the photo was taken.
- Don’t add comments to photos that identify locations; for example street address, school name, or even identifying features in front of your home.
- Only ever share with people who you really know and trust. Please don’t post to all of your friends on social media, be selective and use the privacy settings on your social media platform. Also, be aware that if one of your friends likes your picture, it may also become visible to their friends, and so on.
- Ask parents before posting and sharing images that include their children; that recent birthday party for example.
- Don’t share photos and videos that contain personal details, such as full names, personal contact information, or school uniforms that identify location.
At least you don’t have to mute me or scroll on by and lets face it, I’m one less poster of kiddie spam!
But for now, enjoy the time with your little ones. Take as many photos and share or not share. Your choice. Just share carefully if you do.
Take care, stay safe.