Why I won’t publish images of my kids on social media

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.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.

Becks

xo

Lets be honest about lock down

How’s it been for you? I see so many perfect Instagram posts about how wonderfully people are coping throughout lock down and how home schooling has been nailed, along with working from home and all the perfectly kept homes and gardens. It’s not just Instagram it’s pretty much plastered all over social media of any sort. So many posts of how much people are looking forward to spending lots of time with their partners and children, if they have them, and how the moments are to be treasured. That’s fantastic, I’m really pleased for you. Genuinely I am. Even I felt like this to start with.

Perhaps your children are perfect and will sit in full concentration hanging on to every educational word you mutter and are happy to share the required PC world sized collection of electronic devices needed for home schooling. Or perhaps you have a partner who isn’t working and will happily take the responsibility of managing the housework and keep out of your way whilst you’re working, or perhaps you both work and have managed to coordinate your work schedules and space so you are in perfect harmony with each other.

You have the perfect life, I envy you!

The reality of it may be very different. Your kids may be feral and refusing to dress in anything other than the pyjamas worn for the past three days that are becoming decidedly smelly and sticky. Oh and good luck trying to get them in the shower! Or you are now after an initial flutter of ‘wow, this is fab working together’ you realise your partner’s working habits are distracting and you have to share the dining table because you don’t have the luxury of a spare room, and quite frankly if they interrupt another meeting then there’s no guessing what you’ll do, and what is it with bloody zoom meetings anyway?! Seriously I haven’t had one yet where I don’t look like Uncle Fester on steroids! Or perhaps you have partners who maybe aren’t working and haven’t lifted a finger to do the housework, although the washing pile isn’t so bad as everyone is wearing clothes for at least three days, and they’re sitting on their arse all day binge watching Netflix or permanently attached to the games controller!

Yes, dear readers that is pretty much what it has ended up being like for many. And for me? Well, I have the experience of my semi-feral children wearing two day old pyjamas and the only way I was going to get them anywhere near water was to encourage them in the pool for a swim, whilst simultaneously wrestling a kindle, a laptop and the telly controls off them in the process. My kids have only ever been slightly ‘trainable’, you should try living with a head strong sassy girl who does “talk to the hand” with some serious sass, and a boy who could be the next David Attenborough with his keenness for nature and all things grubby, who simply must bring in the grasshoppers and varying manner of bugs he finds – we’re currently running a caterpillar hotel in the living room, don’t ask, just don’t go there, so after days or should I say weeks of being cooped up and trying to do all the expected home schooling and various other arduous tasks on the never ending to list, and getting to the point of frustration where I just think coffee just isn’t going to cut it and where’s the Gin! And, who’s that wimpering again? Ah… it’s me (hangs head in shame!).  

We have the luxury of having a spare room so I was able to ensure hubby was cordoned off each day. As long as he had his supply of coffee and biscuits, which he would pop and get on his irregular tea breaks, he was happy to be there. It’s amazing what a constant supply of naughty snack food can do to productivity!

And then there were the hours upon hours of waiting to see if an online delivery slot would become available, and then when you thought you’d got one you realised that you aren’t considered essential (story of my life, eye roll!), and damn it you’ll now have to go out and somehow face the world in something other than clothes that you’ve been slobbing around in doing the housework, gardening and various DIY jobs that needed finishing off on the to do list(s), because you never just have one list do you? There’s always more than one on the go that just seems to continually get longer and longer. The thought of putting on make up and brushing my hair was almost as bad as trying to figure out what to change into, especially as most things don’t fit due to slight excess covid calorie consumption and because, let’s face it, it’s much nicer to watch Joe Wickes keeping the nation going with his PE with Joe sessions every morning than actually work up a sweat joining in! After the first one nearly killed me I thought I’d join in from the sofa, wink, wink!

Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

So, after mustering up the enthusiasm to actually go out, when you get to the shop you are faced with social distancing rules which so many people seem incapable of following. Yes, the guy with the sudden urge to breathe on my neck and reach over me whilst I’m getting something from the bakery aisle! Nice one mate! I have to say my meals at home were particularly inventive especially as we tend to eat a lot of pasta and rice in any normal given time, but could I get any? No, because the whole bloody nation went mad and bought sixty billion bags of rice, pasta and toilet roll! Seriously, if you need that amount of toilet roll then you should have been seeing a Doctor way before Corona came to town!

There were a couple of occasions where I was honestly beginning to struggle a little with lock down. I found it particularly hard when it came to family birthdays, of which there were three at the height of lockdown and one during easing. I really struggled to keep a happy face when I dropped off my Dad’s birthday gift, as I couldn’t go in and have a chat like I would normally do, and it’s just not the same on the phone. We had both kids birthdays as well and this was quite hard for us all, as they couldn’t have their friends or grandparents over which we would normally do. Family mean so much to me and not being able to do the things we have taken for granted has been really hard emotionally. I did make a point of checking in with my parents daily with a text to make sure everyone was ok, we chatted a couple of times a week to keep some kind of sanity and this did help a little. I was glad when I could go and have a socially distanced meet up for my Mum’s birthday. Just being able to sit in the garden with my parents was lovely.

I was also quite glad that they started easing lock down, although I still had my concerns and the news reports about packed beaches and tourist hotspots just reinforced my belief that some people are just inherently stupid, but for me I was happy that some schools were beginning to re-open with ‘class bubbles’ and the kids could begin to get some learning done whilst still keeping it as safe as can be given the unknowns with Covid-19. I found it much easier when the youngest went back in reception and I then only had to deal with home schooling the other one. Which was still challenging as he’d got to the point where he was just fed up with it all and wanted to go back. I think he just saw it all as an extended holiday and would often dig his heels in refusing to do anything until at least 11 o’clock in the morning, of which by then I’d run out of enthusiasm too, after all watching Joe being energetic is quite tiring…

All the kids got to go back for a reset week, which I thought was the best thing for them. They got to see their friends again and had some proper class teaching which is what they needed. My kids have now finished for the summer so we will continue in our efforts to keep up to speed whilst having some fun over the holiday, and the kids have lots of fab challenges set for them to do so I’m sure if we find ourselves at a loose end there’s always something there. Although I’m bracing myself for the constant “mum”, “where’s the…”, “I’m hungry”, “I’m thirsty”, and the running around picking up their dirty clothes for which I need a HASMAT suit to go near, or opening ‘mum’s café’ at breakfast time and throughout the day for that matter, serving up all manner of lovely choices of food for them only to take one bite and discard and say “want something else”.

I love my children, however, I do feel the need to say at this point that I’m going on strike. Gin anyone?

Take care, stay safe

Becks

xo