Why One Parent Is Taking All Photos of His Kids Off the Internet

October 16, 2013  |  
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Your kid did something adorable you have to Instagram. They have a birthday party and you post photos on Facebook so the whole family can see, no matter where they are. But dad Ryan McLaughlin has started to question why he’s put his kids all over the Internet and has decided to stop.

On his personal blog, he writes he shared photos of his two kids for the same reasons most of us do:

My view on sharing photos of the kids has always been that the advantages of having an easy, centralized way of sharing photos with an extended family that are thousands of kilometres away outweighed the largely fictional threat of creepy people having access to them.

But an essay read changed McLaughlin’s focus from safety to one of identity. That writer said,

“This is not only about privacy, it’s also about your child’s identity. We are human beings, not amoebas. How would you like it if your mother and father were in charge of your social media presence? That’s what you’re doing to your children.”

That means that when children grow up and want to start creating their own identities, their parents have already given them a head start and it might not be the narrative they want to tell. Today’s young children will never have anonymity or a clean slate. Considering all this, McLaughlin realized his posts were more about pride in his children than the convenience of sharing family moments with aunts and uncles miles away.

And in the interest of protecting his children’s identity for their future, he took it a step further:

“In addition to removing all media featuring them from the public Internet, I’ve created a digital trust of sorts. I’ve registered domain names and e-mail accounts for both boys. They may never use them, but at least they’ll have the option to in the future, and it will give them a leg up on managing their digital identities when they reach an age when that will be important to them.”

What do you think about this father’s concern? How do you decide what to share about your kids on the Internet?

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