As soon as I was ready to announce my pregnancy, I did so with a cute video on social media. I wasn’t a fan of posting my baby bump, but did post our maternity photos. I even gave insight into my pregnancy annoyances with a somewhat lengthy write-up on Facebook. And as soon as our first child was born, I quickly informed the masses of her arrival with a picture of her tiny hand hugging my finger.
Although I kept the World Wide Web in the know on these intimate parts of my journey to motherhood, it was not and will never be my intention to share pictures of my children online.
Of course, I’ve received pushback from social media colleagues on this matter. And when I find that someone has posted a picture of my child, I simply tell them to take it down, but in a quick, fast and in a hurry tone (I normally tell family and friends of my decision, but some “forget” or my message slip through the cracks).
I would never condemn parents who do post images of their children online as I love looking at, say, newborns or kids on their first day of kindergarten. It’s just a personal choice that I made. (Note: My husband does not have any social media accounts so he’s indifferent.)
I often wondered what the children of our generation would think 15 to 20 years from now when they see embarrassing photos of themselves as kids. After all, I’m an ’80s baby and only have the chance of facing such embarrassment when people visit my parents’ home and find old photo albums or my much ballyhooed Easter photo from Olan Mills.
In fact, such embarrassment prompted an 18-year-old woman to sue her parents for pictures they’ve posted of her over the past 13 years. According to The Local in Austria, the woman made pleas with her parents to take the photos down and decided to sue when her parents ignored her request.
However, the choice that I’ve made is not to save my children from embarrassment, but rather, to keep from seeing my child’s face on a website, personal blog, ad or meme.
I have a friend who posts pictures of her kids and one family photo ended up on a popular website. I remember her rant on Facebook about how pictures should not be stolen and I had to hold my typing fingers so as not to reply, “Don’t post pictures of your kids online.” That, of course, was my initial thought.
If you do include images of your children online and continue to do so, there are a few precautions that I recommend you take.
Though Dr. Michele Borba, author on children, parenting, and moral development, said that copyright does not protect photos of your kids, there are ways to attempt to protect them while sharing images with people you care about. “Send photos via email,” she stated. “While that can still be hacked, it generally exposes the photos to far fewer people.”
Parenting and youth development expert Dr. Deborah Gilboa also encouraged parents to withhold important information about their kids from the general public.
“Never include children’s first or last names and other identifying information, such as street address, school or other details that could make it easier for predators to locate children,” Gilboa told Today.com.
It’s totally up to each parent on whether or not he or she will share photos of their children online for the world to see. But if you choose to do so, make sure to take the necessary steps to ensure their safety, as you never know who is watching.