In the digital age it is natural to want to post pictures of your children on social media, but sometimes we do not always consider the consequences. We have seen the posts of teachers experimenting how far they can get a post to go around the world to alert their students to the dangers of social media, we need to take a bit of a lesson from these teachers. If we put it on social media, potentially a lot of people can see it.
We may post an innocent picture of our child in the bath with bubbles piled high on top of their head for our overseas family to see, but who else can see it? Your own privacy settings might be airtight, but if a family member likes this photo, then their friends may be able to see it. Then a friend of their’s likes it and their friends can see it. Before you know it, your photo is halfway across the globe with friends of friends of friends of friends being able to access it.
That is why we need to be conscious of what we are posting and who we might reach. An innocent picture of a nudey run down the hallway posted for Nana in the UK can actually reach an audience that you never intended.
Any photos posted to Facebook and Instagram are no longer our own, when it is put out there in social media, we can no longer fully control who sees our images. That is why it is prudent to be cautious on what we post.
Social media can be a fantastic way to chronicle the life and achievements of your children, but it can also document things your child would rather forget in the future!
Here are a few things to consider and avoid to safeguard yourselves and your family…
These photos we post are now forever out there in the cyber world. We need to be very cautious that the cute moment on the toilet we post now will not be the most embarrassing thing in the world in 10 years time when their teenage friends view it. Do not post anything you know will cause automatic ridicule in years to come.
Be very mindful that it is not just your friends and family that can see what you post. Yes you might be posting a cute bum pic on your personal page, but undesirable people might end up with the image. Child pornography is a very real and present threat. Do not expose your child to this threat. Take those adorable chubby bum shots, but keep em private!
We all feel absolutely rotten when we are sick, let’s not publicise this for our poor little ones. The best way to think about it is, ‘would I like someone to take my photo right now and put it out there for the world to see, looking like this?’ If the answer is no, then you probably shouldn’t be publishing that photo of your sick little one to social media for all to see unless you are illustrating a certain point; awareness of an illness, preventative measures for other parents etc.
Our children should get the right to veto any photos of themselves that they do not like. When they are too young to do this for themselves, then it is our responsibility to do this on their behalf. Is this something our child would be embarrassed to see in the future, does this give away their location or put them in any danger, can someone use this photo for ulterior means? If not then you should be safe to post it.
Did you know that every photo you take from your smartphone records the date, time and location that a photo is taken? Unless you edit those settings, anyone that stumbles across the photo can find the location in which the photo was taken. That means that they may be able to locate you or your children at any one time. Even tagging where you are out for the day, or ‘checking in’ on Facebook can spell out to others where you are. Definitely something to be mindful of when you are out and about with the kids.
The main goal of some parents is to get more likes on a photo than their friend or frenemy. How long does it take you to get that perfect stylised shot, what have you missed in that time tying to get the perfect staged shot? Is it a true depiction of our real lives, or is it a projection of what we want people to see? Yes, our shot might be perfect, but you just spent 40 minutes with your camera rammed in your child’s face prompting them to smile and it is very likely that just out of frame is the pile of dirty washing or the strewn toys we all have at home.
Monkey see, monkey do
Children learn by imitation. If we are always on an electronic device trying to get the perfect shot, then edit the perfect shot, then post the perfect shot with the relevant hashtags then can we expect our children to be any different? Can we expect them to have their noses out of their electronics long enough to enjoy a family outing or dinner together? Can we also expect our children to know it is inappropriate to photograph a classmate doing something potentially embarrassing if we always have a camera shoved in their face at inappropriate times?!
Research states that the average parent will post up to 1000 photos of their child before they hit the age of 5. That is an awful lot of photos! Make sure they are the kind of photos that are acceptable! Any photos that aren’t acceptable, keep them for the private album that you whip out on their 21st!
What are your thoughts on posting about your kids on social media? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.
Gemma is a kiwi Mum of one and is the Editor for The Baby View. She also works with preschool children, loves cooking, loves sunshine, loves chocolate and loses countless hours at a time looking at cute baby pictures on Instagram!