I’ve spent my entire professional career working in social media, so when it comes to what parents should and shouldn’t be posting of their children online, I’m annoyingly opinionated.
The reality is, the world has changed dramatically in the last decade. Our online and offline identifies have blurred quite a bit. Whether we like to believe it or not, our daily online actions do, in fact, help to shape other people’s perceptions of us – including potential mates and employers. And when we post pictures of other people, including children, we in turn help to shape people’s perception of THEIR online identities, too.
So when you’re bringing kids into this very digital world, it’s virtually impossible to ignore one of the hottest and challenging parenting question of the decade: what, if anything, should I post of my children online?
Every parent will come to this journey with a different perspective on social media, so a one-size-fits-all approach to posting about your kids won’t really cut it. So instead of posting my personal philosophy right away (you’ll have to wait till the end to hear that), I’ve decided to start off by providing you with all the information I used to help make a sound decision.
Because at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. It’s your social media platforms, your children, and your life.
Here are the topics you need to consider…
Topic #1: Consent
When we post a picture of our child, we are laying down the foundation of their digital footprint. Supposedly the average parent will post 1000 images of their children before they turn five. And because none of us knows what the world will look like in ten or twenty years, we’re effectively taking control of their digital identity without their consent.
Topic #2: Stalkers
The internet is filled with creepy people. Even if you don’t think you’re actively giving information away, the simple act of posting from the hospital on the day of your child’s birth with an announcement of their full name makes it easier to fall victim to identity theft.
And even if you do decide to leave out sensitive information, you’re likely to post photos from school drop-off, your local cafe and other places that you frequent with location tags or easily recognizable logos. This makes it much easier for strangers to know and track your whereabouts.
Topic #3: Permanence
It’s easy to forget, but anything and everything you post online can be found by someone who wants to find it. Parents’ actions are typically not malicious, but that photo of your adorable naked baby pooping in the bath will definetly live on past your memory of it.
And even if you do delete that video, it takes some time for Facebook to remove it from their servers. Months actually.
Topic #4: Digital Kidnapping
It’s rare and usually only happens to celebrities or social influencers, but there is a community of Instagram users who use photos that are “up for grabs” to “roleplay” with strangers pics, establishing the identity and backstory of their “characters” on fake accounts.
In some cases, these accounts are so well managed that they grow in popularity without your knowledge.
My Personal Posting Philosophy
With all four of those topics in mind, it may come as a shock to you that I actively choose to share pictures and videos of my children on the internet each week. Otherwise known as a “sharent”.
I personally think it’s unresonaable to expect that I would have children and then randomly stop posting important detail of my day. Social media is a major fact of daily life for millions of people. Parenting can be quite issolating, and social media provides me with the necessary support and reassurance that I’m doing okay. It allows me to connect with others and share in the highs and lows of fatherhood, hopefully helping change peoples perspectives of what a family can and should be and bighten peoples days along the way.
If at its very core social media allows us to interact with people and share what our world is like at any given moment, then it’s important for me that people get to see the most important parts of that very world. In this case, my children.
All that said, I do have some important guiddlines that I live by. The overarching rule that didcates all of my actions online, especially when I’m vetting images to share online is this: Would I ask an adult for permission to share that photo before posting it?
If the answer is yes, then I don’t share it of my kids.
That means you’ll never see images of my kids that include:
- Anything painful
- Pooping & Peeing
- Anything embarrassing
I simply ask myself, how will my children feel about this images being available in the future. If they would feel embarrassed or ashamed by the content, then it doesn’t see the light of day.
Do you agree or disagree? Sound off in the comment section below!
And if you’d like to hear me talk about this subject a bit more, listen to Episode 6 of The Baby Bubble Podcast below:
And until next time, stay crafty.