These days, if you don’t post a picture about what you did with your child, we sometimes feel as if it never happened. Sharing our adventures (or in many cases oversharing) via social media, especially Instagram, is a given for most parents. If you have family thousands of miles away, proud relatives may even request more photos or posts (as tends to be my case). However, before posting your child’s photo online, where it will live for eternity for all to see, you should ask yourself if you’re comfortable with the consequences of sharing so much.
Some parents I know have decided not to publicly post anything about their kids at all. I respect their decision but for me, I’d rather use technology in a way that benefits us instead of trying to fight it. As a blogger with family that lives thousands of miles away, I embrace with open arms the opportunity to keep my loved ones up-to-date with my children’s adventures and milestones. Some moments are immortalized on Facebook, others on Instagram, and a few private ones, on Whatsapp.
However, as my children grow older and are worried about their peers, I’ve learned to respect their own boundaries and I am much more careful about what I post. Usually, it means asking them for their approval, because many of their own friends follow me on social media. Scary, but true.
I actually think you can share photos and stories of your kids online but only after carefully asking yourself a few questions. Think twice if you answer “yes” to any of them:
Will my post ever embarrass my child?
Your social media posts should never be a way to make fun of your kid.
Would I feel strange if somebody printed the photo I shared?
If there is anything that’s best left in private, keep it private.
Does it reveal any personal information?
Ask yourself if strangers can find out where you live, where you child goes to school or daycare, or any other personal information from your post. Be careful and avoid including your child’s school uniform, the location, or anything that could be used by a stranger to gain access to your kid. Use apps like Snapseed to blur addresses or logos.
Did I ask other parents for permission before posting a picture of their child?
Many parents don’t care, but never assume. Some of my friends go to great lengths to avoid any pictures of their kids being made public and I honor their wishes.
Might this post or photo cause my child’s friend to laugh at him or her?
The last thing that you want, especially when your kids are preteens is to be teased about photos you shared.
Is it possible that I’m trying to shame my child with my post?
Social media should never be used to humiliate your kid. It’s best to use other discipline techniques that will be much more effective at teaching a lesson.
Will it impact their future opportunities?
Your child’s digital footprint will follow her or him until adulthood. Ask yourself if it bothers you to think that a college recruiter or potential employer could access this photo or story at some point. Think about that before sharing a picture.
Things in many ways were much simpler before smartphones, Facebook, and Instagram. Even if you were to use Snapchat (where photos disappear after a few seconds) you never know if somebody will do a screenshot and capture that image. That’s something both kids and parents need to remember.