I see lots of photos of kids online. Some of them posted to a closed group, some of them blasted across the internet. Mostly they are posted by proud parents wanting to share the little moments their kids make them happy. Or cry. Or cringe. Or just plain proud. It even has a name: ‘sharenting’.
But should you be posting these photos? There are plenty of articles about sharing your kids photos online – I’ll link to a few in the bottom of this post. Most of them contain dire warnings which would force you to quit the internet altogether, take your family and run away to a desert island. I think a healthy dose of common sense mixed with a bit of precaution will serve most of us fine. Scrubbing the internet clean is pretty hard, so getting this sorted early on will make your life easier.
I don’t post photos of my kids for public viewing. I post a few with my Facebook friends, but that is a pretty small, closed group. I also check my Facebook privacy settings regularly – easiest thing to do is to use the ‘View As’ feature to see what the general public can see of my timeline and photos.
I know my kids won’t thank me when they are embarrassed by some photo floating around the internet that could be used in years to come in school bullying, or dug up by the media if they should ever fall into the spotlight for some reason. Even though they are just little nippers now, in a few short years they will be leading their own lives and won’t be thankful of parents oversharing with strangers. Don’t add to the teenage angst.
Beware of deviants with internet access. Here’s a true story for you: a friend of mine had a parenting blog and posted an image of her son while he was goofing around during those fun toilet training times. Traffic to her blog went through the roof – from far flung parts of Eastern Europe that are well-known for child pornography. So I’m just saying – be careful out there. Not everyone on the internet is like you and me.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Be aware of stranger danger, don’t use your kids’ real names when referring to them, and make sure you are not sharing your location when posting photos, at the school or kindy, or at your home.
- Think before you post – could this embarrass them in the future?
- Don’t tag the photos of your kids with anything as it encourages Google to find and index the images.
- Check to see if your photos have turned up elsewhere by dragging them into Google Image Search, or by right clicking on the image and selecting Search Google for this Image. Helps you sleep a bit easier (or not, depending on the results).
- Sending photos like this to the local newspaper to publish online as part of their summer photo competition is probably not a great idea.
Want to read more? Here are a few articles on the topic: Techcrunch, CNN ‘BatDad’, Guardian, other bloggers talk about what they do on The Daily Press (this is the most helpful, non scaremongering article I’ve come across).
Summertime, Christmas traditions and family holidays are perfect for taking loads of photos of your kids to mark those memories. With a little bit of thought, you can post and share them for others to enjoy as well, without needing to worry about unwanted negative consequences.
About the author
Simone McCallum is a social media strategist by day, occasional blogger by by night, digital + tech fangirl, and dark chocolate & caffeine addict.