Why you should think twice about the baby pictures you share on social media
Social media is a weird and wonderful world… full of new things for parents to consider.
We are not talking about when and how to allow your children access to social media, that comes much later. This is about what you as a parent share about your child; and it may be much more than you are aware of.
When your baby is born, all you want to do is share it with the world. Every inch, every first smile, first tooth, first step and funny reply is caught on camera (even on video) and often posted online.
But aside from the fact that some friends may not want to see quite that much of your child, you need to consider your behaviour with regards to the child.
At this point, they are unable to give their consent to having their picture taken, let alone have it published. Of course, you are their parents and you can take some decisions for them, but before you post the next picture, think about a few things: Is this a good picture, or are you laughing about your child’s behaviour? Is this appropriate for family viewing or for a wider circle of friends? When is your child entitled to privacy?
They may feel you are oversharing. If you don’t think they care, take a look at how Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter openly (and rightly) criticised her mother for posting a picture of her without her consent.
Your little baby will eventually – very likely – be on social media themselves. How much of their life should already be public?
These are some of the things to think about:
Pictures are ok. There is nothing wrong with a family photo, a first picture of your baby, or maybe a birthday snap.
It’s the oversharing which is questionable, especially pictures you may find funny at the time, but maybe your child will not.
Think about when you can ask your child for consent and how comfortable they are having their picture taken.
Not all social media platforms are equal. Some rely hugely on photos, others can include a long backstory; some allow for a lot of privacy control, others do not. And depending on the platform, you may be sharing with strangers or with friends, and audience is very important. (See how we can just take any public post and embed it here? Anyone could do that with your personal pictures.)
If your Facebook friends include only close family and friends, you can share a lot more than you do if you have 1,000 friends or if your posts are public.
Similarly, unless you set your Twitter or Instagram to private, your child’s picture will not only be visible to your friends, but to absolutely anyone. (Be mindful of hashtags as well!)
What are safe options?
The good news is, there are plenty of options!
One is to simply keep some moments to yourself, or create a messaging group for grandparents and family.
If you want to post pictures, check (and double-check) the audience you select.
Alternatively, get creative. Instead of the face of your baby, announce the birth with a picture of their tiny fingers wrapped around your finger.
If you want to share a holiday memory, take a picture of all of you, or even take one which shows you looking out onto the sea, showing only your backs and the landscape.
Some celebrity parents are very specific about not showing pictures of their children. Actors Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell for example never show their daughters faces. Take a look at the two instagram posts below to see how they share moments which are important to them, but without sharing their daughters’ faces to their combined 12.5m followers.
What are your thoughts on sharing pictures of children on social media? What measures do you take to make photos private or select who you share with? We’d love to hear your thoughts- share them in the comments below.