Should Parents Post Photos of Their Children on the Internet?

I stumbled across an interesting AskReddit thread posing the following question:

Within the next 10 years, a generation of children whose parents posted their entire lives online, without their consent, will become young adults. How do you think they’ll feel about it?

Pause. Think about that. It is a really great question. We all know from this article titled, “How Many Kids Do You Want?”, I am rather dog obsessed and not child obsessed. My only “child”, a 5 year old, is very hairy, walked from day one, and still hasn’t talked. Do I post photos of Kang Kang online? Hell yes… he has more followers than I do (follow him!). Do I ask him if I can snap photos and post him on social media? Hell no! But again, he is a dog and he can’t talk back. This is why dogs are man’s best friends and “children”.

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@oclhasa — doing what he does best: act cute!

But would I care as a human being? The best way to answer this personally is to think back through all of my photo albums sitting in my mother’s home. You know, the Polaroid and Kodak moments where every snap counted because you only had limited film. As a baby, I was often told I looked like a monkey… I had fine, static-infused hair that stood straight up, huge cheeks and deer-in-headlights eyes. My mother also had an interest in taking naked photos of me. I often wondered if Instagram was around in the 80’s, would I go viral as @NakedMonkeyBaby? Transitioning into a pre-teen, things were not looking up in the appearance department. I had awful hand me downs from my older brother who was 7″ taller. His shorts were my high-waters when high-waters weren’t in. I often cried, “Why can’t you be a sister?!” I wore these really ugly coke-bottle glasses with metal frames that took over half my face (you can’t even pass them off as hipster). I grew up surrounded by 4 male cousins and as a result turned into a bit of a tomboy. There is actually a photo of me at a park in the scorching AZ summer – topless – with 4 topless boys. I have to admit I could really pass off as a boy, especially with my identical bowl-shaped hair cut that matched my brothers. My hair was never brushed and I never wore dresses. As a teenager, things started finally looking up. I started to blossom and became more confident. I was able to save up my own money and bought new clothes that actually fit. In the final year of high school, I registered for a Facebook account and started posting photos of my teenage self on my own. I liked having the say in which photos were Facebook-worthy and which were to be deleted and never surfaced on the web.

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Brother & I (with monkey hair)

Going back to the original question, I think it’s safe to say I’m just thankful my parents still don’t know how to use the photo function on Facebook. My response is out of sheer embarrassment of being an ugly duckling monkey growing up. I’m not sure if I would feel differently if I were cute or pretty. What I can say though is I do enjoy gathering in the living room with family and friends, browsing through physical photo albums, and allowing them to laugh at my expense. There is something sentimental about not having all of your photos visible to just anyone online. Funny side note: My mom is on Facebook and she is my friend. I once posted a photo of my brother and I. She commented, “Good picture. Put on Facebook.” This illustrates how technically savvy they are (thank God).

My advice to parents if they want to post photos of their kids is 2-fold: 1.) Make sure it is a flattering photo – save the embarrassing ones for a private album and 2.) Make sure metadata or geolocation settings are disabled. When I posted photos of Kang Kang on Instagram I had my “Add to Photo Map” setting on. Chris pointed it out and said to remove it because if you zoom in you can actually see where we live! It’s pretty spot on. God forbid any dognapper knowing my routine over the course of 10 posts and one day dognapping him! Apparently there are stories of this happening to children so be diligent. The other thing to consider is your photos can end up anywhere as you’ve given permission when you accept the Terms & Conditions on sites like Facebook. There was a Facebook lawsuit when a girl realized her face was part of a sponsored advertisement photo. Facebook won (surprise!); lucky for the girl it wasn’t an STD campaign. Oh, and don’t forget about the creepers. Child pornography exists. I would be mortified if my physical photo albums ever become Facebook albums. Which leads me to the next point – don’t accept friend requests from strangers. I keep getting weirdos inviting me to be friends. To which I say:

DeleteDeleteDelete

Let’s discuss! What are your thoughts to this question?

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7 comments

  1. It’s a good question. I post photos of my son, but they are not embarrassing. I also don’t accept friend requests from people I don’t know anymore. I don’t want them having access to my son’s information.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Personally, I post one photo a year of my son – on his birthday. On Instagram, I post photos of him because our accounts are private. On FB, even if the account is private, all it takes is a “like” or a “share” and who knows who is looking at my child. While people can screen shot on Instagram, I don’t add anyone I don’t know, so I don’t really have to worry about that. Even as a mom, sometimes I get so irritated with parents who post literally 8 pictures a day of their child. Milestones and important things, fine, but all day every day? The funny part is, I actually had an old high school friend write me on FB and thank me for NOT putting so many pictures up of my child lol. His exact words were “Just wanted to take a moment a show appreciation for something. I have no idea what your son looks like. Finally a parent who isnt polluting their wall with images of every single thing their child does. Not only are you keeping his identity safe, youre ensuring he wont jump down your throat later. Thats all :)” Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha aww thank you for sharing your personal thoughts from a parent’s perspective! I think our generation tends to overshare so yes, thanks for not polluting the World Wide Web. 🙂

      Like

  3. I have to mention that children today have such a low expectation of privacy they wouldn’t feel the same as older generations might. On the other hand, there might even be a revolt on privacy, trying to undo how Facebook, Google and others track our every move. please read this article: “Mark Zuckerberg, Let Me Pay for Facebook – ‘Free’ social networking sites cost more than we think.” at http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/06/04/opinion/zeynep-tufekci-mark-zuckerberg-let-me-pay-for-facebook.html?referrer= With that in mind, consider the following:

    Liked by 1 person

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