Why I Limit Photos of My Child on Social Media

Why I Limit Photos of My Child on Social Media

When my husband and I started talking about having kids, I had a list of things for us to discuss together, from discipline to birth plans, childcare to family boundaries. I know, it must be REALLY FUN for him to be married to a therapist. One of the things on my list was talking about how much we would share about our kids on social media.

While this is a relevant conversation for almost every parent I know these days, it definitely wasn’t something our parents talked about, or even had to consider {oh the nostalgic days of internet free parenting}. For our kids though, it is important, and likely something they will encounter for their entire lives. My husband and I talked it though, and eventually decided to limit our postings on social media. Currently we have a Whats App group with most of our immediate family members and some friends in it where we send photos, and I will occasionally post a family photo on social media. Other than that, we don’t share photos of our child. Here’s how we decided what was right for our family:

Note:: The following is a reflection of what decisions we made for our family, not a judgement on others’ decisions or a soapbox of what we think you should do with your own kids. 

Thinking Through How Our Child Will Feel When They Are Older

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some baby photos. I am actually a giant hypocrite in this area because while I believe in posting few photos of my child, I LOVE seeing my friends’ children in my feed. Babies are cute and squishy and lovely and it is fun to share about them. But babies are also tiny humans who can’t make the decision of what they want shared online. I didn’t feel comfortable creating a big online presence for my child that she could not consent to or have input on. So for now, we limit photos to mostly family photos and holidays. 

Doing The Newspaper Test

I’ve heard of parents and teachers talking with older children about privacy online, and using the metaphor that posting about something on social media is the equivalent of putting it in the newspaper. If you don’t want it on the front page of the New York Times, think again before posting it. I think this is a great way to explain how public the internet and social media is, and I plan to use it when my child is older {assuming newspapers still exist then}. Now though, I use it for myself. Would I want a photo of my child in the bathtub on the front page of the Houston Chronicle? Or a photo of them having a meltdown? Would I print out that photo and mail it to every family member, friend from college, or colleague I met one time at a conference? If the answer is no, then I know not to post it. 

Thinking About the Worst Case Scenario

I work in the world of foster care and adoption, so on a daily basis I am steeped in stories of abuse, neglect, and horrific things that happen to innocent children. Because of this, I am extra cautious about some things, and online photos are one of them. I know the things that can happen if someone takes a photo of your child in their underwear off the internet and turns it into something sordid and sexual. This might be extreme thinking on my part, but it makes me feel safer to limit the content that I post about my child, and take steps to prevent this if I can. 

Being Present In the Moment

I’ve found that when I am thinking about posting photos of my child, my focus turns away from what we are doing together, and toward how it might be perceived by the internet world. Is this a cute moment? Should I take a picture? Will my friends like it? I don’t want to be thinking about these things when I am playing with my child at the playground, or watching her explore in the museum. I know if I let it go too far, I will start documenting moments for the outside world, not for myself to remember those sweet memories. It helps me to limit the photos I take, and to put away my phone so that I can be more present and connected with my child. 

Do you limit what you post about your child on social media? Do you disagree, and think the more photos the better? Tell us your thoughts!

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