Are parents oversharing when it comes to photos of their kids on social media? It’s time to weigh up the rights of parents and children when it comes to posting online.
Photos of cross country champions, birthday parties and special memories fill my Facebook feed every day. It's natural that we want to share those special parenting moments with our friends, so is there anything wrong with putting up a photo or two?
Well, the answer is both a yes and a no.
Why we should question posting photos of kids
We live in a fast-paced, global world, where extended families often rely on social media to keep in touch. It’s natural to mark milestones, through a post on Facebook or Instagram.
There are lots of reasons why we should think before posting photos of our kids. We all know that once we press the “share” button, they’re no longer in our control. And that means they’re no longer in our kids’ control either.
But before we hit the panic button, let’s think about this sensibly. There is little risk of harm sharing a photo of your child with a mouthful of chocolate. But what does it teach our kids about privacy and permission?
If we want our kids to be smart users of technology, the people they will learn the most from is their parents.
A parent’s guide to the rules of social media
Instead of worrying who might see photos of our kids, and what they might do with it, it’s more important we teach them to be respectful.
Here’s some simple rules when posting photos on social media:
Ask, or at least talk about it. As kids get older, they should be able to opt out of photos. But at the same time, there might be occasions when they should be part of it. Think of it like that letter you had to write for Grandma after Christmas. Get them involved by letting them create an image they feel comfortable with.
Think about how you share it. Should you splash it on your Facebook feed, or could you send a private message instead? Or share it in a closed group? Take a close look at your motives.
Think about how your images make them look. Our kids shouldn’t be the centre of a joke or complaint. Keep that stuff personal. The things you share should show their best image, not their worst. Don’t use their real names. Your closest friends and family know who your kids are.
Listen when they ask you to stop. Your relationship is worth far more than sharing a photo. Don’t lose sight of that.
Social media is all about connecting. But many people see it as a way to present an image. Our kids deserve to have their rights online protected by those closest to them: their parents. But we also have a right to live and stay connected with friends and family.
So before you click “share”, step into your child’s shoes and listen to what they want. Think about it from their perspective. If an image shows them in a good light and they don’t mind, then go for it!