Should I Post Pictures of My Kids on Social Media?

Y’all, I’m struggling here. As prevalent as social media is in my life, this question infiltrates my mind over and over: “Should I ever post pictures of my children on social media?” I’m just not sure anymore. Yet I still do it.

We all know it’s incredibly easy for images to be stolen these days … all it takes is a screenshot on a phone and boom, someone has a picture of my daughter forever. Even with the strictest privacy settings, it’s still possible to steal images. I used to think those instances were few and far between, and it would never happen to me or my kids. But it does happen. It happened recently right here in Baton Rouge just last month to one of our contributors and her special needs son. Any kid could be a target; these sickos have all kinds of agendas that I don’t even want to think about. And then there’s the issue of how my children will feel when they get older and discover they have a digital footprint as a result of their parents’ social media habit … will they feel their privacy has been violated? I have all of these questions and yet … I still post pictures.

Why do I do it? The obvious reason is because I’m proud of my babies, and I want to show them off to my friends and family. They are my joys – I love sharing our world and it’s an easy way to do so. But is that a good enough reason? I don’t know anymore. If I look deep within and am totally honest with myself — is posting their pictures more about me than them? Probably. Am I putting them in harm’s way as a result? Maybe. Yet I still do it, hoping for the best, hoping that no one would ever use my child’s image for anything without my permission.

None of my {carefully selected, never inappropriate} photos of my kids are ever shared in the public setting of Facebook (to my knowledge), but when you’ve had an account since the college years, your friend list can get pretty lengthy. In a scare a few years ago, I frantically weeded out about 200 or so Facebook friends with whom I no longer felt a connection, yet it still left me with nearly 1,000 “friends.” So even with my privacy settings, giving access to all these people … can anything I post really be considered private?

Some of you will say I am being way too paranoid, that this is the age we live in and that no one is stalking my family — and I understand that reasoning. I want to believe in that reasoning. I’ve heard someone liken social media today to showing a home video recorded on a camcorder back when our parents were capturing special family moments. But showing a home video on a television set in your home to friends and family does not in any way compare to when we post videos of our kids to social media for potentially thousands of people to view and even download. And the likelihood of someone breaking into your home with the intention to steal said camcorder cassette … even less likely. But lifting a video from social media? Cake. 

And yet I STILL enthusiastically participate along with many, many peers. I genuinely love seeing my friends’ children in their day-to-day, and I know my connections love to see the antics of my kiddos. It’s a way to feel connected in this season of life in which sometimes you haven’t talked to an adult for two full days (especially if your spouse is a shift worker and you’re a work from home mom such as myself). Honestly if I didn’t post pics of my kiddos and our goings-on, I wouldn’t have much to post because they are my world. My beautiful world of which I love to share little glimpses. Thank God for my kids, otherwise I’d probably be one of those people with one too many duckface selfies on my phone.

Kidding. I think.

I’m really just thinking aloud over here on the internet, hoping to come up with a new solution or uncover some new pearls of wisdom from all of you. What I really and truly want is for someone to just give me the secret formula to guarantee that all creepers, Like-Farmers and predators will stay far, far away from my social media content. Can anyone make that happen? Bueller?

Ultimately I think the short answer to my self-imposed question is, “No, I shouldn’t post pictures of my children on social media.” But the long answer is more complicated. Sharing my kids as well as my friends’ kids on social media does provide me community, connection and yes, pleasure. But I don’t want my enjoyment to outweigh what is right. I would be devastated if my children’s images were abused, but am I allowing fear to dictate what I do based on what MAY happen? I just don’t know, Mamas. I’m sorry if you were looking for answers today … I don’t have anything definitive and it’s possible I never will. 

I’m really just wondering whether these thoughts invade your mind, too.  

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One Response to Should I Post Pictures of My Kids on Social Media?

  1. Tricia S May 15, 2017 at 1:35 am #

    I definitely have the same thoughts! My almost 8 year old began criticizing me recently of the pictures I was choosing to post of her. I joked that when she was a baby, she was the Truman baby as I posted a picture of her nearly everyday. I’ve compromised by telling her that I wouldn’t post a picture of her without showing her, but honestly, I haven’t even remembered to follow through with that. It’s definitely habit for me to share pictures of my girls as I justlovr to brag on them. You brought up some really great and scary points though! And with Facebook, sharing only with friends tends to also choose “friends of friends tagged” which can end up being a lot of people you don’t even know. Definitely something to consider. Thanks!

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