As a soon-to-be first-time mum, I have been taking more interest in policies and articles surrounding posting photos of children, and particularly babies, on social media. I recently read an interesting article which discussed the long-term implications of posting your child’s photos online, including the possibility of potentially damaging their future university or job prospects, as well as a ‘scare’ story about online trolls reposting your child’s images and making stories up about your child with others. Not something any parent would want.
With many parents understandably wanting to share their child’s cutest poses and biggest achievements with friends and family, what can you do to make sure your child’s image is safe – both now and in the future?
- Let friends and family know your decision on posting photos – whether you want to avoid it altogether or are happy for them to post on your behalf. Be clear on your wants and ask them to respect your decision. Some people may forget and post in their excitement to share your good news and child’s developments, so don’t be embarrassed to ask them to remove a photo if you feel uncomfortable with its publication.
- Check your privacy and posting settings. On Facebook, for example, you can ensure your images are only seen by designated ‘close friends’, so make use of these to just share images with those you trust. It is a good idea to ensure your photos are never set to ‘public’ as this can leave them open for anyone to view, including those not friends with you on your page or profile.
- Use a secure Cloud server to share images directly with friends or family. Sending a link via Dropbox means they’ll receive high resolution images as and when you want to share them and they will only be shared with those you choose to share them with.
- Check who your friends and connections are on social media. Is it time to cull that friend list on Facebook to only have people you genuinely know and trust, or should you protect your tweets on Twitter? You may decide to do the former and only post images there – whatever you do, give some consideration to your audience and make sure you’re happy with it.
- Don’t post photos which show your child undressed. Ever.
- Finally, if you do choose to share your baby’s images, don’t forget that not everyone will want to see photos of every second of every day of your new arrival’s life, especially if they have suffered a loss or difficulties in having children of their own. No-one is saying you shouldn’t be proud of your child and want to share that, but try to be sensitive to those you have chosen to share your images with.
As a parent, it is entirely your decision how much or how little you want to make public of your child’s life in online photos. However, it does no harm to be aware of the potential risks of photo sharing and to take steps to secure your social media sites in order to make sure they are set up with your child’s best interests in mind.
I’ve not yet decided how I would like to proceed with sharing photos of my baby once born in the next few weeks. I’d like to think I’ll achieve a happy medium so that friends and family (especially those living far away) can share our experiences, whilst also keeping the images of the youngest O’Loughlin safe going forward. What I do know is that I will be able to control what output I have and when, which makes me feel more confident as a parent using social media.
Apologies for being slightly off topic on this – back to small businesses next post!