Sometimes I’m embarrassed to admit how often the first thought I have when my daughter does something cute is “I need to take a picture and post that on Instagram.” Our culture today is enraptured with sharing every aspect of our personal lives, and we do it with creative filters and quippy captions. It can be quite addicting. Whether you fully embrace social media or keep it at arms distance, there are certain things you should always keep in mind when posting photos of yourself, but more importantly your children. We all know that once it’s out there, it’s there forever and we should be thinking about what that will mean for our children when they become old enough to understand what we’ve posted on their behalf. Check out some safe tips for sharing photos of your children.
1. Think Before You Post
No matter how cute your kids are, not everything they do deserves to be posted in a public forum. For starters, you are exposing your children to potentially millions of people, depending on your privacy settings of your social media accounts. Not everyone cares about every aspect of your child’s day, and there’s probably better things you could be doing with your time then being attached to your phone anyways. Additionally, one day your child may ask you and even become upset with certain photos you chose to share. Even though they didn’t have to “give you permission,” one day they will be aware and could be potentially embarrassed by what you post. There’s nothing wrong with asking yourself “what would my daughter think about this photo if she were 12 years old?” Think wisely!
2. Manage Your Social Media Privacy Settings
Every social media forum has options for how you’d like to share your photos. When it comes to your children, you should exercise conservative caution. If you don’t want EVERYONE to view them, then put your Instagram profile to private. For Facebook, make your albums private, or block certain people from viewing them. You cannot prevent a person from sharing your entire album unless they aren’t allowed to see it, and you’ve set the album so it’s only visible to your friends. Unfortunately, I had to block my very own aunt who couldn’t manage to abide by my wishes to stop sharing my infant daughters photos with her friends, people who I’ve never met before. Sorry auntie, but it’s my job to protect my daughter and that includes who gets to see and comment on her picture!
3. Lower Your Photo Resolution
I was horrified to learn there are actually people who will steal photos of your child and do all sorts of evil things with them. And all they have to do is download them from your social media accounts and blow them up to whatever size they need for marketing, advertising and potentially inappropriate schemes. Prevent anything like this happening by lowering the resolution on your photos, so the photos are useless if bigger than a phone screen. Sure, they may not be as crystal clear, but its social media, not National Geographic. Your followers will be just fine!
4. Skip The Naked Pictures, No Matter How Cute
I’m not sure at what point in society we decided that it’s ok for certain types of naked photos, but not for others. The fact is, nudity should be kept in the privacy of your own home from birth on. I know some people may disagree with me and say their toddler’s naked rear end is harmless. However, there are all sorts of sick people who create child pornography from the most innocent of photos. Don’t give them more fodder. Not to mention, your child will one day be an adult and interview for a job. They shouldn’t have to worry about naked photos floating around! Not to mention the perils of middle school are right around the corner…
Professionals use watermarks on their images to protect others from stealing their work, and you can do it with photos of your children too. Did you know there are countless people who steal images of your children on Instagram and create their own account and claim your child is theirs? It happens! There are tons of apps (like PhotoMarkr- it’s free!) that you can use to create a special marker on your photos, identifying them as yours. Don’t let other people rob you of your favorites photos of your kids.
6. Turn Off Location Services
You shouldn’t just be concerned with the content of your photos of your kids, but also about the fact they can communicate your whereabouts to complete strangers. As tempting as it is to brag and check in at Disneyland, be mindful there are predators that can take advantage of knowing what your kids look like. Don’t let your trail of photo tags lead someone to you and your children. If you’ve turned off your location services, also be aware of how landmarks also communicate your home town, hang outs and where your kids go to school. You can never be too safe!