One of my favorite parts of social media is seeing the adorable pictures my friends have posted of their kids. I love seeing photos of them dressed to the nines for a family portrait or videos of them goofing around the house. I can't help but hit "LIKE" every time I see a picture of my friends' little ones. Sharing pictures of kids on social media has definitely become a part of our daily lives, but with fear of hackers or strangers using photos, there are questions you need to ask before you post pictures of your kids online.
Believe me, I am just as guilty of sharing and over-sharing pictures and stories of my kids across all of my social media accounts. But as my kids get older, I'm realizing that all the stories I think I'm innocently telling, aren't always my stories to tell. And as we're all starting to learn, we think we're just posting a picture of our kids online, but it could actually have dangerous or embarrassing repercussions. There have even been some instances of porn sites stealing photos of children — it's horrifying.
So the next time you take a picture that you're getting ready to send out on Facebook, Instagram, or even Twitter, ask yourself these nine questions before you hit post.
1Am I Setting A Good Example?
As our kids get older and begin to open up their own social media accounts, think about the example we are setting with our own social media habits. According to Market Watch, if we are willing to over-share every aspect of their life with our list of friends and followers, what would stop them from sharing every aspect of their life too?
2Who Will See This?
Do you really know every person you are connected to on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Do you really know how protected your photos are online? Before you post pictures of your kids, take a look at the privacy settings for each social media account and scan your lists for anyone you don't really know.
3Am I Revealing Personal Information?
Yes, that is a super cute first day of school picture, but did you just reveal a little too much about your child's day-to-day activity? Parenting Magazine says it's so important to avoid including your child’s school or daycare info, your location or home address, or any piece of information that could be used by a stranger to gain access to your children. You can learn a lot about your child from a single photo online.
4What About Their Friends?
You may think you're just posting a few cute photos of you child at a birthday party with some of their friends. However, it's really important to ask the other children's parents for permission before you post. You never know how your children feel about their kid's pictures being on the internet. With so many photo apps, it's easy to crop and blur faces if you still want to post the picture.
5What About The Future?
We are always telling teens that what you post on the internet is there forever, so we need to listen to that advice too. For every picture you post, you're already creating your child's digital footprint years before they have a say on the matter. Could a picture you post today land in the hands of a potential employer for your child in the future? The time to think about the future is before you share that picture.
6Am I Shaming Them?
Kids are ridiculous, we all know that. They throw tantrums at the worst possible times, and often can't be rationalized with. AOL News notes, if you take a picture of your kid during one of these times and post it, you're shaming them online and inviting others to do the same. Even if they look really cute sitting in time out, think about the repercussions of this picture before you post.
7Would This Embarrass Them?
Pretty soon, your kids will have friends that will be able to see your posts too. According to Time, older children want to set rules for their parents about what they post online. Would your posts today embarrass your child if their friends saw this picture in a few years? If you think yes, maybe find another picture to post instead.
8Is There Another Way?
If you're sharing pictures of your child on social media as a way to let friends and family keep up with your kids, there might be a better way. Texting pictures and creating password-protected blogs are great options. Just be sure that your family and friends understand your policy for posting pictures of your kids online.
9What Am I Revealing About Me?
According to Common Sense Media, pictures you post online have information that is valuable to advertisers and data collectors. So if you post a photo of your baby, you'll be identified as someone who wants to see ads for baby products. Yet another reason to check those privacy settings.