It's one of the classic parenting dilemmas: how much do you want to publicly share about your kid? Especially if they are one of those extra adorable kids who do and say funny things constantly. Doesn't the whole world love a cute, funny kid? Of course they do, but there is a flip side to that coin — what about their privacy? Particularly when you think about the far-reaching potential of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. How do parents balance pride with safety? Is it actually safe to post Instagram Stories about your kids?
"Sharenting," which is the pretty perfect term for parents sharing their child's images online, is a very real issue for parents in the 21st century. Parents have been sharing images of their children with their friends, their co-workers, their families, etc. for centuries. Whether it was a portrait from the olden days, a Polaroid snapshot, or a photo album, one of the joys of having children is sharing that joy. Of course, it's different now. According to a 2010 survey, 90 percent of children under the age of 2 already have an online presence. We can't always control who can see images of our children, and this is particularly true with Instagram Stories. As TeenSafe.com pointed out, anyone can see what you've posted to Instagram Stories if your settings aren't private.
While we all know that Instagram Stories only last for 24 hours, someone can take a screenshot of your child's image. And here's the fairly frightening part — unlike Snapchat, you won't be notified. Someone could have pictures of your child without your permission.
And what of your child's permission? What if they don't want their image shared online? As Stacey Steinberg, a legal skills professor from the University of Florida, told NPR:
While she understands why parents want to share images of their children, she also noted:
Luckily, there are ways to manage how you share images of your kids on Instagram Stories. Perhaps the safest way to limit who has access to images of your children is to set your account to private. This requires people to ask your permission to see your posts, and allows you to manage your followers. To switch your account to "private" through the Instagram app, if you have an iPhone or Windows Phone:
If you have an Android phone:
It's important to note that, even if you have set your account to "private," sharing your posts on other social media platforms like Twitter could make those posts visible, depending on your settings.
As with all things, moderation (and mediation) are key. No one else can decide for you how, or if, you want to share images of your child online. But knowing how to protect those images is also key.