Oh, the old timey days of yesteryear, pre-social media, when “photo-sharing” consisted of putting a kid’s tiny square of a school photo in an actual paper envelope and mailing it via postal service to Grandma. My, how things have changed… Now, of course, parents document their every goofy grin and cake-smeared expression. But so do other relatives. If your mother-in-law is posting pictures of your child all over her social media, you may be ready to make it stop.
Some parents have snapped so many pics they could practically make a stop motion film of their child’s life, which I get. We all try to capture the insane joy and love we feel for our offspring via an iPhone lens, and grandparents are no different. The tricky part is when the “sharing” piece comes in to play. Some people love to plaster the internet with #cutekids. But what if it’s your kid, and you don’t necessarily want her photo online? If some rando mom friend from preschool posts something from field day, it isn’t so hard to text her and say, “Actually can you please not post that?” But if it's a mother-in-law doing the posting? That's where it can get really uncomfortable. So how exactly do you ask a snap-happy grandparent to take photos of your kid off social media?
According to Common Sense Media, it’s best to be straight and to the point. The site suggests politely asking your mother-in-law — without judgment — to please delete the photo or crop your kid out, and just straight up say you aren’t comfortable with it.
And if she raises her eyebrows at you? Well WikiHow offers tips on how to persist with your request: “Let the individual know what you would like them to do with the photo.” (I thought the second part of this was going to involve telling your MIL to shove something somewhere, but no.) What WikiHow means is that you could maybe ask the person to make the post private, but if that isn't good enough, politely ask again for them to please just delete it already.
It can be helpful to have your list of reasons for why you don’t want your child’s photo shared (privacy concerns, etc.) on the tip of your tongue, so you can calmly spout them off in your relative's face, or via a clear and carefully worded DM.
Yes, it’s awkward to have a confrontation like this with a relative. Especially when you know they mean well! They simply love your kid, and want to share a sweet photo. (Unless of course your MIL is very passive aggressive, and wants to share the pic because it also features you in the background with your eyes closed, shoving a slice of pizza into your mouth like a monster. But let’s give her the benefit of the doubt, shall we?)
When it comes to your child and his or her privacy, you are the one calling the shots, and you have every right to protect your child as you see fit. And I mean, if anyone should feel awkward in this situation, it's Grandma, not you.
Real Simple offers the handy tip of addressing the issue before it becomes an issue: "It’s best to address your position regarding privacy issues with family and friends before it becomes an uncomfortable situation."
So maybe find some time at the Fourth of July picnic to clink a plastic fork against your solo cup, and announce how much you're looking forward to the fireworks and time with family — oh and just a quick reminder — no kid pics on social media today, please! Then swiftly unveil your Oreo pie and they'll be so distracted by the delectable layers of Jell-O pudding and Cool Whip, they won't have time to roll their eyes at you.