Like most people on social media, you probably get to see adorable pictures of babies pop up in your feed all the time, all of which are posted by your friends and family members. In case you are a parent, there’s a good chance that you upload photos of your own kids too, but you need to remember that just because something is done so commonly these days doesn’t mean it is safe.
The fact of the matter is that anytime you post something on social media, you lost a bit of control over what is going to happen to that image. It is for this reason that some parents keep their kids and their pictures shielded away from the big bad virtual world because they just don’t want to take that risk. Not everyone out there is nice – this world is full of bad people. The internet is packed full of malicious people and stalkers who can take your kids’ pictures and put them on sites visited by people who get turned on by children and socially isolated people who just stalk people.
Here’s a list of a few reasons why you should refrain from posting pictures of your kids online:
7 You have no idea how far and wide something can spread on the internet
Anything that you post on the internet can spread wider than you intended, which is one reason why you shouldn’t post pictures of your kids online. Even if you want to post them, it is highly recommended for you to tighten your security settings. In order to ensure that only people you know and trust in real life have access to your images, make sure that you create a separate friends list on Facebook. But even with that, you should make it clear to everyone on that list that the pictures you upload to your account are private and should not be shared at all.
No matter how many precautions you take, it is necessary for you to be extremely mindful of what you post. Anything too specific about your children or their location should never be posted online. For instance, consider that you post a cute picture of your children at their first day of school and she is standing in front of the school sign. If this picture goes public, people, including sex offenders, will come to know how your child looks and the school she goes to.
Take extra caution
Technology is progressing with each passing day and latest innovations are continually going to trigger more problems. For this reason, it is best for you to refrain from posting pictures of your babies that you wouldn’t want strangers to look at. The only step that can help you protect your kids in the long run is to post as wisely as possible.
6 Anything posted on the internet is going to be there forever
If there’s something you should know about the internet, it’s that once you post something on it, it is going to be there forever. No matter how hard you try to get something off the World Wide Web, all your attempts are going to be futile. This is something that you must take into consideration when trying to figure out whether you want a picture or other information about your kids posted on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook etc.
Once you post an image online, there is no real way for you to control who you can see, share or download it. Considering how ‘permanent’ it is, this step of yours can put your kids at severe risk. Yes, there are ample privacy settings in place on just about all social media platforms, there is no guarantee as to how and who will be able to view or use your child’s pictures. The moment that bathtub photo of your daughter goes live on the internet, you lose all control over it. You never know what sort of interests and addictions other people on the internet may have, which deems it necessary for you to protect your child the best you can.
Think about your child
Each time that you log on to the internet with the intent of posting a picture of his on your social media account, try to think about what’s best for your child. Just because ‘everybody’s doing it’, it in no way means that it’s safe. Even if you are being pressured by people to show off your baby, there is no reason why you should join that club. Your baby comes first – everyone else can just wait.
5 Don’t rely on privacy settings
You may have the strictest privacy settings in the whole wide world together with the most secure password possible, but when you share your baby’s pictures on the internet with others, it is THEIR privacy settings that you should worry about. To be honest, whether you should post your baby’s pictures on the internet or not basically boils down to how much you know about what you are putting on the internet for the world to see. However, there is no way on Earth for you to know a thing about the kind of privacy settings your family members and friends have.
People like your children’s grandparents may unknowingly pass on your kids’ pictures to all the wrong people. As they have just started using social media, the only thing they excel at is that of ‘pushing buttons’. Totally excited about the whole system and getting to see their grandchildren, they do not have the sophistication or the level of comfort required for things to remain protected. They assume everything is safe, but they have no idea at all about who is getting to see their posts. For this reason, make sure that you check out their privacy settings before sharing pictures of your kids with them.
It’s not just your parents
That’s right. Grandparents aren’t the only problem here. It is time for you to do a bit of cleaning up if you haven’t yet been through your friends and/or followers list in a while. If you haven’t seen someone since college or don’t remember a particular friend, make sure that you get rid of them.
4 Think of the future
This concern is definitely real.Whatever pictures you post on the internet are things that your children SHOULD feel comfortable with later on in life – this is something that you need to make sure of. You have to extremely cautious of what you post because at some point or the other in life, it just might come back up. You are making an extremely important decision for their future and you need to make it cautiously. Instead of taking such a huge risk, it is best for you to just refrain from posting their pictures on the internet.
Whether you realize it or not, the fact of the matter is that you are setting up a bit of a digital trail for your children that is bound to last all through their lifetime. What’s most concerning here is that you are doing it without their permission, without their consent. Think of it this way, what is your child going to think of what you posted when he was 9? If you post a picture of him picking his nose, or wearing a really dorky suit, you are just going to set him up for bullying in times to come. What appears to be cute at age 2 is anything but cute at 18.
Kids can be very sensitive
When kids hit their tween years, they tend to become rather sensitive about their appearance. It is for reasons such as these that posting pictures of your child during his ‘ugly duckling’ phase is just going to set him up for self-esteem issues in times to come.
3 You need to respect your child’s privacy
By the time your kid becomes 3-4 years old, she is going to start fighting you on her daily wardrobe choices. So just think for a while about the battle that is going to ensue when she exacts her revenge on you for posting a picture of her during her potty training days.
With time, your child is going to grow up. If someone takes things out of context and starts using your child’s pictures in an inappropriate manner, that cute bath tub picture of your daughter is not going to remain ‘adorable’. You need to think rather long and hard about respecting the privacy of your children and consider the fact that they may not be comfortable with their childhood being an open book when they grow up. Yes it may sound a bit extreme to most of you, but do you really think it’s fair for pictures of your kids to be posted on the internet without their permission? They may be kids right now, but they will grow up one day, and a certain picture you thought was totally adorable just might make them a target of bullies. If anything, there is no reason at all that can justify giving access to pictures of your naked child to the entire world.
Set a precedent
As parents, it is necessary for you to set the standard pertaining to what can and should be posted online for your children to follow in years to come. Even the most innocent pictures can be turned into a joke or a sick perversion these days, and can be shared on websites that you would never want to visit. Hence, refrain from exploiting your children even in ignorance.
2 You may overshare your child’s information
Parents are often the worst culprits when it comes to posting pictures of children on the internet. A study performed in the USA showed that around 63% of mums use Facebook these days. Of these, around 97% stated that they post pictures of their kids on the internet. Another 89% further claimed to post status updates about their children and about 46% of them post videos too. No matter the intention, there are certain types of photos and information that you should not share with anyone over the internet. This includes naked photos of your kids, pictures in which you or your kids are in an unflattering pose and even pictures that can help someone identify just where you live.
You may share your child’s pictures on the internet because you want to show off her growth and development in front of relatives and friends. Although it may seem harmless because you have the strictest privacy settings ever, but is that really good enough in today’s world?
Pay utmost attention to the information that you are giving out
You need to consider the amount of information you are giving away in your pictures and status updates. This includes things like place of birth, date of birth, your child’s full name and tagging other photographs with a geographical location. The fact of the matter is that all these bits of information can easily be used by a person with malicious intents to steal your child’s identity. To be honest, this is the last thing you would want to happen to your child, thereby adding to the reasons why you should refrain from posting pictures of your kids online.
1 You can’t predict the future
There is no perfect protection of anything on the internet unless you literally swear to yourself that you won’t post anything at all. However, most parents have found a way out – the post pictures and stories of their kids on the World Wide Web without ever using their real name or without tagging them in pictures. Yes, it sounds good, but what do you think will happen in another 20 years when your child reaches adulthood?
If anything, there is no way for anyone to guess what Facebook and other social media platforms are going to be like in years to come. Chances are, even those who run these platforms have no idea how things will be in the next 15-20 years. At the moment, Facebook and other sites basically use the personal data they acquire to assist advertisers in reaching out to their target markets – that’s how they make money. But with time, this business model could go through an abrupt change and new tools may be introduced to capture personal information all the time.
Maintaining anonymity is nearly impossible these days
Maintaining anonymity on the internet is just about impossible these days. Passwords and photos are extremely easy to hack and the more information that you put up about your child, the easier it is going to become for anyone with ill intentions to trace those digital footprints back to your kid – whether it is now or when he’s 18, the risk will always be there. By the time your kid turns into a teenager, things are going to be far more complex, so instead of putting your kid at risk, keep his pictures and other information to yourself.