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I Don't Owe You A Photo Of My Child

Before our daughter was born last year, my husband and I decided the cons outweigh the pros when it comes to sharing baby photos online. To keep her safe from pedophiles searching social media and preserve her online presence, we decided we would only post sparingly about her.

However, as soon as she arrived, we tossed that decision right out the door. How could we not show her off in this digital age? We were thrilled to share select pictures with family and friends! We just adjusted our privacy settings, posted away, and watched the likes and comments roll in. I thought this was a fine strategy to protect her.

Still, to my surprise, it wasn't long before I changed my mind again. You see, before her arrival, I had unfriended many "friends" who were barely acquaintances. With my stricter privacy settings on top of that, I felt like I had a good handle on who could see the details of my daughter's life: her first smile, her morning bedhead, the cute little outfits she wore as she rested in her bouncer seat, etc. The big problem came when family members would share our photos with their hundreds or thousands of friends— people we didn't know at all. The reach was out of this world.

I will never forget the time a woman commented on my daughter's picture and said, "Thanks for the update." It was as if she was entitled to know my daughter's life. Her words were simple and obviously she meant no harm, but they made my postpartum blood boil. Sorry, ma'am, but you're not entitled to a front-row seat of my baby's life. Who even are you? Do we have a personal relationship? No, we don't. I don't owe you a photo of my child. As a matter of fact, I don't owe you anything.

During our daughter's first Halloween last month, we dressed our girl as a bunny, donned our coordinating costumes, and enjoyed our first Trick or Treat as a family. We pulled her around in a wagon and strolled through the neighborhood collecting candy. It was so much fun! But then an older gentleman ran up to us with a point-and-shoot camera, and his wife asked if he could take a picture of our daughter. "He just loves babies," she said.

Of course, my mind went to a worst-case scenario. But then I realized that every time I post my girl's picture online, it's much more likely to wind up in the hands of someone it shouldn't. It makes me absolutely sick just thinking about it.

I don't know about you, but I always lock the doors to my home. I also don't share online when I go out of town because I don't want to entice intruders into my home to steal what isn't theirs. Yet here's the kicker: All of my earthly belongings pale in comparison to my daughter. How much more should I be careful to protect her- our true pride and joy? It's difficult, but I really don't want to share photos of her online anymore.

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