Motherhood, mental illness and beyond

Share this?

A friend commented recently on the fact that DH and I have hardly any photos of the children on Facebook, and those that we do share either don’t show their faces or only part of their face so they’re not readily identifiable. This seems quite unusual in this age of social media and my friend was understandably curious.

It’s not just us who are reluctant to share pictures of our children. Some people who refuse to share do so out of fear of paedophiles, concerned that posting an image of their child online will put that child at risk of sexual abuse. Some people have very serious reasons for withholding images of their children – perhaps a violent partner or abuser is looking for them, or a child has been removed from their biological family and is being fostered or adopted

Our reason is far more mundane, however – privacy.

My children aren’t yet old enough to decide whether they want to have photos of themselves floating around the internet. For DH and me to make that decision for them would, we feel, be a breach of their right to privacy. In years to come, when they’re applying to colleges, universities or jobs, it may well be commonplace to do online searches to see what applicants are like (this is already starting to happen) and anything that pops up should be something that the children have consented to being shared. (Not that I imagine any future employer would be interested in baby photos but hopefully you understand what I mean!).

In the earlier days of Facebook we used to post pictures of the children quite often as it was an easy way to share photos with our family and friends (most of whom don’t live locally to us) knowing that only they could see them. But then the site changed, so that if you commented on a photo your friends could see it too. Very quickly a lot of strangers were able to see your image, something that was brought home to us when one of DH’s friends discovered that some of his Facebook photos were being used in an advertising campaign! At that point we removed our shared pictures and videos and haven’t posted any since.

We still send photos to interested friends and family but now it’s by email, and we’ve asked family not to post pictures of them online. I never put photos of the children on my blog and rarely tweet even back-of-the-head shots. I have no objection to others sharing photos and videos of their children online and I do enjoy seeing them. But DH and I would feel uncomfortable putting our own children in the public domain until they are mature enough to make the decision for themselves.

What do you think? Is this something you’ve thought about or is it a non-issue as far as you’re concerned?


Comments on: "Share this?" (4)

  1. I think it’s very noble. Like you say, in a day and age when people are able to share every detail of their lives it is refreshing that some are seriously considering exactly what they share.

    My good friend, in fact he is Ruby’ s godfather, had a similar conversation when his wife and I were pregnant (we were pregnant at the same time). He works in computer forensics so his reasons were to protect my godson’ s image from being misused.

    Had I 1) not lived so far away from my parents/brother/BIL and SIL and 2) not had (an attempted to hide) my PHD, I definitely wouldn’t have had such a need to share.


  2. I think it’s a personal choice.Some parents love showing their kids off to the world.Others don’t.I have a few pics on facebook of my daughter but i have high privacy settings and have none on twitter.I don’t have any of myself either.I am uncomfortable with people deeing me.

  3. As always, do what you’re comfortable with, not what others think you should do. Personally, I think photos of my cats are much better to look at than photos of me, but they don’t have the same privacy issues…… Hmm.
    My sister and BIL do have an issue though. My BIL loves sharing pictures of his children. He sees them as an extension of himself, and wants to share them with his friends and family. My sister isn’t massively comfortable with that, as she would rather certain family members did not see them (for various reasons – no need to blow the paedo-alarm!).
    In theory, if you have strong privacy settings and know how to use them, there shouldn’t be a problem, but you never can be sure. Your idea of waiting until the children can make their own decisions is a great one – wish more parents would leave big decisions like that until they’re of an age to understand and decide. Then again, that might lead to more adult christenings, adult circumcisions….. And fewer childhood ones. Oops. One can of worms….opened!

  4. […] also reminded of a recent blog post I read by Sam Candour aka the Ninja Worrier, in which she says that the reason she doesn’t […]

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