The question of whether or not you should post pictures of your baby on social media seems to get everyone's nappies in a twist. Here’s why I’m more than happy to show my kids off to the world.
I’m a notorious over-sharer. When you write a family-based blog, that’s sort of a given. But not everyone has the same devil-may-care attitude with putting up photos of their young’uns on Facebook, Instagram other social media platforms. Here are some of the main arguments that I’m often faced with when I bring up the topic with other parents.
Someone may try to misuse your child’s image and do something without your knowledge…
The big worry is, clearly, something unsavoury. Well, firstly, I don’t post nude photos, of course. Secondly, so what? This reason is based on fear of the unknown and finds strength in the relentlessly imaginative world of what-ifs.
I’ve decided I can’t control what people think and I’m not going to waste my time letting that stop me from doing something normal and fun – communicating with people I like on social media. Because that’s how we do it these days.
Advertisers can target you and your kids…
Good. This alone is reason enough to share the hell out of everything in your life. And your child’s.
I grew up with nothing but free-to-air telly and as a child, I had to sit through a lot of adverts for things I had no interest in, like washing powder, home loans and haemorrhoid cream.
Hopefully now, with all this clever collecting of my likes and interests, advertisers will target me with stuff I actually like and need instead. Stuff like washing powder, home loans and hemorrhoid cream.
What about the detrimental effects on my child’s job prospects…?
People are already using Facebook and Google to learn more about prospective clients and employees, and this trend is unlikely to stop in the future your child is growing up into.
What if, before their job interview, someone searches online and comes up with my kid’s childhood misadventures or – gasp! – a baby photo?
Again, so what?
“We’re going with someone else because you were an ugly baby” said no-one in HR ever.
Everything you do online leaves a trail…
Fantastic. Have you ever tried to research your family tree? You should try it. You come up with a snippet of information on a great great great grandparent, like they got sent to Australia for stealing bread and you get excited and suddenly feel like you know them (and also why you took money out of your mum’s purse when you were ten). Then you build a story in your head that is so far from the reality that you may as well not have bothered.
My descendants won’t have this problem. In fact, they’ll struggle under the sheer volume of information. Even before I gave myself over to the dark side of the interweb and started blogging about my life, I would go out of my way to get our mugs and monikers into the local newspaper. I wanted to leave a trail for any future relatives about who we are and where they came from.
As I see it, the internet is just an extension of our local newspaper.
Since you can’t ask a baby if they want to be plastered online, do you have the right to take that choice away from them?
I reckon I do. You see, I’m their legal guardian, so at the moment, these sorts of decisions are up to me. And it’s not without some sort of historical precedent.
You know what my parents made me do when I was a kid? Class photos with school and sporting teams, and even smile in group photos at birthday parties. There are photos in lots of homes across this country of me with my pants pulled up to my rib cage, brown corduroy shorts and bob-like cuts. And in one case, I’m ashamed to say, sporting a mullet.
I want my kids to know their childhood fashion faux pas, to look back and laugh at themselves, and to fondly remember ‘the ol’ days’.
Seriously, there’d be more questions asked if these photos weren’t out there. Like, “Didn’t you think I was cute enough to show your friends?”
I think it’s the people like me, in the generations who’ve had to learn this new digital world as it was being created, who worry and stress and look for potential potholes. Especially where our kids are concerned, because that’s what parents do.
Is there a chance something might go south from putting baby images and the like online? Yep. But there are small margins for misery in everything we do in life. The big question for me is: am I going to let fear stop me from enjoying social media and sharing my family’s life online with people I enjoy interacting with?
Not a hope. Anymore than I’ll let fear stop me from taking my kids to the beach.