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Should You Be Posting Photos of Your Kids Online?

posted: 10/19/15
by: Courtney Reimer
mom taking selfie with baby
iStock

It's something so many parents do every day, if not several times a day: posting photos of their children on the internet for their family and friends to see. It can be a great way to keep those in your life updated on how your kiddo is coming along, but some say the cons outweigh the cons for this common practice. Here are a few things to consider as you make your decision on how much or how little of your little one to present online.

1. Privacy settings. First things first: if you're sharing photos online, you'll want to know exactly whom you're sharing them with. And we meant that literally: for safety reasons, it's best to manage your privacy settings so that only people who know you are seeing those photos of junior. The default setting on many networks is to "public," so we strongly recommend you go in and fix that. Also, just keep in mind that what you do post is creating digital footprint for your kiddo, so proceed with some caution.

2. You're creating a virtual "baby book." Once upon a time, moms (it was almost always moms) would scrapbook together mementoes of their baby's milestones and important photos. Now most of that collecting of memories and pictures happens on Facebook instead. This can be a positive or negative thing, depending on how you look at it: on the one hand, it's becoming second nature, so its more likely memories will be preserved (as a second child I can tell you it's sort of a bummer not having a baby book to flip through).

3. Consider setting a "cutoff age." At some point your kid will probably want to start having their own online identity (or not having one, if they so choose). A Pew Research study showed that a whopping 92 percent of kids have some kind of social media presence by the time they're 2, which won't be news to anyone who has a new parent in their friend feed. But what about when those kids get to the age when they can make decisions of their own? It's worth thinking about when you might want to let your kid decide if their photos should be online.

4. Don't forget to make real photos, too. If you're of a certain age, you probably remember the trip to the Sears family photo sitting as a rite of passage. So often now people are constantly taking and posting photos that they forget to make tangible, literally saveable pictures of their loved ones. If getting the family together for a sitting is an insurmountable task, there are many online services (like Shutterfly) that can take your online photos and make them into photos you can touch.

5. Enjoy the virtual parenting community, responsibly. There's certainly something to be said for the communal nature of Facebook, where you can share a photo of the meal you prepared for your kid, now smeared all over him and half of the kitchen. Fellow parents can chime in to let you know you're not alone in this mess, which is comforting. Just be sure to follow the safety measures helpfully outlined in this great PBS Parents article.

All in all, the internet can be a magical place to easily update your far-flung family and friends on the important (and not-so-important) moments of your life. It's just good to know the ramifications of that easy communication and sharing. Happy posting (or not posting)!