Baby Pictures on Social Media... For it or Against it?

With everything happening these days concerning facebook, I've decided to talk about something I've been thinking about for a little while now: baby pictures on the internet. My subject here is baby or child pictures posted by parents, friends or family members. At this young age, they aren't old enough yet to give their own opinion on wether or not they want their adorable face posted on social media walls. It is up to the parents to decide wether or not they wish to share, and what they are ok with.

I am of course the first person to be glad to see my friends' kids grow up on my facebook or instagram walls. For relatives living far away it's a great way to get a glimpse at their loved ones's kids and see them grow. But are there negative sides to posting these images? Opinions on this subject vary a lot. I'd like to open the discussion, and offer some safety advice to keep in mind before hitting the ''publish'' button.

Some parents love social media, and see it as a way to keep track of their family life, as a modern photo album. It's a very convenient way to announce good news and bad  news to friends and family, and share pictures of our adorable tots. It can be a way to show off our kids, their accomplishments, say how proud we are, and mark importent moments. Through my research on the subject, I also read another debate article on the subject, where a mom who almost lost her life in childbirth saw social media as a great archive of her life with her son in case something happens. Something he could always access and re-visit. She also said that since social media is here to stay, why not enjoy it! Her son, now six years old, shares with his mother the pleasure of offering a window on their life through the various platforms and now wishes to have his own YouTube channel. For them it's an activity they enjoy doing together, and he even edits her posts now.

On the other hand, there are parents who wouldn't  dream of putting their kids' faces or information out there in any way. Without the child's consent, they see it as a breach on the child's private life. If relatives wish to see the child, they can come see it in person, or ask for pictures in private messages. Social media may seem secure, with our passwords and privacy settings, but any variation in the algorithm could change all that. A relative could decide to share the pictures without our consent, and these snapshots can end up anywhere.
There is also the argument of the child's relation to his or her own image. What if the child came to depend upon the number of ''likes'' he/she gets on social media? What could be the kids relation with themselves if social media came to occupy too big a place in their life? Another thing to keep in mind, is that whatever we put on the internet will stay there. In 20, 30, 40 years, these documents will still be easy to find. What if they could impede on the child's future personal or professional life?

I like to look at both sides and see if there is something in the middle too. My own opinion on the subject isn't set yet. Social media can be an amazing tool when they are used to their full potential, and today's reality is that they have largely replaced other forms of communication. But one thing is for sure, if we wish to share our kids pictures on our profiles, there is a number of things to bear in mind on order to protect our child's integrity, dignity and private life. Here is some safety advice you can keep in mind before posting:

1- Your privacy settings: Who is the photo/video for? If you with to share it with friends only, make sure your account settings are set to that.

2- Nudity: How cute are a little baby bums! But it would probably be best to keep bath, potty or nude pictures for yourself, because you never know in whose hands they could end up, or if they could be used to make fun of your child later.

3- Embarrassing situations: You wouldn't like it either if someone posted a picture of you when you are not feeling well, ill, angry, or in an embarrassing situation. Cyber-bullying is a sad reality today, especially with kids and teenagers. Better not give out situations that could be bullying fodder for your child.

4- Personal details: Full names, your address, the school your child goes to, or any other personal information should be kept confidential. Some people opt to chose online nicknames for their kids, instead of using their real name.

5- Child-shaming. Sadly, online child-shaming exists. Parents who use the power of the internet to denigrate, embarrass, or give a lesson to their child after they did something stupid. Some sort of 21st century punishment. However, this sort of practice could have disastrous consequences on the self esteem and mental health of the targeted kids.

6- Pictures/videos of other kids without their parent's consent. You are allowed to chose to share images of your own child. But if it concerns other children, make sure the parents are okay with it!

7- Dangerous or illegal activities. A baby holding a beer, or driving a car on daddy'd lap is can be cute and hilarious. Is isn't funny anymore if the picture is reported to the child protection services. Sadly, there are a number of cases where parents were investigated after posting a funny picture of the sort...

Here is me reflexion of the day! How about you? What is your position? Looking forward to reading everyone' s opinion!

Picture from Pixabay