Keep it private when it counts, share when appropriate.
I have attempted not to sell out my children for a swathe of “likes” on Facebook. Not only there, but here at Parent24 the temptation is to say “that time my son did X” or “stupid mistakes my daughter made”. I have tried not to offer them anything but dignity, since it’s their story and not just mine. Maybe I should have said nothing at all, but they are part of me in a way which goes beyond them as individuals.
Online etiquette and kids
Some of my friend’s children will never turn up on their social media accounts. Others choose to give their kids nicknames and are careful not to give away personal details. Still others are happy to share pictures and stories and, in other extremes, some parents only ever share about their children, never themselves.
Is it possible to go “off the grid” with your kids unless you live in a cabin somewhere the internet doesn’t reach? I doubt it.
There was that time I was scanning Facebook and pictures popped up in an account run by a local shopping mall. Of my children. No consent offered or given.
School websites and social media accounts have varying degrees of consent. You may be asked to sign a once-off document which permits the school to use pictures of your child online. Or you may not. The fact is, people are allowed to take pictures and upload them to the internet without asking permission. As much as a polite person would ask the permission of another parent to upload pictures of their children, not everyone is as sensitive to the dangers, perceived dangers or even just the “privacy settings” of families.
I know that children have been identified and abducted as a result of social media posts (in extremely rare cases often with complex surrounding issues such as guardianship disputes).
I know that there are human beings for whom children inspire passions most of us would consider anathema.
Permission, dignity and common sense
Parents tend to teeter between common sense and abject paranoia. We want to give some slack on the apron strings but then the burden of responsibility yanks them taut again. WHAT IF SOMETHING WERE TO HAPPEN?
No nudes is good nudes
Now that my children are older, I generally ask their permission before I share pictures, and certainly not ones meant to bring shame. I know better than to share images of them with anything resembling nudity, too.
My approach is to keep it simple and to ensure that their dignity is maintained. Heck, I’m more likely to impair my own dignity, so they’re safe for now.
You can choose how to deal with the internet and your children. It can still be fun, and it needn’t ruin their lives or turn them into potential child slaves.
Lots, some or none at all: how much do you share about your kids online?