Working in social media marketing I often think about this new generation of tech-savvy kids (and how I can keep up with them), and the even younger kiddos who are being brought up after them. A new generation of kids are being brought up in a world that has never existed before, a world where social media has existed since their births. A world where it is possible for parents to post pictures of them before they are old enough to give their consent. In this new world, a question arises for parents raising these little ones: is it ok post pictures of your children on social media?
On the one hand social media can offer some great perks when it comes to a child. It is a great way to keep family and friends who don’t live nearby up to date on the child’s development and activities. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, can also be an easy way to create a great digital scrapbook for your child’s life right from the beginning. Additionally, becoming a parent is a huge part of life and parents want to share that part of them with their friends and family. To remove that from their self-expressed identity completely can be a challenge.
But what are the risks and do they outweigh the benefits? Some parents think so. Many parents are concerned with the safety and privacy of their child. An innocent birth announcement on Facebook usually includes the child’s full name, their date of birth and the geographic location of the post, all things that can help someone who may want to steal your child’s identity. There are also posts such as the first day of school posts of a child standing next to a sign with the school’s name on it or catching the bus for the first time next to street sign, all things that could help a predator locate your child. Additionally, parents may want to consider how posts may affect their child in the future. Once a picture or post is out there it can be hard, if not impossible, to reign in. Do you as a parent have the right to post pictures or videos that the older version of your child might despise and not be able to control? Lately, I’ve come across a surprisingly large number of videos of woozy teens recovering from dental surgery circulating online. This makes me wonder if these were posted with or without the teen’s permission, and are they even at an age when they can responsibly decide what is ok to put out there and give their consent?
Parents, post carefully. You may think that you’re a good judge of what is safe to include and what your children may or may not find cringe-worthy in the future, but your future teenage daughter may have a different feeling towards that bare-bottomed bathtub pic. You as a parent are creating your child’s first online identity, be careful how you craft it.