Should You Post Photos of Your Baby Online?

A couple of years ago, an old friend of mine had a baby girl. My friend had posted photos from her maternity shoot on Facebook, and she’d made occasional updates about how her pregnancy was progressing. But when her little arrived, she only shared the name, with a message saying that she and her husband had decided not to post baby photos online.

It was a little shocking! I know there are parents out there who are actively not sharing photos of their kids on the Internet. But they are definitely in the minority. Heck, 40% of millennials even have separate social media accounts for their babies!

More than two years later, my friend has yet to post a picture of her daughter on Facebook. She never said why they decided against sharing images online, but some parents don’t out of fear of creepy people using the photos and related information to find their kids and harm them. There’s not much reason for this concern, according to an article in the NY Times. Although sensational TV news shows might lead parents to believe this happens regularly, it’s just not true.

Instead, experts say parents should consider two other things when posting pictures of their baby on social media. The first is the risk that those photos could be repurposed by anyone, anywhere, without your knowledge. A simple photo share of your baby’s first smile could result in his or her face on an avatar somewhere in cyberspace, or used in an advertisement for some sketchy product. But given the billions of photos posted online—Facebook users upload more than 350 million photos every day, and Instagram receives 95 million daily—the chance of this happening is seriously small.

A more pressing reason to not post your kids on social media sites? You’re creating a digital persona for them before they are old enough to have a say in it, says the Family Online Safety Institute

Think about it: Those photos and comments you’re posting online aren’t going anywhere. The photos and information you’re sharing about your child are shaping friends and families opinions about him or her, maybe without them ever having any real-life interaction with your child. Those photos and posts can be viewed and relived years from now, when s/he is old enough to have an opinion about it, and when the rest of the world (ok, your friends and family) has already seen it. Can you see why some parents are choosing to abstain from sharing  anything about their kids?

This is all such new territory for parents. Our kids are the first generation to have a digital footprint from birth. Will your child grow up to be upset with what you’ve posted about him or her? Maybe, maybe not. Will their friends and schoolmates mock or bully them over something you posted years ago? Hopefully not!

It’s probably not necessary to stop posting photos of your baby online. Instead, experts suggest you consider your child’s digital persona when  adding an image of your mini me to your stream. At the very least, it’s probably best to keep the bathtub photos private!

Do you follow any personal guidelines about sharing photos of your kids on social media? Have you ever considered the digital persona you’re creating for your child online?