Why We Should Never Post Pictures Of Our Babies Online

By Molly Atherton 5 months ago

1. Consent

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Babies and children are not at an age where they can actually give you consent.  So by posting photographs of them online all the time, even if you are their parent or legal guardian, you are, in essence, breaching their right to provide you with consent.

2. Digital footprint

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If you're posting pictures of your baby or child, believe it or not, you are actually building into their digital footprint before they even know what on Earth one of those is.  And no matter how innocent or private you think your posting is, this can potentially have long-lasting implications for them.

3. Cyberbullying

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You're probably posting photographs of your baby because you're proud of them and you want to show your little bundle of joy to the world.  But by posting them online, you might also be putting them at risk of nasty cyberbullying, where people post unkind comments about them and potentially even harass them in the future.

4. Identity theft

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Putting your baby or child's face out there on the world wide web for everyone to see (even if you think it's private) can also put them, or you, at risk of identity theft.  You'll be surprised about how much information criminals can extract from your photographs, so be careful what you post!

5. Online predators

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Unfortunately, despite its good sides, the internet also has a sinister edge as well where online predators lurk in the shadows.  And if there is even the tiniest chance that they can gather information about your precious little one, or even see their pictures, why would you even take the risk?

6. Unwanted attention

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If you post pictures of your child publically, they're probably going to get some online attention in the form of likes or comments, or even shares.  And sometimes, they might not do these with the best of intentions.  Your child might even get unwanted attention in real life if they are recognized on the street!

7. Geolocation

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You might not be aware of this, but many of the images we take on our smart devices actually contain geolocation data.  This could be quite worrying because geolocation data can potentially reveal the exact location of where the picture was taken, thus compromising the safety of your baby.

8. Privacy

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When you post photographs online of your baby, you probably don't mean to but you are, in essence, compromising their safety and security.  Even if your friends or follower list is carefully vetted and you believe your own privacy settings are tight, your baby didn't ask to be shown to your social media contacts!

9. Loss of control

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Once you put a photograph of your baby on social media, it is out in the vast digital world and if truth be told, it is no longer yours.  So putting it out there means that you completely lose control of what happens with the picture, including who gets hold of it, where it's shared, and, disturbingly, even how it's edited.

10. Exploitation

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Unfortunately, there have been instances where innocent pictures of children shared on social media have been collected by online predators and criminals and shared on inappropriate websites or forums.  And there have been disturbing cases in the darkest corners of the web where they have been edited too.

11. Oversharing

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If you are constantly posting everything your baby does, from taking their first steps to puking up milk on your shoulder, you're going to inevitably start to blur the lines between what is public and what is private life.  And, to be honest, nobody wants to see your baby throwing their food around for the fiftieth time.

12. Unintended audience

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Even if you think your privacy settings are unpenetrable and you believe you're only sharing pictures of your baby with close friends and family, realistically, you can never be really sure whether they will be the only ones to see it.  Your privacy could be breached, or your friends and family could share with their friend lists without you knowing!

13. Data collection

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You probably know by now that social media platforms tend to often collect and analyze user data so they can target advertising at you, recommend services, or improve their user experience, amongst other unknown reasons.  And to be honest, this could be a security concern.

14. Facial recognition

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Social media platforms also use facial recognition technology too, as do smartphones and other devices.  So sharing pictures of your baby online can help to train these facial recognition algorithms.  And this sits quite uncomfortably with a lot of people and raises concerns about privacy and surveillance.

15. Future Implications

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Technology and the digital world are constantly evolving and developing.  Just think about how quickly technology has advanced in the last ten years, and in the next, it's only going to speed up.  So the future implications of sharing on social media are just completely uncertain and you don't know how it's going to affect them!

16. Trust

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In early childhood, as a parent, it is really important to start to build trust with your baby.  There are many ways to do this but one significant way is by respecting your child's privacy early on and working on establishing healthy boundaries as they grow and develop.

17. Emotional attachment

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If you're constantly seeking validation on social media through posting baby pictures and videos, this can really affect your own well-being and feelings of self-worth.  Because if you don't get as many likes as last time, you might start to feel like you're failing as a parent and this can really affect your emotional attachment to parenthood and your baby.

18. Spoiling offline experiences

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If you're always posting online, it's almost as if nothing ever happens unless you have shared it on social media.  So your offline experiences might begin to lose value in your own mind and you might not fully engage with your baby in the offline world.  This can really affect your memory building and early experiences in your relationship with your child.

19. Not being fully present

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If you're constantly thinking of how you can post each experience you have with your child online, or constantly checking your previous post to see how many likes it got or comments, or even shares, you're never going to be fully present with your child and you'll miss out on those all-important early experiences.

20. An unhealthy relationship with technology

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You might think that you're engagement with social media is not a problem.  After all, you tell yourself that you're just keeping your family in the loop with lovely updates about your baby.  But in reality, this behavior will ultimately see you develop an unhealthy relationship with technology, and because babies are like little learning sponges, they might develop an unhealthy relationship with it too!

21. Comparison and judgment

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When you're posting on social media, and checking other parent's pages when they update with pictures of their seemingly perfected (or not) lives with their babies, this is going to open up the floor for comparison and judgment.  And this might even happen to you and you might even receive judgemental comments.

22. Longevity

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Once something has been shared online, it's pretty much there forever.  Pictures can be really difficult to completely remove or delete from the digital world, even if you attempt to delete them from your own accounts.  They might still be in cyberspace somewhere, or someone might have even saved or shared them on their pages.

23. Harassment

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When you put anything out into the digital world, you are opening yourself up to the possibility of harassment.  And if you share pictures of your baby, these pictures might attract trolls who may harass you and your child and leave negative comments.  This can be super distressing for not just you, but your child as well, and do you really want that to be a possibility?

24. What about their career?

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Interestingly, potential employers do often search for you online to see if you really are a good fit for the role.  So when you post, you have to be mindful of this for yourself.  But if someone else, like a parent, is posting photographs of you online, this can really disrupt your carefully crafted digital footprint too!

25. Boundaries

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When you post about your family life, you are basically inviting people in to have a snoop at your private life and this can make it really difficult to put up certain boundaries that you and your family might need.  So being careful of what you share with the world can help you to establish and maintain healthy boundaries as a family.

26. Artistic representations

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Now, we're not saying that it is evil to share pictures of your little bundle of joy, but instead of posting photographs of their faces, why not create artistic representations of them instead?  Perhaps you're good at drawing or painting, or creating digital content like reels.  These can be so much more creative and personal.

27. Your baby's hidden talents

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Your baby might even have certain talents that you wish to showcase to the world or a smaller friend list.  Consider taking artistic videos or sharing stories that show the world your baby's unique skills or personality traits so that people can appreciate them more, rather than just scrolling past another photograph of a baby.

28. Collaborate on an online baby journal

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You could even make your posting more collaborative and personal, and work together with family members or friends to create an online baby journal that documents your baby's milestones, special memories, and experiences that you can all share and contribute to.

29. A private photo album

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If you really want to share photographs of your baby with friends or family members because perhaps they live far away, why not create a private online photo album that only you and a carefully selected group of people can access?  This could be done instead of using social media to post.

30. Check your privacy settings

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You might have your privacy settings strictly managed, but please take this as a reminder to check them regularly.  The truth is, sometimes, privacy settings change when there are updates to the platform you are using.  So do make sure you go through them carefully to make sure they are as private as you would like them.

31. Keeping your kids safe online: don't turn on location

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If your young child is just getting acquainted with the internet, this is the next hurdle after posting baby pictures yourself! You can't stop them completely from going on the internet in this day and age, but you can help to keep them safe. Tagging location in posts and photos can compromise your privacy, so make sure not to do that.

32. Have very clear rules about internet use

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To keep your children safe, you need to know when they're using the internet, and in what way. Having clear rules means they don't feel restricted and feel happy they're allowed to use the internet, while having some guidelines in mind. For example, don't use the internet during mealtimes, finish homework first, don't use after a certain time at night.

33. Teach them internet etiquette

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We all know the unfortunate reality of online trolls and keyboard warriors, and it's important for your child to be kind and polite when online. The more they understand internet etiquette, the less likely it'll be for them to get into hurtful confrontations with others.

34. Manually set protections

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Most things these days will come with a child-friendly setting, where you can control the kind of content that shows up on your child's device. So make sure you're setting up parental controls and deciding the kind of websites your child can and can't visit to keep them safe!

35. Test out the websites and games yourself

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Keep up to date with the websites and games that your child likes to browse the internet for, so that you can visit the sites/play the games yourself and test what you think of the content and how safe you think they are. You may also be able to find better alternatives for them.

36. Constantly talk to your child about the internet

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It's important to keep talking to your child for what they like to browse so you can stay in the loop and know which websites to double check. Constantly talking to them about the internet will help you to gauge whether they have a safe idea of what they're doing, or whether anything needs addressing.

37. Keep the webcam covered

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In general, there shouldn't be any reason for your child to be using a webcam at all if they're still young, unless you're using the webcam together as a family for photos or videos. Make sure to cover it (it it comes with a cover, close it, or you can use a sticker to put over the camera) when not in use, so someone can't see your child if it gets hacked.

38. Sit with them to go online together

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If you don't feel right leaving your child to browse the internet alone, even on the opposite chair, you can make time to sit down side by side and make internet time a joint activity for you both, so you can watch what they're doing but also use it as a bonding opportunity for quality time!

39. Keep up to date about latest threats

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There are general internet safety tips for children, but threats are changing all the time, so as a parent it's also important to do your own research about what you need to watch out for - especially on specific kids sites, or where young children are concerned. This will help you to keep up to date.

40. Encourage them to speak about the 'bad'

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It's going to be hard to police what your child is doing online if they feel embarrassed or scared about talking about something. Encourage them to always come to you if they have questions about things they've seen online or things they don't understand. Talk to them about what the 'bad' side of the online world is.

41. Keep your child safe while YOU'RE using the internet

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Even if your child isn't actively using the internet at a certain time, they still might be vulnerable if you're using the internet in the house. If you're taking a selfie or photo, make sure they're not in the background, their clothes aren't in the background, or anything personal to them. If you're on a video call, make sure they can't walk in (especially if they might be wearing just a diaper!).

42. Develop great communication with your child in general

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To make it more likely that your child will come to you with an internet problem, make sure you have great communication in general and that you're really developing your relationship with your child to talk about all sorts of things. This will make the conversations about the internet even easier.

43. Pay attention to their behavior

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You know your child's normal behavior best, so if they've suddenly been acting a little different - around the time they've been using the internet - it could be a sign something is going on. If they've become withdrawn, upset or troubled, they might have seen something, been talked to by somebody or been targeted for something.

44. It's not just adult sites you have to worry about

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It's natural to have this be the first thing that pops into your head as a parent thinking about which sites to block their child from accessing. But the internet is such a dangerous place that it's not just that you have to worry about. Think about sites like those that upload creepy/disturbing images, images of dead bodies, crime scenes, sites with hate speech, with news articles... all of this can be a risk to your child and it's easily missed!

45. Make sure they don't share any personal information

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It's not just about their date of birth, real name or home address. There are little titbits of information that children can innocently reveal that attackers can use to their advantage. It might be the name of a family member, or a favorite pet. Someone targeting a chat might then use that information to get friendly or as though they know your family.

46. Think about the photos you post, too

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You might be used to uploading a holiday beach snap without a second thought before you had kids. These days, you have to be careful the type of images you're uploading accidentally. Especially with vacations, young children might not be wearing anything, or just their underwear, in the background!

47. Help them to understand what cyberbullying is

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Trying to protect your child completely form cyberbulling by not talking to them about it won't help in the long-run - it's much better to have an open conversation with them about what it is and how to recognize it, so that they can come and tell you if they're being cyberbullied.

48. Don't let them accept requests from people they don't know

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If your child is using the internet to connect with friends at their school, or family members, through social media, make sure they understand never to accept requests from people they don't know, even if it looks like you have mutual connections. This will give those people access to your child's profile and information.

49. Speak openly to your child about predators

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It's a tough subject, but your child needs to know the signs of being targeted by a sexual predator. Even if you make the best efforts to keep them away from the wrong sites, predators can sometimes find a way. Make sure your child - and yourself - understand warning signs of sexual predators, like asking for personal information, threatening behavior if they don't do something, asking to meet up etc.

50. Don't overstep your bounds

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It's important to protect your child, but monitoring their every move and every message is a step too far when they're getting older and need privacy. If they think you're being too overbearing, they're more likely to pull away and rebel, and not tell you if they've seen or done something wrong online. It's much better to just have an open flow of communication!

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