Parenting in the digital age has plenty of challenges, but also joys. One of those joys for me is sharing cute photos and anecdotes of my kids on social media. I’ve been blogging for nearly ten long years, in which time I’ve post gazillions of photos of my kids to Facebook, Instagram, and my blog. But I will admit, there are a few I’d like to take back! Here are some examples of photos, anecdotes and information I’ve learned from experience not to post about my kids social media.
1. Naked or bath time photos
Yes, naked-y kiddos are adorable! Chubby baby buns! Innocent little streakers! It’s all so cute. Buuut…sadly we live in a world where there are perverts who will use any kind of naked photo of a kid as child pornography. Once you put it online, it’s very easy for the wrong person to get it. And just to give you an example—even though this is a faith-based parenting website, our #2 search term people used to find us through Google last month was “kid porn”. Over 27,000 people came to this site because they searched for “kid porn”. Thankfully, they won’t find what they are looking for here—but that’s an AWFUL lot of people looking, and the truth is, it’s merely a tiny fraction of the whole. (Ugh.)
2. Potty Time
This kind of goes along with the first one as far as nudity goes, but the main reason not to post these is because one day it could cause extreme embarrassment to your kids. I’ve been on Facebook since my 13 and 10 year olds were very tiny. Some of my teen’s friends now have Facebook accounts and have friended me. How would he feel if his friends started going through my old photos and found a picture of him trying to drop a deuce? Yeah…that’s just not cool! Worse, what if a social media bully found the photo and used it against him? These are just scenarios that sadly, we have to consider to be likely today.
3. Behavior shaming photos
This is just not nice. I am Facebook friends with my kids’ teachers and lots of other parents from their school. I don’t want a photo of MY worst moments posted online. That would make me feel TERRIBLE! So I am not going to do that to my kids. Yet, it is kind of a popular thing among parents these days. Don’t do it! The lasting psychological effects could be pretty bad, I think.
4. Location details
This might mean different things for different parents. It kind of falls under a general category of safety. Don’t post that your teen is babysitting alone for the first time at Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s house. Don’t gleefully post to Facebook “Out running errands for the first time leaving the kids home by themselves! So glad my oldest can babysit now!” Other parents go so far as to say you should never even post the name of your child’s school, but in my opinion, that information is usually not difficult to find out. Still, a “you can’t be too careful” mantra is not going to hurt in this case! Make sure you check your location settings on your social media accounts if you don’t automatically want Facebook to tell everyone WHERE you’re posting from.
5. Jokes that appear to be risky activities
Listen, folks. Just about ANYTHING can get child protective services called on you these days! That’s why if you think it’s hilarious to take a pic of your toddler “drinking” from an empty beer bottle or “driving” a car, you might just wanna keep that pic to yourself. I’ve had to defend myself for what I thought was a harmless laugh when I posted it online, and…it’s NOT FUN. So think twice about that one!
6. Other people’s kids
I love snapping photos and tagging other parents when my kids are on a playdate, but I think it’s super-considerate to text the parent to ask for permission first. Especially if that parent isn’t one to share a lot on Facebook. You never know the reasons, and you don’t want to cause harm by not asking permission first.