Stop Posting Embarrassing Pictures of Your Kids Online!

Rant 12

Stop posting embarrasing photos of your kids onlineI've spent many of my kids' growing-up years working online, with the last few positively engrossed in social media, even more than the typical parent.

And while I've posted a few potentially mortifying photos of my children in the past, for the most part, I'm extremely careful about what pictures of my kids I put online -- whether it's on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or another site.

If only other parents would do the same. Here's why it bothers me so much.

Don't get me wrong. I'm often quite tempted to upload a photo of my cute kids in the bathtub (no questionable parts showing) or, better, when they're throwing a fit. And really, what parent hasn't snapped humiliating-yet-adorable shots of their kids?

But it's a whole other ballgame when parents take those photos and post them online, whether it's on a blog or a social media site for all their Facebook friends and Twitter and Instagram followers to see.

True, the kids aren't on those sites just yet. Many of them are mere babies and toddlers, so the first instinct is to not worry so much about it. Who knows what's going to happen in the next few years, let alone 10 when they're teenagers and can actually get online themselves?

But what people don't realize is that those photos are now floating around the web for anyone to find and screenshot. And that doesn't just worry me from a weirdo-pervert-stalker standpoint, which I actually think is pretty rare. I worry more for these kids when they grow up and all these pictures of them crying or doing something they might consider embarrassing are "out there" -- and they have no control over where they wind up or who sees them. 

The instant nature of social media has certainly benefited many people, myself included; I make a living in large part thanks to that phenomenon.

But I'm concerned about the future, many years from now, when all our choices to post pictures for likes, shares, and retweets, not to mention the "viral potential," come back to bite us in the butt. 

So many parents are so focused on the here and now that we often forget to think about tomorrow. Oh sure. We plan for college. We teach our kids skills they'll need when they're adults. But maybe it's time we start thinking about how our actions online are going to affect our children down the road. Parenting isn't what it used to be. It's about time we caught up.

Do you post embarrassing photos of your kids online?


Image via emrank/Flickr

blogging, cameras, email, twitter, trends, social media, privacy, photos, instagram, internet, facebook


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nonmember avatar Kay

Oh yeah, the picture of my four year old making her "angry" face going on instagram is going to traumatize her when she's a teenager.

Seriously. Relax.

lalab... lalaboosh

I guess according to your standards I do, but I never foundbbath time pics embarrassing. I also don't think I've ever taken a picture of a tantrum. Lol. Why would you take pictures of that? Tantrums make much better stories, especially when you include pantomime.

Children, <3

nonmember avatar hc.conn

I don't understand why anyone would be embarrassed by something they did as a child. That makes no sense,you were a child, you had no impulse control, and you probably don't even remember doing it

nonmember avatar Brena

I have 1 embarassing picture of my son, and it's staying! It is my favorite picture ever. But I only post pics of my kid on my facebook which is set to private.

nonmember avatar Brodi

Before my daughter was born, my husband and I made the choice to not allow any pics of her on social media. Yes, we have been criticized a lot for it (especially by his family), but we have also gotten high praise for it too. I don't feel the need to justify any decision I make as a parent and we still think it is one of the best decisions we have made. I get a kick out of people thinking their photos will only be seen by a select few people when posted to any social media or that a photo is gone just because you pressed "delete."

nonmember avatar Adrien

They can only screenshot it if they can see it. I have all my privacy settings on the strictest setting. No one can see anything I don't want them too. I have a very limited friend list. I do not "friend" people I barely know or do not trust just so I can count higher numbers on my page. And you know what? A picture of my grumpy kid is not going to harm his future if it does get out.

the4m... the4mutts

Oh boo-friggin-hoo! Mommy posted a picture of my dirty face/me screaming/in the bathtub 20YEARS AGO! I THINK I'LL JUST GO CRY AND CUT MYSELF NOW!

Dont be ridiculous.

nonmember avatar Rachel

All the people defending these pics are likely the same ones who need the constant stream of attention. "Only 72 likes? What is WRONG with everyone today!"
It's the same with posting pics of vacation, or dinner, or the blurry footage you took of the concert for which you paid $80 for the seat and watched through your phone's 3-inch screen.
I applaud the parent who commented here that they've chosen to keep pics offline. Good for you! And from someone in a job field that requires absolute discretion, I thank you on behalf of your children, too. It's true that we don't need to be embarrassed about being young and making mistakes -- but nor do we need an indelible record of it floating in the ether for all to see.

Alexa... AlexandraKJGWZ

I post funny "embarrassing" pics of my kids all the time. My family enjoys them. I actually have a teenager on the web now who looks back on some older pics of herself - she laughs and shares them with her friends. I always tell my kids "Hey, I'm posting this on facebook!". The younger ones don't understand, but if my older ones object than I don't do it.

Elan Morgan

I'm actually surprised at how many people here disagree with this article.

Not extending the same respect to your kids that you would demand from other people posting pictures of you seems like a strange practice to defend.

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