Who knew that as adults we would spend a good amount of our time thinking about whether or not to post about our kids on social media. But here we are mama, worrying about some pretty complicated stuff. The question is, to post or not to post?
Children on social media is a big can of worms. And I’ll be the first to admit it: my family comes at this topic from a more old school approach. In our oversharing world, parents often make their child their most shared topic. To us, that’s not always a good thing.
When we decided not to show our son on social media, we were the only ones of our immediate friend group to do so. It felt right to us for a number of reasons but it hasn’t been easy. Choosing to not allow your kid’s face on social media is a commitment in and of itself.
Our household rule is that we don’t share posts of pictures of our children where there face is visible. And we ask that our friends and family don’t share those photos as well. We’ve decided to do this for a couple of reasons. The biggest one is that we want our son to have his privacy.
When you publish on various social media platforms, it’s a good idea to double-check the rights you are granting to the platform and your privacy settings. If the terms change on the platform, they should alert you as well. For privacy settings on Facebook in particular, new posts will default to the privacy settings of the prior post. If that photo of your kid in the bath all of a sudden was publicly visible, how would you feel about the decision to post?
But honestly, most of our reasoning is that some of the content could ultimately be embarrassing for your child once they are older. It’s inevitable. A lot of milestones —baths, potty training, etc—might be moments your child will feel uncomfortable with in the future, even if it’s viewed only by your closest friend circles.
Choosing to share on your kid’s behalf doesn’t let them tell their own story. That means that in those early years, you’re their only outlet to the outside world. That’s all well and good, until they’re old enough to develop opinions. That’s when they might have wanted the license to make their own mistakes and identities online.
Keeping your social media childless also helps with that post-child identity crisis. In a new world where so much of who you are feels like it’s wrapped up in your role of parent, it gives you a chance to be more selfish with your social media and talk more about the other aspects of what makes you you.
Of course, the no posting rule can get tricky. What will happen with the photos taken at daycare? And what about at a family gathering? Or at birthday parties with friends?
The fact of the matter is that if you take this approach, get used to communicating the needs of your family to the outside world. Be prepared to experience a bit of confusion or pushback.
All this social media consciousness may seem like a lot of hassle with a lot of negatives but there are some surprising upsides. Our family holiday cards have never been so popular. Instead of blasting the photos to my broader “friend” set (some of which I haven’t directly talked to in years), I take time to text photos to friends one-on-one. If I don’t text them first, they often reach out wanting to see what the kiddos are up to these days. I’ve become terrible about texting so I love these prompts to start up a much-needed dialogue.
And don’t worry mama, these rules don’t have to be hard and fast. Once your child is old enough to have a conversion about photos, you can always revisit your approach. However, you can never fully undo all the years of sharing prior to that point!
Good luck out there and, in the meantime, happy posting!