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To post or not to post: Baby pictures & social media (much ado or nothing?)

Posted by cj.32 | Apr 09 2014 | 21 comments | 0 likes

All of the women in my family have baby fever. It’s a fact.

They may not admit it – most of them have had children of their own (who are grown now) and those with little ones aren’t planning to have more – but I can tell. It’s easy to diagnose: just bring anything under the age of 3 around them and they lose it. The giggles, the laughs, the smiles, the barely audible words (I’m talking about my mother and aunts, not the baby). I love the little ones too, but my reaction is different – it’s not that of someone who has experienced the mom side of mother and child.

Because I know their “secret” and how rarely they get to see the little ones in our geographically spread out family, I try to make it easy on them by occasionally showing pictures of their nephews that have been posted to Facebook. I did this for my mom the other day and got both an expected and a surprising reaction.

At first, she smiled and talked about how big they’ve gotten or whatever cute mischief they were getting into from the pictures. But then, to my surprise, she started asking who could see these pictures. I told her it was on Facebook and, as far as I could tell from the comments, the pictures were made public. She immediately got a protective look on her face and said, “Wait, anyone can see these? I don’t get why you would post something like this online…”

Well, in my opinion, the short answer is “so people like you can see what they’re up to and watch them grow”, but that doesn’t answer the question behind the question: should we be more concerned about privacy when posting pictures of our children online?

To be fair, there are some valid concerns to posting pictures of small children online (from the possibly dangerous to the less concerning):

• Unwanted lurkers/people who we don’t know – pictures posted online can find their way into hands of people we’ve never suspected. Do you really want those people having images of your kids as they grow or with identifying markers (schools, playgrounds, etc.) in the background?

• Pictures last forever on the internet – Think about it, search for any embarrassing photo of a celebrity from years ago and you can find it. Chances are, you can also find many unauthorized pictures of yourself if you search correctly…

• How would you feel if people posted pictures of you without consent - I know many people (myself included) who won’t allow pictures to be posted of themselves to their social media pages without approval. Many sites have privacy controls just for this type of thing because you may not want people to see those pictures. Do kids have rights here? I know that parents are the legal custodian for their child, but should pictures be posted that one day that child will wish were never shared?

• Do people really want to know every little thing that Suzy and Johnny are doing – I personally think most pictures of kids are cute, but I’m certain I don’t find them as cute as the child’s parents. We all know friends who can’t get enough of their little ones and take us along for the ride…If you’re going to post pics of your kid(s), is there a limit?

I’ve asked the 30-somethings in my group and it seems that we have a very different attitude toward privacy than our parents. Most of my friends think posting pictures of your child is okay provided everyone follows “the code”: 1) You post or approve of any pictures posted of your kids 2) No emailing pictures of someone else’s kids and 3) Posting to youtube or Instagram (publicly shared social media sites) is fair game for broad sharing. But my aunts and uncles still think that, for lack of a better phrase, some things are just meant to be private – and that includes little ones who depend on us to manage their social media presence…at least until they hit those awful tween years!

What do you think? Are our generations parents right – should kids pictures be off limits for social media sharing? What about “the code” – do you agree or are there other rules that need to be followed if/when posting pictures of children to social media?


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  • Hip blue I believe it is fine if the friends and family live afar.

    November 19, 2014, 04:50 pm | 0 likes
  • Jcjc11 i love sharing pics of my kids with close friends and family. sometimes it is the only way to see them. I post to private albums, only friends are allowed to see them.

    November 14, 2014, 09:15 pm | 0 likes
  • Jcwittig I think you have to have balance between privacy and sharing with family. You can do that easily by creating a group that you control who can join and only they can see they pic you post. It's great to see your friends and family's kids grow when they are so far away but you have to keep them safe as well.

    September 15, 2014, 03:53 pm | 0 likes
  • Lisafer i think all photos are fine for personal photo albums. why would you want a naked picture of your baby across the internet...

    September 15, 2014, 01:35 pm | 0 likes
  • Evelynchuter I think it's just fine. I love to show off my children and grandchildren. My daughter just had a baby boy 2 weeks ago. She loves for me to show him off, since I have lots of family that live out of state.

    September 14, 2014, 01:13 am | 0 likes
  • Tisme143 I think its ok if you know the lpeople or sometimes I enter contest but not alloweing everyone to share

    September 11, 2014, 03:28 pm | 0 likes
  • Tmahlstadt I think that with the dwindling privacy policies of various social media sites, it's a big concern to post pictures of people who cannot make that decision for themselves. That being said, I think that, depending on the privacy policy of your email provider, it is ok to email pictures to specific people who are aware that you don't want them shared. Or, if you really want, just get pictures printed and send them via USPS; there is something to be said for the tangible nature of an actual photograph in your hand, it carries more meaning than someone simply posting to a social media site or shooting you an email. Sorry for the rant, but those are my thoughts on the subject.

    September 10, 2014, 11:31 am | 0 likes
  • Angel92591 I post pictures of my sons on Facebook but have the privacy setting so only friends can see

    September 09, 2014, 07:29 am | 0 likes
  • Shellyxbby I love posting pictures of me and my daughter. But when she gets older and a picture is embarrassing or she doesnt like it, then I would respect that and not post it.

    September 08, 2014, 06:43 pm | 0 likes
  • Stephaniealice I love sharing pictures of my daughter on FB through Instagram :)

    September 08, 2014, 11:11 am | 0 likes
  • Moonflowerjrd I think for my child when the time is right to start using social media sites that things will be locked down as much as possible. I would have many rules when and where my child can use any device that allows her to get online.

    September 08, 2014, 12:28 am | 0 likes
  • Janie422 I got great info from these post. Thanks

    September 07, 2014, 01:24 pm | 0 likes
  • Janie422 I got great info from these post. Thanks

    September 07, 2014, 01:20 pm | 0 likes
  • Kelo23 I also worry about privacy. I have read that a lot of social media "owns" the photos that are posted. Not that they would use the photos for anything...they could and that is enough for me to not do much posting. Occasional a photo here and there, but not many.

    September 04, 2014, 10:46 am | 0 likes
  • Tdp102 Hmm, when I think of all the times a photo of someone I don't know has shown up on my newfeed on Facebook (Telling me a friend has liked this post), I get why you might be concerned. Still, it's the world we live in. I guess we have to learn a new way of dealing with these things.

    September 02, 2014, 08:34 pm | 0 likes
  • Amberlavine I have all my personal social media locked up tighter than fort knox! For the very reason of i do not want people I do not know being able to gain access to them.

    September 02, 2014, 08:15 pm | 0 likes
  • Jeepers133 I post pictures of my children on facebook for my family and friends to see. I keep the kids picture private.

    September 02, 2014, 01:01 pm | 0 likes
  • Bigred7 Definately keep kids picture/bios off any internet sites

    September 02, 2014, 06:43 am | 0 likes
  • Tfaulk I have my profiles locked down tight and post pix of my daughter all the time. I think its dine as long as its private and the people on your page are friends/family only. I definitely think children need to be fully dressed in photos, nothing worse than naked baby pix floating around the web.

    September 02, 2014, 12:55 am | 0 likes
  • Starshine3883 I have my profile on facebook set to private, that way I can monitor who can and cannot see any pictures I post of my child. I also have it set where if someone else posts pictures of my child and tags me those pictures are also private and unable to be seen by the general public.

    September 02, 2014, 12:14 am | 0 likes
  • Janlee I would not post the pictures to be public as there are too many perverted people out there who like to collect kid pictures for lewd purposes. There's also the argument that it provides kidnappers access to kids names, identities, etc.

    September 01, 2014, 11:23 pm | 0 likes