I once read an Instagram “how-to” article by someone I knew and I was so turned off by its passive aggressive judgementalness that I unfollowed that person. I mean, who are you to tell me what I can and can’t share pictures of? Then I realized that there are definitely and I mean definitely things I personally do not want to see in my picture feeds. Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder and not everyone is a professional photographer and we all come from different places with different preferences – I get that, like totally and that is exactly what makes social sharing awesome. I’m not talking about those kinds of pics, I’m talking about pics that take it too far. I’m talking about pictures that cross a privacy line.

Remember the days when you would go to coffee with a friend and you didn’t have a phone with you? You didn’t Instagram the hipster coffee shop windows, the beautiful froth latte art or take a selfie? Those phone free days are long gone and here and now are the days when we can share real-time updates all day, every day. We share our meals, our happiness, our trials and tribulations and every other explicit detail of our lives so much now that it has become almost second nature to us.

coffee by Cheryl Foong on Flickr
Photo Credit: Cheryl Foong in Flicker Commons

But what about our privacy? It's probably time we thought about what exactly we are sharing with the world. It's about time we think about how much we are letting people see. Especially when it comes to our children. Some things should probably just be left private. When this social media phenomenon first began we were all excited and abuzz about the ability to share pictures instantaneously that we've all done so – and done so with great gusto that we've become so accustomed to sharing absolutely everything about our lives publicly that we've crossed an invisible privacy line. And it’s probably time we scaled it back.

It’s too easy to be self-centered when sharing things on social media, after all we are sharing our point of view, our opinions, our adventures and our own personal story but what about when that point of view includes our children who aren’t given a choice?

Now that my oldest son is school aged I have started to think about his presence on social media a lot more. I have friends on my social media channels with kids that go to school with him. What if by chance their kids see a picture I posted of my son that wasn’t of him in the best light and they said something to him about it at school the next day? I would be mortified for him.

Keeping Kids Privacy Safe on Social Media

What I am aiming to do with this article is to raise awareness about the kind of pictures we share on our social media channels in regards to our privacy and the privacy of our children. I do not mean to judge or point fingers. Lord knows I’m an over-sharer of pictures of my kids. However here are a few instances of things that are probably best left unshared.

Sick Kids
I feel as though sharing a simple text status update with friends and family would be sufficient if you are in need of emotional support. When my kids are sick they are gremlin nightmares and I want to run away too but I’m not going to take a picture of their sad, mucousy face to prove how sick they are.

Hospital Pics
You’d think this would go without saying but you’d also be surprised how often I see pictures of people’s kids on gurneys and with IV’s. This one makes my heart break.

Naked or Nearly Naked (Past the age of about 2)
If someone posted a picture of me online in only my underwear I would die. So shouldn't we leave our children's dignity intact as well?

Potty Pics
If someone posted a picture of me on the toilet I would die. So why are there pictures of our kids on the toilet shared online?

Dentist & Doctor Visits
Once upon a time doctors and dentists could do their jobs without someone taking pictures of them doing their jobs.

Date Night Pictures
In my opinion, date nights are a time to spend quality time with each other – to talk without interruption and without technology.

The permanence of pictures shared online even if they're labeled as private is really something to consider before hitting the “share” button. It's so easy for anyone, anywhere to lift pictures online and perhaps use those pictures in an inappropriate manner. Just imagine that those adorable pictures of Johnny in the nude at 3 years old are saved and shared again when he's 16? He would probably hate you for the rest of your life for it.

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