Oversharing? Is it time to stop posting so many personal photos of our children on sites such as Facebook and Instagram?
Posting photos of our children on social media has become incredibly fashionable. Indeed I follow many very public profiles on Instagram where the focus is the children. And the information given by the parents in such posts is much much more than any journalist would put in any news story or feature.
Which made me think, after reporting on Courtney Stewart whose life was turned down when she posted a picture on Facebook, is sharing such family photos publicly such a good idea?
For Courtney is far from the only mum to innocently post a picture onto a social media website – only to find herself the centre of a controversy.
Gemma Colley also found herself trolled when she posted a photo of her baby online with an orange face – she had breastfed him after applying fake tan and it had rubbed off.
And then there was Courtney Adamo who uploaded a photo of daughter Marlow to Instagram showing her tummy button – only to have Instagram remove her whole account after a complaint that it was indecent.
All these mums have one thing in common – they never thought photos of their children were anything but innocent and all of them were shocked when their photos caused such a reaction.
So should parents post photos of their children at all online?
Firstly there are obvious problems – once you post a photo online on social media it is there for public use. There is nothing to stop photos being taken off your social media site and used by a paedophile or shared on websites you would not like those photos to be on.
Then one of the issues is that children can’t give consent to their photos being put online – and there is a danger that when they get older, they won’t be happy their childhood was shared so publicly.
Undoubtedly in a few years time someone will come to me to sell a story about how their parent ruined their life by oversharing details and photos of their childhood.
Children, especially as they grow older, can also be very embarrassed by a parent’s constant posts – don’t forget they will be online even in years to come when your child is trying to get a job. Unfortunately the world is full of people who harbour prejudices. If your child looks too privileged for example, it is possible it could go against them when as an adult they go for job interviews. Surely someone who had a less fortunate upbringing could do with the money…?
There is also the danger of one child accusing you of favouritism if it appears their sibling was more photographed or posted on than they were.
But most dangerous of all is that continually proudly posting photos of your perfect life can make someone very jealous. It isn’t just nasty comments that can be upsetting – someone might become envious enough to report you to the police or social services. While those organisations are likely to quickly realise you are fine as a parent, if they receive a complaint they still have to investigate.
But then there are reasons why parents do share photos of their family.
For a start they are proud of their kids and there is nothing wrong with that. Posting your photos on social media can be a great way for friends and family to view them – and also a good way to keep all your photos in one place for easy reference.
Showing off your children can help promote a business. While Courtney Stewart deleted her Facebook account, vowing never to post another picture of her children online again, Courtney Adamo turned it into a positive. With the publicity came lots more followers to her account, which boosted her online business promoting children’s shops.
Your children can wear clothes you help to sell, or enhance your image as a mum, which in turn can help promote your company or brand.
It helps too if you are the sort of parent who does not rise to people making nasty comments online (unavoidable) and has a very thick skin.
It also helps if you do not post anything controversial. The problem here is that neither of these mums felt they were posting anything anyone would comment on!
Have you been victim to trolls or upset after posting something on a social media website? If you want to sell your story or put the record straight use the form to the right of this page to get free confidential advice >>>