Author: Rachel Doherty | Tweens 2 Teen.
Are parents oversharing when it comes to photos of their kids on social media? It’s time to weigh up the rights of parents and children when it comes to posting online.
This week the Australian Children’s eSafety Commisioner, Julie Inman-Grant, suggested parents should be wary of posting photos of their kids on social media.
In an interview with Amanda Third, an associate professor at the Institute for Culture and Society, they explored the idea of talking kids about sharing their photos.
There have been a lot of photos of children starting or returning to school in my news feeds lately. It’s natural that we mark the real beginning of the year as when our kids go back to school. But is there anything wrong with that?
The answer is both a yes and a no.
Why we should question posting photos of kids
We live in a fast-paced and globilised world, where extended families often rely on social media to keep in touch. It’s natural to mark milestones, like starting or finishing school, through a post on Facebook or Instagram.
There are lots of reasons why we should think before posting photos of our kids. We all know that once we press the “share” button, they’re no longer in our control. And that means they’re no longer in our kids’ control either.
But before we hit the panic button, we need to think about this sensibly. There is little risk of harm sharing a photo of your child on their first day of school. They’re more likely to get hurt on the trip to school. But what does it teach our kids about privacy and permission?
If we want our kids to be smart users of technology, the people they will learn the most from is their parents.
“Social media has given us this idea that we should all have a posse of friends when in reality, if we have one or two good friends, we are lucky.” – Brene Brown
A parent’s guide to the rules of social media
Instead of worrying who might see photos of our kids, and what they might do with it, it’s more important we teach them to be respectful. So here’s some basic rules when posting photos on social media:
- Ask, or at least talk about it. As kids get older, they should be able to opt out of photos, but at the same time, there might be times when they should be part of it. Think of it like that letter you had to write for your Grandma after Christmas. But let them create an image they feel comfortable with.
- Think about how you share it. Should you splash it on your Facebook feed, or could you send a private message instead? Or share it in a closed group? Take a close look at your motives.
- Think about how your images make them look. Our kids shouldn’t be the centre of a joke or complaint. Keep that stuff personal. The things you share should show their best image, not their worst. Don’t use their real names. Your closest friends and family know who your kids are. Give them a sudonym that hides their real name but makes it clear who you’re talking about.
- Listen when they ask you to stop. Your relationship is worth far more than sharing a photo. Don’t lose sight of that.
Social media is all about connecting. But many people see it as a way to present an image, either real or imagined. Our kids deserve to have their rights online protected by those closest to them: their parents. But we also have a right to live, and stay connected with friends and family.
So before you click “share”, step into your child’s shoes and listen to what they want. Think about it from their perspective. If an image shows them in a good light, then go for it.
Do you have some different rules? What’s your approach to sharing images of your kids online?