Every day that my four-year old son is at preschool I get sent a PDF summary of his class’s day.
The reason that they send a PDF is that it ‘protects’ the images of the kids in the class.
Every day, I take a screenshot of the pictures that he is in and save them to share with my family.
If someone is seeing pictures of your child then they can pretty much do what they want with them. There is absolutely no way to control what they do with them whether that is to keep them, PhotoShop them, share them or report them to Facebook for being offensive (seriously, who does that to their friends?!)
Recently there was the creepy trend of Instagrammers stealing baby images and pretending the photos were of their children and then iCloud got hacked and private images published.
Barely a week goes by without an article appearing for shaming parents for over-sharing on social media.
The truth is the only way to 100% protect your child’s digital footprint is to not have any digital photos of them at all.
This is an extreme solution and not something that many parents consider. I know I haven’t.
Parents want to record their children’s lives and share their precious moments with the people who will love them as much as they do but there are a few things parents should consider when they are sharing:
1) Do you really UNDERSTAND who is seeing your family moments?
Recently we ran a survey where 71% of parents said that they worry about sharing family moments on social media.
Most of the worry came from not feeling confident that they understood how settings worked. Are just your Facebook friends seeing your pictures or can their friends see them too? Have you turned off location data on Instagram or can people viewing your profile see where those photos were taken?
Make sure you fully understand any setting and controls before sharing.
2) Do you know who WANTS to see your family moments?
I’ve rolled my eyes at baby bores on Facebook but I’d hate for anyone to be thinking the same about my family so I don’t share photos of my kids very often.
I’ve got 200 friends on Facebook, which isn’t that much compared to the average of around 400, but over the years my circle has, without me really remembering how, grown from a tight-knit circle of friends to include ex-colleagues, extended family and old school friends. The kind of people I don’t want to offend by un-friending but I’m pretty sure they don’t want to share in the joy of my son’s first wee in the potty. On the other hand my Dad and sister in the UK, sent virtual high-fives when we reach that momentous milestone.
Before you hit ‘Share’ think about whether the people you are sharing with really want to see your pictures.
3) Do you TRUST the people you are sharing your family moments with?
This is the by far the most important consideration when sharing photos.
I know that everyone I share our most treasured memories with is someone that loves our family and has the common sense to keep them private.
My approach to the pre-school pictures is that every parent in that class is equally invested in protecting their child through protecting the class. I have no problem with other families seeing my son’s photo. We all share the same goal of keeping our children safe and (if they are anything like me) will most likely be scanning through the updates and ignoring photos of other children until they find the little face that belongs to them.
Only share details of your family life with the people who will treasure and protect them as much as you.
Author: Sarah-Jane Kurtini who is a founder of Tinybeans. Tinybeans is a secure network for parents to share their children’s lives with their loved ones who care.