By: Tracie Knabe Snowder, KSL
When my first baby was born, I spent two months designing the perfect announcement in Photoshop. By the time my second baby came, I ordered announcements, but didn't stress when they never made it past the front door. I had already posted her birth picture and stats online, like so many of my friends. People knew the baby had come the day she was born.
That's usually how it works now. If you want a lot of people to know something quickly, the easiest way to get that information to them is through social media.
But there's a subject that is becoming increasingly common: should you keep pictures of your kids off Facebook and Instagram until they are old enough to have their own account? People are just starting to talk about the concept digital boundaries. Of course other parents ask permission to take your kids to the park or even give them a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But do they ask if it's OK to post photos of your kid online?
A recent survey
conducted by the Pew Research Center said that 57 percent of Facebook users with children under 18 strongly dislike people posting pictures of their kids without permission.
It can be a shock to get on Facebook and see pictures of your kids that you weren't expecting. Just a few weeks ago, I scrolled onto my news feed and found a picture of my daughter at Disneyland that a family member had posted. Even though I didn't mind, it was a little off-putting to find a picture of her that I didn't post.
Erika Elmuts from San Diego, Calif., told today.com
that she doesn't post any photos of her 8-year-old daughter and asks other people to comply with her wishes.
“I can't control the privacy settings that somebody else has on their Facebook page, and Facebook is always changing what those privacy settings are, so… you even can't keep up with it as a user,” Elmuts told today.com
“We are able to suggest that your friend tag you in a picture by scanning and comparing your friend's pictures to information we've put together from your profile pictures and the other photos in which you've been tagged,” the policy reads
That means with every photo upload, you are increasing the digital and permanent online world of the person in the photo. Some parents think it's risky to put pictures of their kids online. In a thread titled 'I hate facebook. Stop posting pics of my baby!'
on the mom-centered site, BabyCenter, a poster wrote about her frustration with other people posting pictures of her kids.
“I hate how anyone can just post pictures of you and your baby,” wrote one user
. “I never used to be like this but I've become increasingly private, especially about my kids.”
Amy Webb wrote a column
for Slate.com about her and her husband's decision to not post anything about their daughter and, like Elmuts, they don't allow anyone else to post photos of her either. Webb and her husband have created email and social media accounts for their daughter, in her name, and will give her the passwords when she's ready to have an online presence.
“She'll have the opportunity to start cashing in parts of her digital identity, and we'll ensure that she's making informed decisions about what's appropriate to reveal about herself, and to whom,” Webb wrote
. “It's inevitable that our daughter will become a public figure, because we're all public figures in this new digital age.”
But other parents don't see it as that big of a deal. Mom of three Tammy Eastlick said she likes seeing what her kids have been doing.
“I love it when people post pics of my kids. With the twins I don't always have time to take pictures or even get to go to (my older daughter)'s activities,” Eastlick said. “I try and be conscious of posting pics of others kids though.”
Another mom explained that she asked her friend to remove photos of her daughter her friend had uploaded to Facebook, even though it was a group activity that included the other mom's kids. Her friend removed the photos but didn't understand why.
To set up your own digital boundaries, make sure your friends and family know your policy for posting pictures of your own kids, especially if you're at an activity and people are taking pictures. If someone doesn't comply with your request to remove a picture of your child, you can contact Facebook
to have them remove a picture of a someone 13 years or younger. If the person unfriends you, Facebook has a separate form
to report content that you can't see.
Be aware of the privacy policies on the sites you use and make sure you are aware of your privacy settings. Another way to protect photos that you upload is to add a digital watermark with apps like Marksta ($2) or eZy Watermark Lite (free).
Elmuts said above all, respect the boundaries that other parents set.
"As parents, we should honor and respect what other parents want," she said.
Copyright 2013 Deseret Digital Media, Inc.