Why parents post photos, videos, comments and blogs about children
It’s common for parents to share images of and information about children online. For example, you might:
- share family holiday photos or videos on social media
- write a blog about parenting and raising children
- contribute to Facebook groups – for example, if your child belongs to a local sporting team
- contribute to advocacy or campaigning websites – for example, if your child has additional needs.
These can be nice ways to keep family and friends up to date with how your child and family are going. They can also be ways of contributing to your community or trying to make a difference for a cause that you and your family care about.
Posts, photos, videos, comments and blogs about children: things to consider
If you write about your child or post images of your child online, it means that you’re creating a digital footprint for them. If you do this a lot from when your child is young, it will be a big digital footprint by the time your child gets to the teenage years.
Your child’s digital footprint is part of their online reputation. What you post online about your child can never be fully erased from the internet. Your child’s online reputation is also part of their offline life, now and in the future.
That’s why it’s important to find out how your child feels about the photos and information you share about them. For example, your child might:
- think it’s cool
- prefer you not to post or write anything about them at all
- prefer that you ask them each time you want to post or blog images or comments that relate to them
- feel it’s OK for you to post to a closed group chat but not to your public Instagram feed or Facebook page.
It’s also important to think about how your child might feel about today’s posts in the future. Your child might be OK with funny or cute posts now but find them embarrassing as they get older.
Talking with your child about posting and blogging
To start with, it’s always a good idea to ask your child whether they’re OK with you posting a particular photo, video or comment. If your child isn’t OK with it, don’t post. Children as young as 3 can say whether they like a photo of themselves. If your child is too young to say what they like, it’s best either not to post or to limit what you post.
You might also be able to start a conversation about posting by showing your child some parenting blogs, Facebook pages or TikTok videos. You could ask your child what they think about the way the parents on these platforms communicate about their children online. This can help you get a sense of what your child feels more generally.
Even if your child is OK with you blogging or posting about them now, they might ask you to delete a photo or comment in the future. If this happens, it’s important to respect your child’s request. But remember that even when you delete photos, you can’t entirely remove them from the internet if other people have shared them.
By asking your child about their preferences and respecting those preferences, you’re modelling good digital etiquette for your child. This helps your child develop responsible digital citizenship too.
Balancing privacy and sharing in blogs and posts about children: tips
If your child is OK with you sharing some information or images of them, it’s still a good idea to look for a balance between protecting your child’s privacy and safety, and sharing your family life.
Here are tips:
- Avoid mentioning your child’s name on advocacy sites or other public sites.
- Avoid posting photos or personal information that could identify your child, like birthday greetings or pictures, address details or pictures of your child’s school.
- Avoid posting about things that your child could be sensitive about like personality traits, health or medical conditions or issues like wetting the bed.
- Be aware that the photos you post or share could be modified or re-used without your permission.
- Be aware that photos sent using email or message apps can be misused by other people.
- Create private ‘virtual family albums’ to share with close family and friends.
One of the most important things you can do is make sure that the images and information you post send a positive message about your child. For example, you might decide not to post a video of your child crying and choose something positive instead. But be aware that your idea of a positive image might be embarrassing for your child. For example, your child might not like a picture of them doing well at a swimming competition if they’d prefer not to be photographed in swimmers.