Social Media: Sharing Pictures of Kids that Are Not Yours

For the past month, I have been reevaluating my 8-month-old daughter’s digital footprint.

Saw that some family and friends had her pictures on Facebook. No biggie, let me see them...

Most of the pictures were of her as a newborn. Sleeping in her hospital blanket, small and vulnerable. Some were when she was just a few weeks old. This time in her baby wrap, gazing at the camera. All were super cute. 

Some of Lyra's pictures were set to public. PUBLIC. That means that anybody out there could view and download a picture of my child and do whatever they want with it. I asked that those pictures either be deleted or set to private.

After my request, feelings were bruised. Questions were raised. I was told I am going to extremes. I was called overly dramatic. 


Believe me, I get it. You love your baby, niece, nephew, cousin, granddaughter, goddaughter (not being sarcastic at all). You want to share their cute faces, their milestones, and their accomplishments.

But I want you to stop and think: 

a. Do you have the right to share pictures of them without THEIR consent (when children can’t speak for themselves)? 

b. Do you have the right to share pictures of them without consent from their PARENTS? 

The short answer is: no.

It is not your child. 


I belong to an incredible group of people: MOMS club. On many occasions, I took pictures of my kid and their kids and posted on social media: without asking them. Noone said anything. I assumed it was fine. 

I once shared pictures of Lyra with two other children on Facebook. They were kids of a good friend of mine. I did not ask her permission but simply assumed that it was just fine-we are friends, no? And the kids are cousins, surely it's fine?...

I then received a text message from her asking me to either remove the pictures or to crop her kids out of them. I deleted the pictures off Facebook right away.  

Her message to me was carefully crafted. She spoke about how she, as a mother, was worried that her kids’ faces are on Facebook, and how (here’s the kicker) she was concerned that by asking me to delete those photos I will get offended. She thoroughly described how she felt and expressed her worry about her request impacting our friendship. Needless to say, our friendship was not impacted.

In fact, I admired her request so much that I started evaluating my daughter’s presence on social media as well.

Why should we, as parents, go to such lengths to request our child’s pictures be removed from social media/set to private?

Why can’t we simply ask “please remove my child’s picture off Facebook” and leave it at that? Why is it not enough? Why should we craft a careful request and support it with rationale and empirical evidence, like some academic article? Why should we worry about how others will respond to our request?

If you shared pictures of kids that are not yours and were asked to either delete them or set them to private, here is the only appropriate response:

**No problem. Ok, done!** 

There should be no questioning, judging, or arguing with a parent over this. Why? It is not your child. 


It is important to have an understanding with parents of what you can and cannot share and whether those photos can be shared publicly (think featured photos, profile, or background pictures). If you are not sure, ask--most people will be fine with it. Some will not, and that is ok. 

Some readers will think this is a post from a psychotic, overprotective mother. Trust me, I am not. I have no problem spamming you with pictures of my daughter-in private. They will not, however, be set to public for the world to see. 

 

 

 

Social Media Detox- First Observations

Day 1 was hard. My detox started yesterday at 3pm, and by 3:30 I was roaming around the house looking for stuff to do. I felt restless and anxious. I felt like something -esential- was missing.

A feeling of forgetting your wallet somewhere and being annoyed about it.   

Started cleaning. I throughly cleaned the second floor of the house, vacuumed, mopped. Dusted. Did laundry. 

Tony and I found a movie. Throughout the movie I kept getting the *itch* - you know the one. The itch that makes you reach for your phone and check what friends or strangers are up to. Supress the *itch* without scratching. Continue with the movie. Repeat. 

Anxious in bed. I love to read before bed. But in reality, I don’t really *read* before bed. I check social media before bed. So bedtime is hard. Last night I actually had to do what I say I do: read. So I anxiously read. Feel the itch, again. Fireworks start...

My brain:

“I wonder what folks are up to tonight... It’s July 4th for chrissake!! Imagine all the cool stuff you’ll see, like, comment on! Fireworks! American flag sponge cake! Babies and cats dressed in red, white, and blue!! Just a peek. Thirty seconds on Instagram, what the harm?”

Regroup. Remind myself what I am doing and why.

“No. You promised yourself. One week. So, you’ll miss some updates, big deal. Keep reading.”

So I kept reading.  

I read, uninterrupted, for about 40 minutes. Made a good dent in my book. Felt proud. 

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Please note that although you are seeing this post on social media does not mean that I am using it. I am still doing the detox. This post is shared automatically via my blog settings. 

Social Media Detox

I am giving up social media for one week and documenting it on my blog.

Social media has been an essential part of my existence for many years. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms are firmly rooted in my psyche, and my smartphone often plays the role of my best friend.   

I spend way too much much scrolling through feeds, eternally curious about other people’s lives and constantly sharing information about my own life.

If I am to be completely honest with myself: why do I care? Why do I spend my precious (limited) time to see what other people do? Or, is scrolling through Facebook and liking other people’s posts- is that caring?

I could be doing other, more meaningful stuff. Like reading. Or gardening. Or sitting down and listening. Or being bored. Or just being. 

Here is the gist. 

 Starting tonight, 07/04 3pm through 07/11 3pm I will not use any social media sites. No Hootsuite, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. I will keep a diary with daily entries. I will then craft blog posts about my experiences and share them. Check back frequently! 

Note

While you will see my blog posts on social media as they are released, I will not be using ANY social media in the mean time. The setup of my blog and website allows me to share my reflections without going on any of the platforms. 

Wish me luck!