As parents, we are so proud of our kids and what they experience and accomplish! We’re the first to capture the moment and share it with friends and family. Something we have to be mindful of is protecting our children’s privacy and digital footprints. We can’t always control what is posted, but we can start the conversations with others. Here are some tips to get you started. – Jennifer Ehehalt, Pittsburgh Regional Manager at Common Sense Media. You can find her on Twitter @Jehehalt.Common Sense Media.
Sharing photos online has become such common practice that most people don’t think twice before posting pictures of their kids — and yours — on social media sites. Unless the photo violates the social media site’s terms of service, though, there’s not a lot you can do to get the photo taken down. You can’t, for example, call or email Facebook and request that the photo be deleted.
Every family has different rules about posting kids’ photos. Unfortunately, when people who see no issue with posting kids’ photos post your kid’s picture, it amounts to them making a decision to make your kid’s image public, which can be frustrating.
Don’t assume everyone feels the same way about social media — and don’t approach this situation as if your rules are better than theirs. Just be honest that it makes you uncomfortable. The bottom line is: If you don’t want pictures of your kids shared, it’s up to you to let people know.
It can be tough to manage this situation without alienating friends, relatives, and even teachers who see nothing wrong with the practice. Here are some ways to approach others who post pictures of your kids that go against your wishes:
- Simply, without judgment, ask the person who posted it to delete it, or crop it so your kid isn’t in the picture (easy to do with today’s image-editing tools). Say, “I’m not ready for this yet.”
- Ask the poster not to tag the photo with names — and definitely not location. That will limit exposure.
- Ask the poster what his or her privacy settings are. If their profile is private and not public, only their friends can view their images which limits the audience for your child’s photo.
- If you’re OK with a photo but only want certain people to see it, ask the poster to enable settings that limit who can see the photo to a small circle.
- Ask the poster to instead use a private photo-sharing site such as Picasaor Flickr that requires a log-in.
- If you meet with resistance, explain that you’re worried about your kid’s privacy. Once a photo is online, anyone can share it.