Love it or hate it, the fact is that Facebook is a part of our modern day lifestyle, especially with the easy access that we can obtain to the internet through our smart phones. On occasion, I will have to admit that I have made mistakes by posting an angry comment or posting embarrassing photos of myself. As an adult I make mistakes, learn from them and move on.
When I sign up for a social media account like Facebook I am deliberately agreeing to allow social media to use my personal data to some degree. But what about my child? Should I expose my beautiful angel to social media?
As most new proud parents, after the birth of my daughter I wanted to show her off to the world, especially to my family and friends who don’t live nearby and who live overseas. Everyone loves pictures of newborns, right? But now that my angel has grown older, was it too much too fast? Is it ethical to publish a picture of someone who is unable to give their consent?
I have my privacy settings on Facebook set so that my friends are the only ones allowed access to my photos. But I constantly think of the “what if” scenarios. For example, what if my pictures are shared by my friends and then their friends continue to share them again and so on. Then I don’t know who exactly is looking at my pictures anymore. The worst “what if” scenario that I am terrified of is the pictures ending up in the wrong hands, for instance a pornographer. For me, the real problem comes when once I have posted a picture on the Internet then there is no way of getting it back.
It is true that on occasion some corrupt events can happen when sharing photos online, but for me the trick is to be smart when doing so.
Here are some steps that I have taken to ensure that when and if I do continue to share my child milestones on social media that the pictures do not fall into the wrong set of hands:
1. Lower the resolution on your pictures. By doing this is makes it harder to print and enlarge pictures.
2. Turn off the GPS services when posting pictures from your phone. This allows for more discretion of where you are at the moment of the picture is taken.
3. Avoid taking photos with local landmarks; don’t upload pictures of your child with markers in the background that can indicate where the photo was taken.
4. Most importantly customize your privacy settings. For example my photo albums that include pictures of my child I have customized the privacy settings to only allow access to certain family members whom I have picked to view them.
5. Filter what pictures you post: Babies do adorable things all day long, but please do not post pictures of your baby naked. Use common sense. I see these cute pictures that resemble Anne Geddes photographs (my favorite); the naked ones should only be shared with family members.
When used properly, I believe that social media can be a useful device. I believe that when social media like Facebook is used in a positive approach it can be a way to allow family and friends that are close to you but live far away watch your child grow. Who doesn’t like positive comments, like “such a happy baby” on their pictures? It’s a sense of pride and an encouragement boost. Social media is also a nice way to provide a structural support group that parents are in need of. Parenting is a tough job, we need all the support that we can get.
As my child continues to grow I am going to carry and share her milestones online, but I am going to do so with more discretion, thinking twice before posting that adorable picture.