I recently used the “Ask me a question” tag on Instagram and the only question I got from 2 different people is “Why don't you show your son's face?” I will give my reasons in this post.

The short answer to it is; The Internet never forgets

But let’s go to the long answer:

As much as we absolutely love our children and want to show them to the world, we need to see them as individuals who although might be little right now, have a future.

There are 2 ways to look at it, Privacy & Security.

Let’s start with Privacy:

We were not born in the age where our parents could plaster our lives all over the internet for the world to see. Now, Imagine this. Someone just has to type your name in Google and your baby pictures, video of your birth, your childhood, the food you ate, didn’t like all over the internet. How does that make you feel?

I still struggle with “How much is too much?” especially when you do choose to blog about your motherhood experience and I will share more on that later. Let’s go back to this privacy thing.

A situation happened earlier in the year where a 9-year-old girl found her mums article about her online and saw all the images she had been posting of her since she was a child and expressly told her mum to please stop posting about her online. Her mum refused but she said they came to a middle ground (Read more about it here)

Was daughter making a fuss? Was the mother right?

As an individual based on your personality, your worldview and experiences you don’t mind sharing your life but can you say the same for your child? When this mother was sharing her child's life online, she did it based on herself and the child is now old enough as has decided that she doesn’t want it. How are you sure your child will want it?

Children don’t understand the internet, until we explain it to them and I believe until we do (giving them the benefits and consequences of it) they should then give their consent if they would want that for themselves or not.

It would interest you to know that even if you delete something, the internet never forgets. It only takes a determined person to find it.

Another example is of a mum who shared something about her son online, she has deleted the original post (on the surface internet) but a screenshot of it still exists with the picture of her son and unless the person who posted that screenshot deletes it (It will always be there on the underground internet though), it would be there for when her son grows older and googles her name. Find the article here

Our children are entitled to their privacy, just as we are entitled to ours and make a choice as to what we want to post, when we want to post and on what platform. We should give our children the same choice.  

On Security:

There are bad people in the world and around us and as much as we would like to “God forbid” everything, it is there. I was watching one Instagram celebrity on snapchat a while ago and while she was careful not to show the name of her sons school while showing herself dropping him off, I caught a glimpse of a friend of mine who was the boys teacher and by knowing the creche she was in, I could easily find out the school she took her children to. I am not a bad person and I don’t wish any negative thing happens to her but do we all vet everyone that views our children's pictures? Or videos online?

Another perfect example is a blogger online who wished her daughter happy birthday with pictures of her only for her to see her daughters image on a guys page calling her “boo” she tried to report the image, the account and Instagram didn’t take it down. Imagine her horror! She doesn’t know this person from anywhere!!!!!

Images from your account can be downloaded and used, It is just not safe! She has since removed all her family pictures online.

Another analogy I use is, you know how you feel like you know some celebrities because you see them often on screen? That’s what happens when people see your children that you share online, everyone will greet them like they know them and children don’t know who is ‘bad’ and ‘good’.

Many things can be deduced from a single image and from series of your images, 2 and 2 can be put together.

How can you protect your children online?

  1. Don’t call them by their real names online; not because you don’t want people to know their names but in future, if someone types your child's full name, it won’t bring out their life history.
  2. Don’t show their faces; Again even if by chance they find out the pseudo name you gave your child online, there won’t be a face to the name and anyone that is not close enough to you or doesn’t meet you in this life won’t know what your child looks like, most especially if you are in the public eyes - they can have a normal life.
  3. If you are not a blogger, any vital info of your child shouldn’t be out there; School, class, what they ate, where they play etc. This can be deduced by things like school drop-offs, uniform pictures, showing your trip to somewhere. Simple things like that.
  4. Ask your family not to post their pictures and if they HAVE to, have the control: Let them ask for permission, give them the picture you want to be out there IF they have to post it and tell them not to tag you! Think about it, no one will really go and be searching for grandmas name to find your child.
  5. Keep your account private: While this is not necessarily effective in my opinion but it is a level of care because there is an extra layer of security on your account but know that your pictures can still be downloaded.
  6. Just don’t post their pictures. Simple. I know, we all want to talk about our kids that’s why we have a family Whatsapp group. Lol. If it’s itching me too much, I post to my sisters to see the wonders their nephew is doing.

If you are a blogger this portion is for you;

I still struggle with “How much is too much” when I share but I have my goal in front of me, which is to encourage, inspire and build a community of stay-at-home & Homeschooling mums. I weigh the picture(faceless) or content in light of this goal and I ask myself, “will this picture just bring me likes and comments?” then I don’t share those that fall into that category.

How can a blogger know exactly what to post about their kids;

  1. Know the long term consequences of sharing online and decide which you can live with
  2. Be aware that your child can in the future tell you to stop posting about them, think about it and make a decision on what to post based on that.
  3. Know that in some cases, some information cannot leave the internet. So, be guided before you post.
  4. Be aware of all the risks and possible “weak points” you might have most especially if you have a larger audience and take extra caution.
  5. If you are working with brands, let them know the boundaries (upfront) when your children are involved and be willing to let go of any opportunity that doesn’t respect those.

I understand that this might sound “too serious” and you may be in the “It’s not that serious gang” (Just like me a few years ago) but we have to understand that we are indeed responsible for our kids and their well being and we would be the first to be hit hard when something we took lightly isn’t so light anymore.

P.S: If you are a blogger and you have a URL you want to ‘erase’ from Google, use this link. Thank me later.

What are your thoughts? Should it be this serious?