How We’ll Share Our Child on the Internet

I think we can all agree that it’s a little weird that we often watch strangers children grow up via the internet. I’m telling you, there are a few ladies out there who I’ve never met and I’m weirdly attached to their children. I saw pictures of them the day they were born and I’ve watched them grow right before my…screen. I’m invested in all of their little milestones and I’m shocked right along with their mamas when they head to pre-school (cue “they grow up too fast!”). It’s a beautiful and strange thing.

I’ve followed Moms with all different takes on what to share – from full disclosure of all the details along with tons of photos to using nicknames for their kiddohs or not sharing photos at all. There is certainly a range of what parents feel is okay to share.

Our children live in a different world than the one we grew up in. Someday it might be completely normal for their boss to look up their name via hashtag and find photos all the way back to birth. Our children will have the ability to know what they looked like nearly every day of their entire lives. I know I have at least one photo of Ben for every day since his birth. I can’t begin to fathom what will be their normal.

When I was pregnant, N and I talked extensively about how we wanted our children pictured and portrayed on the internet. I use Instagram primarily with strangers. Facebook primarily (though rarely) with family and old friends. Snapchat with current close friends. And this blog with whoever is reading (hi there!). My filters are different for each of these mediums. I use them with entirely different intentions. Truth be told, I’m much more self-conscious using the mediums with people I know in real life.

After much discussion, N and I came up with this question regarding how our children are portrayed on the internet:

If I was the person being discussed or pictured, would I be okay with it?

If the answer is no, we won’t be putting it out there.

If there was anything this cute of me on the internet, I’d be totally okay with it.

Since I do not talk about my own bathroom habits on the internet, I will not talk about my child’s. You will not find posts on potty training because it’s just not something I feel comfortable with. Because I wouldn’t want a photo of me all hooked up to monitors and machines, hospitalized and covered in cords, I did not share those photos of Ben. I wouldn’t want a naked photo of myself on the internet so you won’t find any naked baby photos here or anywhere.

The thing is, I appreciate when other Moms share their experiences. I’ve learned so much from other Moms. I’m not knocking sharing! But when I really think about how I’d feel if anyone could easily find out about that time I peed my pants (even if I was only 4 at the time), I’d be embarrassed. Maybe Ben wouldn’t be. Maybe he’ll be wild and carefree and maybe he’d think it was funny. But if he’s sweet and sensitive and one day in middle school someone finds something embarrassing about him on the internet, well I think the guilt would overwhelm me. And since I can’t currently ask him how he’d feel about it, we have to default to how we would feel. I guess there’s an upside to me embarrassing easily – I’ll always be a little more conservative about how I share him.

So yeah, that’s our general rule about what we put on the internet about our child. I hope it makes sense. It’s what we as a family feel comfortable with. Whatever you and your family decided you’re comfortable with, that’s a-okay too.

For now, I love talking about motherhood and my plan is to share motherhood and our experiences with Ben from my perspective (which I’ve done so far with our birth story, my post about NICU life, and the one about life with a preemie) with occasional (non-embarrassing) details thrown in.

What are your feelings or family rules about sharing on the internet? 

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  • Katie

    I love reading other moms perspective on this! This was a HUGE deal to me and my husband due to our techy jobs(we’re both engineers), and made the decision to not post anything online of our son or future children. That was a VERY tough pill for family members and close friends to swallow, but we instead use Tinybeans, which is an app that people get invited to(so mom and dad have full say who gets to watch milestones) and all images are forever owned by you (unlike facebook and instagram which own anything you post). Still as our son ages (he will be two in March) it has become more difficult to keep his sweet face offline, due to well meaning friends at playdates and even schools which post images of children(don’t get me started on how inappropriate I think that is). Another huge fear we had was grandparents/friends overposting. So by keeping it as an absolute, there’s no grey area for anyone. Being a parent is HARD and decisions are hard! I hope that my post didn’t come off as my way is the right way, I find it fascinating that parents make completely different choices everyday, and they are still great parents!

  • I really love your way of thinking on this. We’ve struggled a lot with this too and are doing about the same as you are.

  • Lindsay Ranahan

    It is so interesting to me how differently people approach this. I’m with you and love watching people’s kids grow up and it’s strange how you can feel like you know a stranger’s child just through their instagram or facebook posts! My husband isn’t on social media so I would be the only one probably sharing online, and I’m not entirely sure how we’re going to approach it yet. The one thing we do know is that there will be no naked pictures (ie in the bath), but other than that I’m just not sure! I like your idea though of taking it into your own perspective and asking if you would be embarrassed by it. I never thought to look at it that way!

  • I think this is a wonderful middle ground. I too have thought about how I would share any future children’s photos on the internet. I got really frightened when I watched a documentary on the dark web and how easy it was for awful people to take your photos and do whatever they wanted with them. I think for me I will be doing the same – Family & Friends will probably see more photos privately. On my public feeds/blog, just here and there and ‘regular’ photos, nothing nude or bathroom training etc Because if it was me, I’d feel embarrassed, especially if a school friend looked up my name in the future!

  • I think that is a great rule to follow. I guess I follow something similar. I generally only share positive and sweet stories. While both my girls are fairly happy and well behaved, they still have their tantrums and faults and they will not be openly shared on the internet. Another thing we currently do is I don’t openly share their last name… I have a different last name and up until recently my partner never used his last name on social media. I’m sure if someone was really interested in finding it they could, but nobody would be able to search their first name and last name and find anything I’d shared about them. I think something like this is always evolving… and heck, IG and Facebook could go the ways of Myspace and our kids could be using something completely different by the time they grow up.

  • Anna Whitmore

    I have been grappling with the same thing too. I share a lot about my baby but sometimes I get overwhelmed with the internet and I think I should just delete everything. It is such a crazy world we live in and it is really hard to make decisions about your baby. I think this is a great rule and maybe one I will start following myself.

  • Thanks for sharing. We have gone the more conservative route with Asa, choosing only to share photos of him on our private instagram for friends and family. Oddly, I’d be fine with most of my blog friends seeing photos of him, it’s the REAL strangers I worry about. Both of my cousins are in law enforcement and I’ve heard some horrifying stories of people taking photos of kids and using them for bad purposes. But I also, 100%, share your sentiments about what to share, even on our private IG, by considering how I might feel if that photo/information was out there about me. It’s so hard to know what our kids will, and will not, feel comfortable with and we’re all just doing our best to make the right decision for them! For what it’s worth, I’ve loved keeping up with Ben. HE IS ADORABLE.

  • OMG, I absolutely love this post! I actually wrote about my feelings about it and you and I agree on a lot. Feel free to read it when you get a chance 🙂

    Why Oversharing Your Babies on Social Media is an Issue

  • This is such an interesting post. I have never thought of it this way. And I wish that more parents did. You have so eloquently expressed words I’ve been trying to express when I get uncomfortable about what I see of posts of children on the internet. Thank you! You’re such a good mother.

  • I think this is an awesome frame of mind! Granted, I’m not a mom, so maybe I have no say in the matter. But from what I can tell I think this is a good rule to go by.

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