When I began blogging almost 4 years ago, I made the decision to rarely, if ever, post my kids’ faces on the internet. Even if I miss out on a specific job with a client.
But let’s back up- this practice didn’t just start when I became a blogger.
Long before I started blogging I have loved Facebook. It’s my social media platform of choice as a way to connect with friends and family, and to make new friends.
When my kids were born, however, I didn’t post their birthdates of names on my private personal Facebook profile. I didn’t feel comfortable having that information out in the world.
It was funny though when I would talk to people in real life, and they would say: “I can’t’ remember your daughter’s name.” I would smile and say- “you probably never knew it because I’ve never posted it online.”
Part of it is my own need for personal privacy, part of it is because I really want to protect my kids’ identities. Here are the reasons I don’t post my kids’ faces online.
Related article: Protect Your Child’s Online Privacy
Facial Recognition Technology
The internet is in a very different place than it was even 5 years ago. Now, most social platforms and smartphones can scan a person’s face and match it to their name, social profiles, and more.
This makes me uncomfortable on my own behalf. I recently attended a media luncheon and was part of a group photo.
Less than 24 hours later, another attendee of the media event posted the photo on her professional Facebook page. Within minutes, Facebook notified me that my image had been used and asked if I wanted to tag myself in the photo.
Big Brother-esque to me. And I don’t like it.
But I, at the age of 25, made the decision to allow my image to be on the Internet by posting it, and I have to navigate and evaluate the consequences of that decision every day.
There is no way my kids can understand this type of technology or the lifetime repercussions of it.
So if I ask them if it’s ok to post their faces on the Internet, chances are, they will say it is absolutely fine. But they have literally no idea what that means for them long term. They can only see how cool it seems to see themselves on mami’s phone.
So I have made the decision for them- no photos of them on the Internet until they can make a rational choice whether or not it’s a place they want to be. (Have you seen this article about the angry teen who is refusing to post for him mom blogger’s photos anymore? Pretty intense.)
And I’m not alone- there are many celebrities who don’t share their children’s photos online. Dax Shepard and Kirsten Bell come to mind most readily. Here’s a fun list of other celebrities who protect their children’s faces.
I Get To Decide- Except I Don’t.
A few years ago I had a phenomenal photoshoot done by a local photographer. The photos of my girls were incredible- he captured the innocence and joy our family feels when we are together.
He edited the photos and shared them with me- and then posted closeups of my daughter’s faces to his pubic Instagram account and tagged my professional Instagram account.
When I went to check out his followers, he had a ton of XXX people from other countries following him- he had bought followers to inflate his Instagram presence (a common practice, even among conservative mommy bloggers.)
I was livid- my daughter’s image was viewable, traceable to me, to people I would never even let her be in a room with. When I asked the photographer to take the photo down, he was angry.
He told me that his photos are his property and that he can post them where he wants. (He’s right- a photographer owns all their own photos regardless of subject, so make sure to vet your family photographer and make it clear if you do not want photos of your family shared anywhere.)
He then went on to say that I was posting pictures of my kids online (there were three photos in my Instagram feed at that time) and so I was being a hypocrite by telling him he couldn’t post photos of my kids when I was also doing it.
Now- this is an extreme example, but it is also one that highlights that once I post images of my kids online, I have zero control over them.
Brands have often used my content and distributed it to a larger audience without my permission- which is illegal. But once it’s out there, it’s impossible to erase.
I see it as my job to protect my children until they are old enough to make sound decisions about their wellbeing on their own. And that includes their digital footprint.
Trust me- it would be way easier to run my business with my kids’ faces on my social media, and I’d probably make more money. But I’m a mom first- and I have found creative ways to share great content without using my children’s images.
So- where do you stand on this issue? How do you make the decision to share your child’s images online? Have you ever had problems?
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