Ooo, now this is an interesting topic to cover!
I’ve previously written about ‘sharenting‘ – the art of sharing way too many photos of your children online, and it seems that this particular trend is on the rise.
We’re all friends with them. The mum on Facebook who shares every milestone her child reaches. The proud dad posting pictures of their child’s first attempt at walking or their child’s first night without a nappy.
I think we’re all guilty of over-sharing at some point in our lives, whether that be online or in person. I know I certainly am, but why do we do it?
I recently read an article online in the Daily Mail called: ‘How will the children whose mums share every moment of their lives online feel when they grow up?’
Uh hum – not sure the title is very fair on us mums, as I’m pretty dads are just as guilty, but hey ho!
Anyway, the article is written by Libby Purves, who says: “She believes many ‘sharenters’ do it out of vanity, to brag about their offspring.”
Whilst I have to agree in part with this statement, I do wonder how our children will feel about their childhoods being so publicly shared online for everyone and anyone to see.
When I first started blogging, I didn’t think twice about posting pictures of my children on my blog and across my social media feeds.
Nowadays though, I’m a lot more careful. The pictures I post on my blog of my children rarely show their faces and I no longer share pictures of them on my blog social media pages.
I do, however, share pictures of my children on my personal Facebook page. Some days I’ll post a picture of them cuddling, or perhaps a picture of them with a certificate they’ve received in school.
Why do I post pictures of them online?
There are many different reasons. Yes, I’ll be honest, some of the pictures I post are to brag, and why not? As any proud parent will tell you, when their children does something amazing, we want to share it and let others know. I see nothing wrong with that.
Sometimes I’ll post a picture of my children on my personal Facebook page simply because I think they look adorable and I want to share their adorable cuteness with friends and family. However, I’m very careful about who I’m friends with on Facebook. You won’t see any old school friends that I haven’t seen since school on my friends list. I’m only friends with those I know in person, and some bloggers that I get on well with.
In addition to that my privacy settings are pretty high, so I feel pretty comfortable posting pictures of my children on my personal Facebook page, but there has to be a line somewhere. I don’t understand parents who post pictures online of their children wearing little or no clothes. I just don’t see the need to this, and it makes me worry about who can see those images, and what would happen if they got into the wrong hands.
In the article on the Daily Mail, it states:
In a recent Ofcom survey in Britain, almost half the parents surveyed said they put their children’s pictures online. Yet only half of these were able to claim that their children were entirely happy about it.
I have to be honest and admit that my children are five years old, soon to be six years old, and I don’t ask their permission to post their picture online. However, should they ever ask me to remove a picture when they’re older, I’ll do so without hesitation.
You see, back in the day when I was growing up, we used to have these wonderful things called photo albums. We’d spend hours putting photos into some kind of order and then another good hour or two, putting those photos into a photo album.
When friends and family visited, we’d happily get the photo albums out and share the pictures contained within them, but not once would I ask those in the pictures if they’d mind me showing other people the pictures. In some ways it’s the same thing as sharing pictures online, but obviously to a much smaller audience.
Whether you’re sharing pictures online or from a photo album, should you ask your children for permission?
I mean the obvious answer here would be yes, but it’s not simple. Young children simply can’t comprehend the seriousness of that question. I mean they can’t take into consideration all of the pros and cons simply because they’re not fully aware of the internet and how it works.
All we can ever do as parents is try our best to teach our children about online safety when the times comes that they’re old enough to use the internet.
Libby goes on to say that the thing she finds most disturbing is when money is made from these pictures. In particular “…videos on YouTube or ‘Mummy bloggers'” who she describes as; “women who chart their lives online, and are often paid by companies (or receive goods for free) if they write about or mention certain products, as they are thought to ‘influence’ the buying habits of those who read their websites. Of course, the clicks and ‘likes’ will only build up if there are aspirational or appealing photos — and when you’ve got a cute child, posting pictures of them is the logical next step.”
I can see where Libby is coming from, but I think you have to take into consideration that whether it’s a mummy blogger, daddy blogger, celebrity or politician, making money from photos of our children is nothing new.
You’ve been framed, the popular ITV programme, rewards people with money for sending in their funny videos. As I said, it’s nothing new, but yes, we should be careful about what content we post online, whether we’re bloggers or not, and we should definitely be more mindful about how our children will feel about the pictures we share of them online when they’re older.
What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts.