How will the children whose mums share every moment of their lives online feel when they grow up?

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. 



26 thoughts on “How will the children whose mums share every moment of their lives online feel when they grow up?

  1. I think this youngest generation will be so aware of being online for everything that they won’t even bat an eyelash that their parents posted photos of them. I do agree about photos with kids in a state of undress, I worry about perverts using the photos for their own pleasure. #ThatFridayLinky

  2. I agree with Heather. the younger generation spend so much time online and are already uploading so much themselves with the next generation coming through they may not even notice what their parents have done, it may just become the norm. #ThatFridayLinky

  3. It’s a tricky subject. I tend to err on the side of caution, no identifying photos of my daughter on the blog or on social media. That being said, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest when other people do. Most of what parents share is pretty harmless (some may even say boring!). #ThatFridayLinky

  4. This is such an important topic. When I started blogging my husband had one rule for me – don’t put pictures of our girls’ faces on the blog! When I asked him why, he said because it wasn’t their choice, and we need to respect that. If I want to write about them then it needs to be in such as way that I respect their privacy. Also because thinking about their future, we don’t know where they will end up one day and they won’t want future employers being able to read about their whole lives via my blog. I completely respected this, and I still don’t share their names, or pictures of their faces on my blog. I do share pictures of them on my personal facebook, but again, it’s quite limited and my privacy settings are very high too.
    Great topic.

  5. My eldest is nearly ten and if she no longer wants to be on my blog or social media then I’ll respect that. She jumps at the chance to review toys and things for the blog so certainly no exploitation!! Theres definitely a balance though I agree to some extent. A good subject for debate!! Thanks for hosting #thatfridaylinky

  6. I do share pictures of my girls but they always get asked if they want me to share it first. I share a lot on my facebook but most of it has high privacy settings. In all honesty Eva wishes I would share a lot more but I want to keep some kind of balance and set this blog up to be about everything, not just the girls! Definitely, interesting reading other’s thought’s too. #thatfridaylinky

  7. I agree with others here that they will be used to have photos online and out there, but I guess it comes down to their consent. We have the ability to untagged ourselves from photos we may not like, but will they? Tricky subject but you’re the best to deal with it for your family #thatfridaylinky

  8. I don’t post identifying photos of my kids online, only if we’ve been on holiday or to a wedding. And that’s only because family who live far away have asked to see all the photos! I don’t begrudge people who do put photos of their kids online. I don’t, I don’t think there’s any specific reason. But then I don’t even like putting photos of myself online! #thefridaylinky

  9. As a parent of a 12 and almost 15 year old, I am rarely permitted to share photos of them. They on the other hand post selfies constantly on Snapchat and Instagram. I don’t have an issue with that, we regularly talk about online safety and my eldest has already proven she knows what to do if something goes wrong. I think given the age our children are growing up in, they won’t thing anything of it, but I suppose it’s wait and see #ThatFridayLinky xx

  10. This thing is we apply thought to this based on us ourselves not growing up in a digital age with social media. Most, if not all, children are growing up fully aware of social media and the sharing of photos and statuses. My 9 year old usually asks when I’ve taken a photo if I’m putting it on Facebook or Instagram – despite 90% of the photos I take never getting shred this way. But they are aware. This may mean they grow into a world expecting their childhood to already be on social media when they reach an age where they join that world. We recently had it with our teenagers, who have actually gone through our back catalogue of photos on there and tagged themselves into them!

  11. Again, I share the occasional picture of the kids on Facebook, to friends, but now, on my blog, I just use initials for both of them, and the only pictures I have used you could not identify them. #ThatFridayLinky

  12. I think we can get too paranoid about this, as we can with all new technology. People used to think the printing press would be the end of civilisation! That said, when I post pictures of my kids online it’s mostly the baby, I post fewer and fewer of my now 8 year old and I do ask her first. She doesn’t really understand all the implications yet but I want to start that conversation so she’s happy to say no later if she wants to. I also never use her real name or tag her in photos. The photo on my blog that got the most dubious response was one of my Mum! Perhaps we should be thinking about keeping grannies safe online.

    1. I agree that seniors should be grouped in with the vulnerable! I’ve seen pictures of an elderly man with a young care aid online and it really disturbed me. There is much love in that relationship (I know them personally), but I still didn’t like that it was online without him knowing the implications, nor that it was even there.

  13. I can completely get this! I used to post multiple pictures on social media of my little one when he was first born – think it lasted up to a year old. I have stopped sharing so much but I think I did it back them because he was so damn cute and everything he did made me smile, so I wanted to share it. Having family all across the UK/World, I wanted to also share every little moment/milestone with them.

    But I’m definitely more aware of it on my blog now though, he appears often but not every post. If he wants to be removed when older, I’ll respect it.

  14. I wrote a piece on this before too. It’s a really interesting topic.

    My little man is 7 and gets power of Veto over everything. I stick by ’my rules’with the Boo, whos only 2.

    No bath shots online. That’s my cut off point.

  15. I have posted some pics of my kids on my blog, and without asking their permission. But I do make sure that you can’t see any logos on school uniform, and that there’s no nudity. Before my blog, I never took any photos. We still have not one picture of our family on the wall – it’s like we’re on the Witness Protection Programme. So, I hope when they grow up that my kids will be pleased to have some proof that they ever existed. Without a few pics on my blog, they might really query where they came from!

  16. I completely agree with you and loved your comparison from not thinking twice about a photo being passed around so why is it different online? I know I’ve had chats with Hubby about when Ben gets older and protecting his identity etc. and like you, if he doesn’t want to be involved then so be it! #thatfridaylinky

  17. Difficult subject this… I agree with pretty much everything you’ve written here, great post!
    I’m very careful about sharing photos that show Penguin’s face. Mostly due to him not being able to give me his ‘permission’ to do so (he’s non-verbal and has developmental delays along with his autism). I like to compare public online sharing to leaving a pile of photos of your children on a park bench or at the local supermarket. Surely most people would feel a bit uncomfortable about that..?
    That said, there are many bloggers who freely post pictures showing their childrens faces and I don’t wish to judge them in anyway for that. They do it as a natural part of sharing their lives, and I enjoy following their blogs, so I’m certainly not in a position to preach on this. So… as I said, tricky subject, isn’t it?

  18. Yeah I do this too… I like that my family can stay in touch as they are ALL over the world. The rest is just because I think she’s super cute! hahaha

  19. Honestly? My husband and I are pretty private people. We saved the news of our first pregnancy until 17 weeks (wanted to wait longer, but circumstance dictated otherwise). An hour before we told my in-laws, we deleted our joint facebook account. We didn’t want to share it on FB, we didn’t want to have people we barely know congratulating us. We wanted our baby to be a special piece of information, shared by those closest to us. NOT every Tom, Dick + Harry we came across in our lives.
    2.5 years later and we haven’t looked back. While we do miss learning about certain “gossip” the more important things are made known to us by those who care to tell us.
    That being said – I do have a twitter account that I started when it was just new. “Before it was cool”. I LOVE twitter. Paired with Pinterest, it’s my main social force for my blog. However, I have never once posted a picture of my kids. Our family and friends know this is very important to us and respect that wish. In the beginning there were a couple slips and those people were contacted and asked to please remove the pictures. No further questions. (this was also the case with our wedding)
    So why don’t we share our kids with the ENTIRE world? Even though we have family over seas?? We just don’t feel comfortable with it. I don’t give a damn what the privacy settings are. Once something is on the we it’s there for good. ANYONE can get a hold of that information. Hell, we don’t even put pictures of ourselves on the internet very often! (this is a tough one since I’m trying to make my name as a blogger!)
    Anyway, rant over. Great post. Love to read about other people’s thoughts. Thanks for sharing

  20. I try to be cognizant of this and always asked the teenager before I wrote or posted anything about her, but I think that this is the world that they are growing up in and to these kids it won’t really be anything that they think is strange the way that we might. I think that common sense can go a long way in determining what is appropriate or not. Its something that as bloggers we all have to think about from time to time. #thatfridaylinky

  21. I have two accounts for most of my socials, 2 Facebook and 2 Instagram. I am much more selective of the photos that are used around my blog and my personal accounts are locked down to friends and family. The personal accounts have a lot more photos on as my family who live in other parts of the country or our of the country can see the children growing.
    When the children get older if they decide they don’t want to be on my blog then I will of course respect that. #ThatFridayLinky

  22. I think you mentioned the answer. We used to have things called, photo albums. Social media is the new photo album and kids are so enured with all things digital, they won’t think a bit about it. Our job is responsible photo-blasting. Just like any other thing we do that involves them. No, on a side note, your posting pics is not bragging, you are kvelling. 🙂 #thatfridaylinky xoxo

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