Respecting the Privacy of Little Ones

My friends and I often talk about how thankful we are that we didn’t grow up in the age of social media. We were bullied at school, but not by thousands of faceless internet people at a time. We made mistakes, but those mistakes didn’t show up on everyone’s news feed. We were the Oregon Trail Generation, lucky to maybe have a pager in high school or a car phone in college.

But we are raising kids who already know to double tap a photo on Instagram to make a heart appear. “Facebook” and “Twitter” are part of their expanding vocabulary. Their mom is blogging and posting pictures of them.

And this is where I have always wondered…is this ok? At what point do I pull back and let them have their privacy? What if they don’t want all of this shared with the world?

The other day, I was getting ready to tease a friend on Twitter on behalf of my daughter. I pulled my phone out and she begged me to stop. “Mom, please don’t.” She was embarrassed and didn’t want me to say anything. So I put my phone back in my purse.

I’ve been thinking about it ever since, and combined with my questions over the past few years about when it will be time to give them more privacy, I think this is it.

It’s time.

So from here on out, you won’t see as much of my kids on Instagram. (I’m sure some of you are saying, “GOOD. Too many kid pics already, Lady!”)

  • It’s not like I’ll never post a picture of them again, you just won’t see them around as much.
  • I will begin asking the kids if they are ok with me sharing photos, stories or quotes.
  • When I think something is funny, I will check myself to make sure it isn’t embarrassing for my kids if I share it.
  • I will do my best to respect their privacy and give them the choice on what and how much to share about their lives.

They are little, but they are their own people. And I want to respect that.

That’s all I have so far. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Do you post much about your kids? Do you worry about their privacy? Have you stopped sharing so much at a certain age? If you have older kids, how do they feel about this topic?

  • tess May 2, 2015 at 8:28 am

    privacy and children is a tricky one isn’t it, with so many different ideas about what is “appropriate”. Personally I have very few pictures of my children online and I am not to show faces, or share too much personal detail, but they are old enough to post pictures of themselves if they want, and that’s a whole other world of finding a balance.

  • Angel May 2, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    I tell my teenagers often that whatever they put on the internet is like a tattoo. It’s permanent unless you go through some very painful, long work to remove it (and even then, good luck getting rid of it). Which means, I must choose to be mindful of what I put online about them (and myself), too. I ask permission before I post anything that has to do with my kids. In my opinion, by pausing and asking permission, it models to them to pause and think before they post. It’s a constant conversation for our family.

  • Laila (@FrontRowMama) May 4, 2015 at 2:22 am

    This is something I’ve always struggled with. On my blog I try not to share too much about him. I’m always nervous about sharing his name or pictures of his face online. I want to respect his privacy and not everything that happens needs to be shared.

  • Becky May 4, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    I think this is a good, thoughtful decision. As an adult I don’t like it when my friends post pictures of me without permission, and kids should be able to make that choice too.

  • Victoria May 5, 2015 at 2:10 am

    I agree. I have four teenage daughters and while they post photos of themselves on their own accounts, I make sure to ask their permission first. I didn’t always think about it until the day my youngest begged me not to post a photo of her because she didn’t like how she looked in a photo. I felt it was important to honor that request instead of posting it and insisting she was beautiful and not to worry about it. Instead, that’s my cue to put down the camera and my phone and take time to spend one on one with my girl, as she wrestles through this new phase of self and image and her place in the world. Thanks for starting this important discussion

  • EW May 5, 2015 at 2:17 am

    I don’t talk about my kids online. Ever. Never have. Their life is theirs. Yes, they are a huge part of my life but it’s not for me to tell their stories. And, who wants to interview for a job and have your interviewer find long-forgotten baby pictures posted decades ago? They get to decide how much of themselves to put out in the world and when they’re ready to do that, they won’t have years and years and years of stuff to clean up in order to assert who they are and how they want to be perceived.

  • holly May 5, 2015 at 3:00 am

    I rarely post personal things on social media, but when I do & if they concern my daughter, I always run it past her first, even the wording I’m planning to use. She’s 23 and pretty private. Her graduation is coming up & I’ve already asked her permission to post something online congratulating her. I’m so glad I didn’t have to grow up during these social media times. Sometimes I even wonder why I feel the need to share a specific event with a wider audience, when I can simply share by email with close friends & family.

  • Sean May 5, 2015 at 4:36 am

    “Sometimes I even wonder why I feel the need to share a specific event with a wider audience, when I can simply share by email with close friends & family.”

    This is the best thought-provoking comment I’ve read in a long, long time…

  • Olivia May 7, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    As I read this article I felt a little defensive. I share a lot about my boys here, but I think it’s good to re-evaluate your parenting and your future parenting as they get older. And while we’re on the subject of respecting their privacy, respect their space too. I hate when someone rips Jude (my 2 year old) from my arms as he yells for me. And you won’t see me forcing my kids to hug someone, it should be their choice… even at 2 and 6. ‪#‎stepsoffsoapbox‬