Posting kid pics online: Parental bragging right or invasion of privacy?(Read article summary)
Facebook can be an easy way to share baby and kid photos with family and friends, but when should parents start asking their children for consent?
AP Photo/Michael Middleton/TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
This is a perennial question, but itâs good that it keeps coming up. In Disneyâs Babble.com,Â parenting blogger KatieÂ (last name wisely not provided for her sonâs privacy), again asks when a childâs right to privacy kicks in and whether parents are violating that right by sharing photos in social media.
âI believe that yes, my son has a right to privacy,â she writes, âbut I also believe that [with her baby] at 14 months, it is my job as his mother to decide what is an appropriate amount of sharing/privacy and that it is possible to share pictures and stories without violating that right.â She discusses how thereâs no single right answer, that each family has to find the right place for its kids on a kid-privacy spectrum from no online photo sharing at all to sharing privately to sharing a whole lot publicly. She shares only occasionally (admirably trying not to post anything that would be embarrassing if mother-son roles were reversed) and doing a cost-benefit analysis, the benefit being the support system that comes with sharing our lives.
Four years ago Lisa Belkin put a similar question to readers of the New York TimesâsÂ âMotherlodeâ column, but instead of asking when a childâs right to privacy starts, she asked âat what point do parents lose their right to their childrenâs tales?â Then she elaborated in a way that really pulls you up short: âWhen do things stop being something that happened to âmeâ and start being something that happened to âthem,â and therefore not âmineâ to tell?â
Thatâs the exact question another parent,Â Amber TeamannÂ â mother of two (one very young, one almost a teen) and assistant principal in an elementary school â seems to have asked herself four years later. She writes in her blog that she is âvery cautiousâ about sharing information about her older daughter because âI donât want her to be attached to the social stream of who I have defined her to be. I want her to be her own person, with her own likes, dislikes, pins, etc.â
Clearly all of these parents are mindful that this is a pretty permanent, searchable, global archive in which theyâre displaying their childrenâs photos and milestones, and Belkin even touches on the criticism and trollish behaviors that can emerge online, well after a story about a child has been posted. It would be nice if there were a simple answer to these child privacy questions for all parents, but at least weâre getting better informed about the implications of sharing so we can better draw our own lines in the child-privacy sand. So letâs keep asking this:Â Do parents have the âonline rightsâ to their childrenâs life story, and â if so â up to what point in their childrenâs lives?
The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best family and parenting bloggers out there. Our contributing and guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor, and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. Anne Collier blogs atÂ NetFamilyNews.