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Have you ever considered what posting pictures and stories about your children online on social media means for them?
They may only be a year old and the story you’re sharing might purely be meant to entertain your friends, but it is now on the Internet forever. More importantly it is shaping other people’s views of your child whether you realize it or not.
Do you have children?
Are on any sort of social media outlet or are you a blogger who ever talks about her family online?
Then you owe it to your children to get permission from them before posting pictures or stories about them.
I have two reasons for this:
- The Internet never forgets. What you post today will be in cyberland forever.
- Your child deserves to create their own identity and make an impression on people before images and stories that you share create an identity for them.
I grew up in a time without Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and the like.
In fact, I didn’t even get my first email address until my junior year of high school. I learned typing on a typewriter and I still remember when our family bought our first computer. Yes, I know I’m dating myself here.
I am thankful every day that I grew up in the time I did because none of my teenage angst is preserved online for eternity.
When I was in high school my friends and I passed notes and notebooks back and forth. We also spoke on the phone (yes actually talked real-time). The only way the ridiculous things I did as a child or teenager will come back to haunt me are because of pictures or actual stories that people share. Of course, I can always deny those. There isn’t proof in the form of the Internet – because everything you read online is true, right?
I don’t have to worry that things I said or did in my youth will be online for potential employers to see. I like to think that now I’m mature enough to know what is appropriate and what is not appropriate to share online.
It’s not fair if your child someday has to answer for both the things they post online and the things that you posted about them online.
Your child deserves to create their own identity and make an impression on people.
When I was growing up I determined my own identity. I also changed that identity many times over the course of my journey to adulthood. I’m sure my parents shared stories about me and showed pictures of silly things I did. (There may or may not be an unfortunate picture of toddler Megan trying to eat a real frog – seriously, I blame her parents though). However none of this compares to what the modern parent does.
If you share a story about how funny your kid is and something they said, then people might have an expectation even before meeting your child that they are funny.
What if your funny kid doesn’t want everyone to know they are funny or is introverted and doesn’t want attention drawn them?
I’m sure you’ve had the experience before where someone asks how you’re doing. You may look at them confused and say you’re fine and wonder why they seem so concerned. They may have seen a post you put on Facebook about the flu that was running rampant through your house and how badly you needed a break. Sometimes it’s a little disconcerting that everyone knows your business. We forget that we’ve put it out there for everyone to know.
Put yourself in your child’s shoes.
They didn’t get the choice of whether to share information. They may be uncomfortable with everyone knowing things about their life, even if it is good things.
Cassidy, my oldest, has always been advanced verbally, pair that with above average emotional intelligence and you never have to wonder what she’s thinking – she can articulate it well.
It’s actually quite nice because for years she has been able to tell us what she wants, what bothers her and what we can do to better help her.
Cassidy is a sensitive child who wears her heart on her sleeve.
This trait makes her one of the most compassionate and empathetic children I’ve ever known, but it also means she can have her feelings hurt easily. Brian and I have both been the cause of some of those hurt feelings.
Recently, I shared a humorous story (in person) involving Cassidy and it embarrassed her. When she saw people chuckling she shied away from the conversation and left in tears. Later she told me how sharing the story embarrassed her.
I felt horrible and it has caused me to reflect on what I share and how I share it.
Now this isn’t to say that Brian and I will never again embarrass our children, because of course parents do that without even knowing.
In fact once you have teenagers in the house, the sheer existence of parents can be embarrassing. Brian has pointed out it will be his reason for existing—our poor girls.
However, I would never want to purposely bring shame. For that reason I realized the importance of asking permission to share pictures and stories.
This allows my daughters the ability to determine how the world sees them.
In order to respect my daughters I have created two new icons. These will be used on my website from here on out.
If I write a post including images or stories involving my daughters, they will be pre-approved before you see them.
The image will indicate that my daughter(s) have given permission for them to be posted. Cassidy has assured me that until Amelia is able to give permission, Cassidy will make the decisions for all Amelia stories and images.
For those of you concerned that I do not have an approval image for my husband, Brian—fear not.
Brian is currently the editor for all Minutes with Meg posts therefore he sees, reads, and edits all posts before they go live. Trust me if he didn’t want them posted he would tell me. Either they wouldn’t make the cut or changes would be made in order for them to be approved.
I hope that you will consider what you share about your children in the future both online and offline.
Think about how what you are sharing might impact them now and in the future.
Your children should be allowed to create their own identities.
Remember what you put on the Internet today is there forever.
By the way this post was approved by: