This block is 100% dedicated to my son, me and our toys. Yet, you won’t find any pictures of my son around here. “Why is that?”, you may ask.
Well, months before our son was born back in 2015, my wife and I made a decision: We will not share ANY pictures of our son on the internet.
You know, back in 2015, when our son was born, quite a few of our friends were expecting or had already toddlers, and many of them shared pictures of them on social media, blogs etc. A few of them even replaced their own profile picture with pictures of their kids. I never got my head around this, but our decision was clear: We don’t want that!
Let me put a quick disclaimer here:
In this post I am going to share my very personal opinion on posting pictures of kids on the internet. I am trying to explain why I *personally* think that it is a dangerous thing. However, I understand that you may not agree and that you may want to share pictures of your kids. If you decide that this is okay for you and your kid, I totally respect that. This article does not bear any intention to judge you or prove you wrong 🙂
Why We Decided Not to Share ANY Pictures of Our Son
If you’re a mom or a dad yourself, you know that we as parents have one top priority: Keep our kids safe, right? My son means the world to me, and for me as his dad it is my number one job to keep bad things away from him.
Don’t get me wrong here: I’m not talking about being over protective, I think I am far away from this. In my opinion, there’s a difference between not allowing your kid to go crazy on the playground (which your kid should definitely do 🙂 ) or exposing your kid to the implications and problems that MAY occur when publishing private information, like pictures, on the internet.
The difference between your kid climbing and falling on the playground and posting sensitive information about him or her is this:
- Climbing is something your kid does actively, and even a toddler is able to understand that climbing too high and experiencing pain when falling is related. Next time, your kid will be more careful. Lesson learned!
- But when you post pictures of your kids on the internet, your kid is neither able to understand the implications of that nor is your kid able to stop you from doing it.
Don’t get me wrong here: As parents, we make decisions for our kids day in and day out, as it is part of “our job”. I’m not saying we shouldn’t make decisions for our kids. But we should always make them in our kid’s favor, right?
What Our No-Pictures-Policy Says
The policy is super-simple to sum up, as it is very straight forward:
NO PICTURES OF OUR SON ON THE INTERNET!
For us, this also includes sweet “baby feet photos” or “mommy-daddy-baby-hand-in-hand”-photos. The only exception to this rule would probably be if there is absolutely no way to identify him. But we are trying to avoid that as well!
At the beginning we were thinking about whether this wouldn’t be too strict, but then we decided to go for it. You may wonder why it is so strict, and I’ll get to this!
But Isn’t That Sometimes hard?
Totally, yes! It can be super hard!!! Especially at the beginning, when you are trying to get used to it. Everybody is posting pictures of their kids. And obviously, you as a mom or dad are super proud of your kid and want to share it with the world. I get that! I’ve been there! But we made a simple decision: The safety our kid and his right to make his own decision on personal information being shared or not being shared across the Internet once he is old enough is bigger and way, way more important than our own pride and short-term-desire to share it with the world.
Now, here is one interesting thing that happened: After a few weeks friends and family approached us and they were like: “We totally respect your decision!” Friends and other parents started to pay us respect for being so straight forward and putting the safety of our kid over our own pride and for thinking in the long term. So, instead of likes and hearts on facebook we got some real-world, face-to-face-feedback from people that really cared about us!
However, believe me: It isn’t easy. When I spent a Father Son Day with my son in our local Theme Park lately, I definitely would have wanted to share some selfies of me and my smiling son here and with my friends on facebook as well. But I didn’t! Because sharing these pictures and “earning a few likes” isn’t worth it, in my opinion. What if my son comes home from school some day and asks me why I shared this “sweet picture” of him smiling on the horse carousel back in the days, that they are now bullying him about? Not worth it in my opinion…
How We Make Sure That We Don’t Break the Rules
Yes, we put some really strict rules, and as I stated above: It is sometimes very hard to obey them. Obviously, we take pictures of our son and personally I love taking photos with my DSLR. And sometimes these pictures are so sweet, I just want to share my luck with the entire world.
What we do is this: My wife makes sure that I stick to the rules and vice versa. I remember that at the very beginning we were thinking about sharing pictures but then putting a smiley or something on our son’s face. But then we asked each other: Is it worth it? Seriously!? Isn’t making a picture of your kid anonymous by putting a sticker on it somewhat ridiculous?
Here’s yet another thought that I use to get my head straight if I ever feel the urge to share a picture of my kid. I ask myself: “Who are the people who care, and will they really feel what you feel?” That’s not all my facebook friends, it’s not my Instagram-followership, it’s not the people who read my blog. All of them don’t feel what I feel when I look at my son and at the pictures I take of him. Because it’s not their son. They might smile, yes. They might enjoy what they see, yes. But the don’t get what is so special about this photo. They can’t!
The people who care are your family, like grandparents etc. and probably a few of your very close friends. And yes, obviously, we share pictures with them, and I’ll get to this in a minute.
Why Our No-Pictures-Policy Is So Strict
The thing is this: If your rule isn’t strict, it is super easy to make excuses and find a way around it. I don’t want to make excuses, and my wife doesn’t want it either.
Also, if others take a picture of your son, say in a group photo, it is much easier to convince them NOT to share this picture online, because you don’t do it as well. If you allow for exceptions, situations like this will always end up in discussions.
A strict, straight forward and simple rule helps you to stick with it and also helps you to communicate to others what’s okay for you and what is not.
How We Share Pictures In Real Time With Our Family Anyway
Obviously, we share pictures of our son with our family and close friends. We use
- iMessage and
to do so. You may feel like this is somehow foils our rule, but it doesn’t. Sure, all those technologies depend on the internet, but it is
- end-to-end encrypted (at least WhatsApp and iMessage)
- personal communication and we know who we are talking to
However, when we send out these pictures to friends and family, we make sure that they know that we do not want them to share these pictures with others, and that it is absolutely forbidden to share them via social media.
Do You Have Something To Add to This Story?
How do you personally deal with pictures of your kids? Do you share them? If so, what do you think about the possible implications? If not, what is your policy? Is it as strict as ours? Please let me know what you think. If you have something to add, please comment under this article or contact me via email under chris@ThatToyDad.com – I’m looking forward to hear what YOU think!
I couldn’t agree more. I haven’t posted any photo of my kids either and just cannot understand those who do not see the danger of it. So good to read about similar thinking parents. Keep it up, for me it is not a challenge and we now do not have to remind each other with my husband. The more difficult part is that when we are surrounded with friends who want to share their photos how our kids play together – sometimes they do not understand why I am so strict, but they get used to it 🙂
yeah, it’s hard to understand sometimes. We also have these friends, and sometimes it’s hard, especially if they themselves post pictures and video of their kids day in and day out. However, I strongly believe that this approach is the best thing for OUR son (not implying that everyone will or should feel the same for their kids), but I believe that media competence / being media literate is something very important in today’s world. And I want to make sure to play it right!
Thanks for reaching out and sharing your opinion!
There’s a really fine line here, but AnxietyPanda tends to agree to keep the anonymity of your children online. The world can be a scary place, and innocent intentions can often lead to horrible repercussions…
That’s great, Anxiety Panda 🙂 Glad you liked my article and thanks to you for commenting.
All the best to you and your loved ones,
There are some good points here about not sharing photos on social media! I do agree that as a parent it is necessary to protect your family. There is one thing I’ve noticed about FB pictures that really annoys me. That is the dignity of the kid being utilized. Some people share some really embarrassing pictures online that I feel are more personal. Trust me I know my sister she gets carried away with her kids, maybe I should share this with her. 🙂
Hi Jose. Thank you so much for your comment. I’m so sorry I couldn’t respond earlier; I was quite busy this week. Have a good day!
Hi ChrisDE, friendly speaking I don’t mind to share my daughter photo on face book and whats Apps but in some condition, it is within relatives or close friends. I also totally agreed that, there maybe some risk involved but we have to live with it. Sometimes by sharing family photo also can lightened up the scenario among circle of friends and relatives.
Hi Andy, sorry for replying so late. I had a busy week. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Please let me point out that I totally respect your opinion. I’m not saying noone should share pictures of their kids; just trying to explain why we won’t do it and maybe get a few people thinking and checking their own habits. If it turns out that you guys are happy with yours, that perfect 🙂