I want to start off by saying I’m very aware that the topic of “Why We’re Choosing Not to Share [Identifiable] Pictures of Our Child on Social Media” is a touchy one. This post is about our very personal decision and in NO WAY a judgement of anyone else’s choices. Since becoming pregnant, I’m learning more and more that parents everywhere (for the most part) are simply doing their best and trying to make the “right” decisions for their families based on their personal experiences/situations, knowledge, and gut instinct. Like with most everything else, there is no perfect answer.
With all of that being said, Vishnu and I actually made our first parenting decision long before we found out about our little guy. The topic about social media and our future children came up a few years ago, and that’s when we talked it out and decided we would follow this path. It may sound a little extreme to some, especially as we live in the social media age, but to us it just makes sense.
Some may wonder why someone with a public blog, someone who’s shared hundreds if not thousands of pictures of her life over the last six years, is choosing not to share pictures of her child. Well, to be honest, the decision was quite easy for us.
As a side note, I’m addressing this because I plan on blogging for an indefinite period of time, and at some point, regular readers may wonder why my child is not present in pictures, aside from the occasional foot/hand/back of the head. And hey, I’ve blogged/shared about most everything else, so why not this!
We’re not opposed to sharing pictures like this one!
First and foremost, the internet, while wonderful and amazing, can be a scary place. There are some weirdos out there, and if my child’s pictures ever got in the hands of the wrong person/people, I would never forgive myself. I never discussed it on the blog, but one of my wedding pictures was shared (without my permission) on two different sites/pages. One was a Facebook page about all things India, and my picture was connected to a poem about Indian women who get married, leave their childhood homes, and basically become servant-like in their husbands’ homes. Don’t even get me started! I tried for months to remove my picture from that page but no such luck. A couple of years later, the same picture was linked to a blog post about a woman who divorced her husband because of her horrible mother-in-law. You guys, I was horrified when I found out, and even more so when I was asked if I wrote the post. My exact response was, “Umm…no. I love my mother-in-law, and I’m happily married.” I eventually found the blogger’s contact information and asked her to remove my picture. But as we all know, the internet does not forget, and my picture was still associated with every previous share of that post (over 1,000 shares to be exact).
Putting aside our first reason, a part of us also feels uncomfortable sharing pictures of our child without his permission. Like we’re invading his privacy. I know that sounds strange given he won’t be making any decisions for himself…at least for a while. But to us he’s still a person, and we believe he should have a say before we share pictures of him publicly. Even the cutest ones! The same goes for blog posts. While I still plan to share posts about motherhood and my experiences, I don’t plan to share personal stories about the baby and the details of his childhood experiences (i.e. things like potty training come to mind). I don’t feel like they’re mine to share.
In that same line of thought, I would never be able to forgive myself if my child missed out on an opportunity because of something I posted or shared. If you think about it, we live in unprecedented times. Social media didn’t exist when we were kids. Our parents couldn’t share pictures of us with the click of a button. When our employers Google us (or look us up on Facebook), they won’t find pictures of our birth or of us throwing temper tantrums or of us learning to use the potty. And if they do find embarrassing pictures of us, it’s likely not because of our parents…
Oh man, if Facebook existed 33 years ago…so glad it didn’t!
Other reasons impacting our choice include – the fine line between sharing and oversharing, online judgement and bullying, the fact that other people (aside from our parents and other close family members) don’t really care about seeing our baby’s face in their feed, etc.
We understand we can’t control everything and shield our kid from every photo opp. For example, if a group picture is taken at a birthday party, it may appear on Facebook. We get it! For us, it’s more about what we can control.
Look, those who know me well know I’m not anti-social media. In fact, I love Instagram – sharing pictures of my life and getting a glimpse of other people’s lives. I also think social media outlets are a great way to keep in touch. And let’s be real, it can be fun! It’s an amazing tool when used correctly.
And because I’m not opposed to social media, I don’t plan to keep my kid off of it forever. I’m not that mean…or that naive! I just don’t want to put him on my channels before he can make the decision himself. Hopefully after we’ve shared a bit more about good judgement and responsibility!
Again, I just want to reiterate that this is by no means a judgement call on other people’s choices. This is about our thought process on the topic and how we came to this very personal decision. Like I said before, we’re all doing the best we can!
No question today but feel free to share your thoughts (but not your judgement please) on the topic!