Our feeds are full of pictures of babies we scroll past and like without giving it much thought, but the fact sharing pictures online is so normalised doesn’t mean we have to do it with our own children. So, what is your opinion? Is posting pictures of your kids on social media a yes or a no?
#Mom CultureIn our digital society, there seem to be two kinds of people, those who share everything online, and those who keep their pictures in their camera rolls just for their eyes to see. The use of social media has become an instinct, and people are either entirely for or against it. Parents who choose against sharing their kids’ life on social media are usually concerned about the baby’s privacy and digital footprint. After all, the internet is forever and even pictures and videos shared with a selected few can be screenshotted and reposted without parents even knowing. Furthermore, when it comes to babies and young children, we’re talking about having a say in their public image before they can even consent to being videoed and photographed. At the same time, the social media #mom culture is really a thing, and did you even have a child if you don’t post baby stories every other day?
I want to share pictures of my baby but my partner does not!
It's even harder when you and your partner have different opinions when it comes to online presence. “When I was pregnant with our daughter, my husband told me he’d like to keep her off my social media”, writes Sara Gaynes Levy of Glamour. “Once she entered the world, I began to feel some regret about the decision. I was spending more hours than ever plugged into social media, filling late nights and endless afternoons on my phone while I was at home alone with an infant. I was desperate to connect to people with whom I could relate”. However, choosing not to make your child’s life public, doesn’t mean you have to hide the little miracle you helped create. Encourage your friends and family to ask for an update on your kids instead of passively presenting it to them on their feeds. “It’s also forced me to make social media a reprieve from being C’s mommy”, Sara continues. “With next to no child content on my account, I have to highlight other things going on in my life. I love being a mom, but it doesn’t consume me. And it matters that the world sees it doesn’t appear to be consuming me either Of course in the end, this is about her, and it’s a relief to know that posting her is no a habit I’ll have to wean myself off when I become, like, so embarrassing as her mom.” Another option could be posting pictures of your baby in a way that makes them unrecognisable. You could put a cute emoji over their faces, photograph them with their back turned to the camera or from very far away.
Insta: Danielle Fishel Karp
What can I do if someone shares pictures of my child without my consent?Dealing with these situations can be tough, but while it’s important not to be judgemental (everyone has different views on social media and they all deserve to be respected), it’s also vital to be honest and let people know your boundaries. Here are 3 steps you can take to confront someone who posted a picture of your kid that goes against your wishes:
- Ask the person to delete or crop out your child from the picture
- If your main concern is limiting exposure, ask the person to avoid tagging you, using your child’s name or sharing the location where the picture was taken
- Ask the poster who has access to their profile (if it’s private or public) and to eventually limit the audience of that particular picture to friends only
But what if I do want to post my child on social media?Without any doubt, social media can be a great resource for parents. It’s a way to keep track of time and milestones, keeping in touch with faraway family and friends, and it can be an overall positive source of inspiration. But how and where do we set boundaries? The life we share on social media is an edited reality and it’s easy to forget that the people you’re constantly catching up with face daily struggles no matter how perfect and organised their Instagram feed is. Tantrums, sleepless nights, accidents, and existential doubts stay locked behind closed doors more often than not, potentially leaving us with a deep sense of dissatisfaction as we’re scrolling through the seemingly perfect lives of everyone else. So how do we avoid the dangers of the comparison game?
- Focus on real life. While it’s okay to share moments of our life we find inspiring and take ideas and inspiration from others, remember that real-life love and relationships beat likes and followers any day of the week.
- Learn to set boundaries. Learn what parts of social media upset you and work on letting go of them. Unfollow those people who spark negativity, set a time limit, unplug for the weekend. Learn to say “no” to following people and joining groups the same way you would say no to in-person friendships and events. If you feel comfortable posting pictures of your kids on social media, remember that doesn’t allow others to share pictures of your little ones as well. If you want to share snippets of your kid’s life with only a few selected people or have a private profile you don’t want to invite acquaintances – like other mums – to, that doesn’t make you rude or selfish, but it’s a valid choice that anyone worthy of being part of your life should be respecting.
- Learn how to avoid ruining milestones in your life. While humans are social animals and wanting to share what happens in our life with those we care about is completely normal, it is toxic when our first thought is to post our kids’ milestones and cuteness online in the hope it gets enough likes or goes viral. When documenting a moment becomes more important than the moment itself, we’re turning accomplishments into spectacles where our loved ones become a passive audience instead of being active participants.
Whatever your choice, remember that special moments don’t need to be validated by likes and share. Their worth isn’t reflected by the response you receive online but by what you feel and how much you treasure the occasion. Whether you decide to post pictures of your kids on social media or not, remember mama, you're doing a great job!
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