A little thought before you post that picture of your child mid tantrum

Picture the scene, your child has their first interview for a job they really want, a panic ensues about what outfit to wear, arrangements are made about transport, and your darling child acts out mock questions in front of the mirror.
Meanwhile, their potential future boss is at work looking over pictures of your child growing up, and creating their own profile before they even walk through the door. That’s right, your child’s future supervisor, the person who in charge of their p45 and toilet breaks is currently looking at your son aged 6 after loosing his first tooth, skipping down the stairs aged 10 to his mountain of Christmas presents and even that video you posted of him doing a funny dance to the song he never stopped listening to!

I am from a time when all family pictures were located in a box that was stored on top of my parents wardrobe, or taken with a video camera that needed to be connected to the computer. This was not 100s of years ago as my children believe, but as early as the year 2000.
Shortly after that was the well known birth of the mother of all social networking sites; Facebook. Facebook has enabled us to literally document every second of our children’s daily lives and milestones for all to see. Every single school achievement, play date with friends and family get togethers with the grandparents, is captured and posted.
The old cliche of a teenager being hideously embarrassed by parents, eager to show the new boyfriend or girlfriend photos of a time when their child frolicked naked in the paddling pool is now an online reality, and is available to future partners, peers, friends of friends or even their employer. The option of silently sitting in the corner praying that said photo box, or video camera will be packed away to gather its next coat of dust has been completely lost. Your child’s life is available for all see.

Recently, I read an article about how teenage children refuse to accept their parents’ friend requests online, and they won’t allow them to take personal pictures from fear of them being posted on social media. Of course, teenagers have this choice, they can vocalise how they feel however, our babies and young children don’t yet have the understanding, or the capacity to express their opinions on these images. Yes, as parents we think our children are the most gorgeous beings to ever have walked the earth, but given the statistics on body image and teenage peer anxiety, are we not adding further fuel to the already roaring fire of social media pressures?

A mum on Twitter had written about her son’s mobile phone content, and she accompanied the article with a picture of him looking at his mobile with his face blurred out. Her son is currently of high school age, and due to the subject matter I’m sure she had felt it necessary to pixelate him, so as not to cause any embarrassment.
I am interested to discuss how we feel we are entitled, as parents, to document every part of their lives until we realise how body conscious they have become.

We are all too aware of our children’s photos getting in to the wrongs hands, or our social media friends getting irritated at constantly looking at our children’s faces on their news feed. More important than this though, is the long term affects on our children of this constant over exposure.l have significantly reduced the number of images of my children on social media and I am more particular about the images I do post.
I will save the photo of my son’s first triumph on his potty, until he reaches his teenage years and we meet his new girlfriend for the first time! As for the video of him reenacting the moves of his favourite superhero, that will just be for me and his dad to watch, and laugh fondly at.

Many of my friends will disagree and we are all entitled to our opinion, but lets cast our minds back to our school days, when we were asked by our teachers to bring in an old photo of ourselves for the ubiquitous ‘changes’ topic. I’m sure we all selected the most photogenic snap of ourselves, not the one where we were having a tear streaked, snotty nosed tantrum! Even as adults I don’t think we ever move faster than when a facebook notification pops up to tell us we’ve been tagged!

Yes, we should celebrate our children, there is nothing on this earth that warrants more attention, but in a society that is becoming obsessed with presenting their “perfect” life online to the detriment of some children’s mental health we need to enable, and support our children to achieve their own path to self worth.


27 thoughts on “A little thought before you post that picture of your child mid tantrum

  1. Baby Anon says:

    An interesting article. Father hates Facebook and only permits the odd photo of me on there. Employers today already use social media in considering applicants – imagine what it will be like when I’m grown up. A little caution is definitely a good thing #fortheloveofBLOG


  2. letyourlightshinemummy says:

    I agree, I have decided not to include pictures of my boys on my blog, just sightly obscure ones, so you couldn’t tell who they were. It’s such a hard thing to do these days, and as you say every one is entitled to their opinion and it’s a personal choice. #fortheloveofBLOG


  3. carolcliffe says:

    Some interesting points, and a good reason also to ensure that our personal social media accounts are kept private as well as to be aware of the future effects on our children of the information we share on our blogs. #FortheLoveOfBLOG


  4. Fern P says:

    I agree with so much of what you say. I’m not sure employers would judge their job applicants on childhood photos, but I do think you’re right when you suggest parents put more careful consideration into what they share online.
    I have been vlogging for about six months, and at first I was uploading videos of my whole family. I have since taken these down and am no longer put my kids out there. I don’t post pictures of them on Facebook, and made my Instagram account private.
    I feel like I’d probably get more hits on both my blog and YouTube channel if I featured my children, but I do think I need to respect their privacy and keep them safe as much as I possibly can.
    It’s really nice to know that there are other parents out there who feel the same way.


  5. justsayingmum says:

    Well said – if I refuse to let my children post a picture of me that I don’t like then they have every right to agree the images of them that I choose – which is why I always check with the first. Difficult era we are now in #fortheloveofBLOG


  6. Morgan Prince says:

    Oh honey I couldn’t agree more! I have never shared a photo of either of my sons on my blog. I always blur out or pixelate their faces. I don’t even share photos of them on Facebook or other social media accounts. We were discussing this exact point today with my youngest when he asked me to write about him eating chicken wings. We’d snapped a particularly funny photo of him and he asked me to put it on my blog. When I refused he was upset so I had to explain why I wouldn’t do it. As a result he now understands why we don’t share all our photos and I hope that in the future he will consider which photos he chooses to share. For me it’s about their choices and I don’t want to be the one they hate because they didn’t get that job they really wanted because I happened to post a photo of them on the potty at two years old!
    Brilliant post.


  7. Anca says:

    Very interesting topic. I agree with what you said. I don’t have children and I’m surprised by what some people think is appropriate to share online about their kids. A mother (my friend) said on Facebook that her 19 years old daughter asked her not to post pictures of her… as a description of a picture of her daughter. I think it’s wrong.


    • mumswithsons says:

      That’s a perfect example, when they are older they don’t like it but social media has only been around for a few years so imagine the amount of child content that will be available that our children never approved of. I know some people posting upwards of 10/20 pictures of their children a day. There will be alot of de-tagging to be done then!


  8. thatwiselady says:

    I don’t share images in which their faces are recognisable. Nor will I share their name on my blog. I want to protect them and allow them anonymity.


  9. The Pramshed says:

    An interesting post to read, I completely agree with you about over-sharing of our children on Facebook and Instagram. I’m pretty guilty of that by sharing the odd snap now and again, but I not one for posting daily images as I don’t want to annoy people, but also because I don’t want my daughter plastered all over the Internet On my blog I have only shared one indirect shot of my daughter as I don’t want her face in full on display. I think it totally depends what you’re comfortable with as a parent. I had never thought about their future, that these images would stay in cyber-space until they can see them for themselves, so it’s not just about us, it’s about them too. I’ll be thinking twice about whether to post that picture in future, I’ll save the baby meltdowns for me and my husband. Thank you so much for joining our party at #fortheloveofBLOG, hope you come back next week. Claire x


    • mumswithsons says:

      Completely agree. There are some many other wonderful ways of portraying your child and their daily life rather than endless face shots. Some mum bloggers have a real art for it and those are the blogs I love!


  10. Laughing mum says:

    It’s so true! I don’t post any pics of my kids anymore, not only do they not want me too (teen and preteen) but it loses some of the ‘specialness’ of their photos too… I still like to show my family my picture when I’m with them (on my phone of course not in an album lol) but we laugh and joke and ‘coo’ over them together., which I love!

    Btw loved the ‘we never move faster then when we see we’ve been tagged’ comment… I even delay the morning coffee for that one haha!

    Good post!


  11. Kerry-Ann says:

    This is a great post. I don’t tend to post pics of my kids or embarrassing tidbits on my blog or social media – I wanted them to be in control of their own cyber-footprint. Like you say: some things are good to stay within the safety of the family circle! x


    • mumswithsons says:

      Thanks so much for your comment. I completely agree, despite our reliance on it the Internet is still so young and we don’t yet know the disadvantages all of our social media postings will have on our children.


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