I started my blog The Mummy Bubble three years ago and since then I have happily posted photographs of my children to my social media profiles. As a mother, sharing photos of children online meant I shared their highs and lows, silly faces, fun trips out and the moments that made my heart swell. It was like creating an online photo album while also connecting with fellow parents about our similar journeys through motherhood.
Valuable online memories
Looking back over the pictures and posts makes me smile, and reminds me of just how quickly they’ve grown in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it way. But last year I started to develop a change of heart when it comes to sharing photos of my eldest daughter, now five.
Starting out as a blogger with just a few hundred followers across all my platforms, I felt pretty anonymous. I was mainly connecting with other bloggers at that early stage, and rarely coming across anyone I actually know in real life.
But it’s now three years later and my blog has grown. It’s no longer a hobby and is now the number one source of my income. On social media I have a combined following of around 25,000 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s still relatively small in the blogging world, yet I’m very aware that is a lot of eyeballs on my content.
Think about to whom you’re sharing photos of your children
Who is viewing my content? I cannot vet every single follower. What are they doing with my photographs? Once my images are posted to my public social media profiles I cannot take that back. Even if I delete them, they may be saved somewhere else. For this reason I started to question myself. Is this something I want to continue doing? Sharing the details, however minor, of my daughter’s private life.
My daughter starting school last year has been the real turning point for me. She’s no longer a tiny tot who’s by my side all day long. She’s a child out in the world forging an identity of her own. The idea that I am giving away snippets of her day-to-day life and private moments just no longer sits right with me.
Important to think about my daughter’s private life
I’m doing this at a time when she’s on the cusp of gaining more and more independence. Yet she does not yet have the ability to understand what images I’m sharing, who is viewing them and what the potential consequences might be. I make all the big decisions for her, and having that responsibility for her privacy is something I need to take seriously.
My other concern is that her very public online identity sets her apart from other kids in her class. While other parents are sharing photos of their children online, their private moments can be kept secret on private Facebook and Instagram profiles. But I was placing her moments out there for everyone to see. They were on a public profile and very easy to find.
Do I want anything that I have posted online to one day be used against her as a way to humiliate or mock her? What if she’s uncomfortable seeing family photos of her on show?
A new outlook for sharing photos of our children
Last September I started sharing fewer and fewer photographs of her. Now she no longer appears in new posts on my main Instagram grid, or over on Facebook. She may rarely appear on my stories, where I feel slightly more comfortable sharing photos as I know they will vanish in 24 hours. But I still generally feature her with her face turned away from the camera.
I feel like this decision gives her the same degree of online anonymity that all kids have in school.
It also gives me a stronger standing point in a few years’ time when she starts wanting to launch her own social media profiles – a discussion I’m dreading to be honest and one I hope doesn’t come for some time.
The thought process I have gone through is just that. My own thought process. I know for every parent that agrees with me, there will be at least one who does not. And that’s fine. As with any parenting decision we have to make the choices we are happy with.
We also need to make decisions we believe our children will be happy with too.
There are more great tips for staying safe online and on social media over at Stay Safe Online.
Vicky Smith is a mother of two girls and blogger at The Mummy Bubble. Her website focuses on helping new mothers navigate pregnancy, babies and toddlers with practical and realistic advice. Follow Vicky on Instagram: Twitter: Facebook: and Pinterest:
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