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Sharenting: Should I Show My Kid's Face on Social Media? How To Protect Your Children's Identity Online
Hey Parents - do you post your kids’ faces on social media? Over the years most of us have, so you're not alone. While this choice is yours - and no one should take that away from you - we all need to understand that the online world is getting more complicated by the minute and there's new information to consider that could influence how you feel about it.
I’ve been talking about this for years now as I’ve witnessed influencers and friends alike share the lives of their children for everyone to see far before their kids can consent. Earlier this year I recorded a shocking podcast with Mom Uncharted that reveals the dark side of “oversharenting” and gives some great practical tools to keep your kids safe online.
Of course, most parents do this with the best intentions - to share sweet moments and hang on to precious memories. Many of us have looked at social platforms as a place to store our best memories so we don't accidentally lose them. Unfortunately, there are many risks to consider when making these decisions.
SHARENTING WITH CARE
Our Interactive Guide to Introducing Your Kids to Social Media can really help make their debut and all their interactions safe, meaningful and actually fun.
Here are some moms I know love and respect- who have made the choice and are encouraging their communities to do the same.
Here are some of the reasons that parents are choosing not to share their kids identities online
- Safety: Our child’s safety should be our top priority. When we share their identity we are making them vulnerable to being recognized, tracked or manipulated.
- Consent and digital footprint: When it comes down to it, we are building our child’s brand and digital footprint far before they can consent or have anything to say about it. Once they get old enough to post on their own, they already have a hefty digital footprint that they can never get rid of, even if the photos are deleted off the app. It’s just not fair to the future adults we are raising.
- Perversion: Sadly there are people out there who might take the sweet innocent photos and videos of our kids online and use them in perverted and inappropriate contexts. Unfortunately, I am hearing more and more stories like this - it is no longer rare.
Techwellness Instagram post 2-2021
Sharenting And Your Child's Brand
Looking back, I am so grateful that I didn’t (couldn’t😉)share these things with the whole world, and that it is my daughters’ choice to decide what represents them. ⠀
My husband and I have owned an advertising agency for decades and if I know one thing, it’s that brands are built one message at a time. So whether you like it or not, every post of or about your child (positive or negative) is building their brand and it will be there forever. (Google Vault for example says that in their gmail system, they will save the content for 100 years!) for years to come. Unfortunately, what is online can define who we are to the outside world.
Elements of a Brand or how we're perceived by others- or even how we think of ourselves can be communicated by pictures, stories and words. A Brand is a trust relationship built over time, so you're influencing how they will be thought of for the rest of their lives. Think about it. It's true. From personality traits, to delightful or sadly awkward images, a Brand is a compilation and a powerful statement so treat your kid's Brand with care.
Sharenting and Cybersecurity
With Sharenting, It’s not just about protecting their emotions - we are already seeing that colleges and employers are using online presence to evaluate applicants. Can you imagine what that will look like 10 years from now? ⠀
I’m not saying you can’t post that cute family photo or celebrate them getting their purple belt in karate, but I encourage you to be mindful and remember that you are taking part in building their online brand no matter how old they are. Let’s make sure it represents them thoughtfully and positively so that they have a great base to work from once they take on the responsibility of their own Brand reputation.
SHARENTING AND PRIVATE ACCOUNTS
Yes having a private account with all followers that you know is a great first step but still not fully safe. This is not meant to shame you! I have two kids myself and I know that parenting comes with countless hard decisions every day. You must make the ones that are right for you but I hope this sparks some conversation and gives you some things to think about.
What have you decided when it comes to sharing your kids on social media? Let us know in the comments below.