Sharing photos online of your children is an emotive topic. Children’s privacy and their digital footprint are often hotly debated and a new report was launched this week by the United Kingdom’s Children’s Commissioner.

Last night I posted about sharing pictures of your children online on my Instagram stories and lots of people said they also debated what the best thing was to do. Some were more private on their public Instagram accounts versus their more private Facebook profiles. There were also some scary stories about photos being misused.

Babies social media

Changing my mind

I thought about my tendency to overuse social media a lot before our baby was born.  Saying I would not share any pictures of him online. Once he was born I changed my mind and I have posted a few photos on Instagram and Facebook. It is lovely sharing pictures and updates with friends and family and reading all the comments and feedback. To be honest the pictures of the baby get the most likes! I have tried to space it out with pictures of flowers and views.

Staying in touch

There are a few reasons why I changed my mind. Being on maternity leave can make you feel a bit cut off and sometimes a bit lonely. When you share photos of your baby and give updates on their progress it helps you feel a bit more connected. Plus I have made some new friends with babies the same age. It is a good way of staying in touch and get advice from other parents. But I know that not everyone feels the same way.

I am also a big fan of lots of bloggers who share funny stories from their day to day lives with their children.

What could happen to your pictures?

What does worry me is that once you post a picture – you no longer have complete control over what happens to them. I know lots of people have similar concerns and choose not to publish their children’s faces or making sure they don’t include locations of where they are. One of the stats that jumped out from today’s digital footprint report share 79 photos and 21 videos a year of their children.

Ways to protect your child online

Should we publish so much about our children online? Is publishing photos of the baby the wrong thing to do? Will it be a lasting legacy for my child, a permanent digital footprint? Will he turn round one day and ask me to take them down?

Children’s charities have urged parents to think twice about posting photographs of their children on social media. Here is some further guidance from the NSPCC.

We have already seen someone take their parents to court for sharing intimate photographs of their childhood. Could posting pictures online leave your child open to bullies who track down their childhood photos and use it as ammunition?

It is something that I will continue to think about as the baby grows up.

Family photo albums

When I was little baby photos were preserved inside precious family albums and things have definitely moved on.

Perhaps I  should go back to photo albums and sharing with close friends and family.

What do you think about this? What is the best way to protect our children online?