Sharing Photos of Your Children Safely Online

How to Safely Share Photos of Your Children Online

If you’ve been reading this blog for long, you’ll notice that I don’t share any photos of my family here. It’s a conscience decision I’ve made to protect my children’s privacy. I’ll use stock photos of other children (who have given permission to have their photos available for use). Everyone has their own comfort level of sharing when it comes to photos. I do share photos of my children (occasionally) on our Facebook and Instagram pages. (Follow us there to see our real life!)

It can be really disturbing to think about all the things that can happen to photos of your children when you post them online. People can steal them for advertisements, memes, and even pornography. They can stalk your children through identifying features and even arrange to meet them (scary!) But what about Grandma, who wants to see them (before she dies?!?!) Maybe you’re pregnant with your first and you want to announce to the world when Junior is born; maybe you’re like me, and you’ve put your five children all over Facebook already. So how can you protect your children’s photos online?

Don’t post photos that might embarrass them.

Not sure what might embarrass them? Just imagine what would embarrass you, and go from there. Still unsure? Picture this: I have a photo of one of my children around the age of 2, standing in the toilet with no pants or underwear on; you can see his butt cheeks and he’s looking back at me, laughing. Cute? Yes. Funny? Yes. Embarrassing? YES! So it’s not going online. (It is in a scrapbook, though!)

Don’t post pictures of other people’s children without asking the parent’s permission.

Some parents are very cautious and never post their children online. I actually have a family member who only allows photos of his child on a private family Facebook group. Looking at his personal Facebook page, you’d never know he even had a child! So don’t post without permission.

Don’t allow other people to tag themselves in your pictures.

I have had a family member tag himself in a photo that had my children in it, and all of a sudden people I didn’t know, who don’t even live in my state (or country!) started liking and commenting on the picture. I did not like that at all. So be careful about allowing it.

Don’t post photos that give information about where your child hangs out.

For example, school uniforms with a logo on it, or standing in front of a school sign area dead giveaways. A quick search online would give start and end times for the school; this is especially concerning if your child walks home from school.

Don’t post nude or nearly-nude photos of your children.

Don't post photos of your children when they are nude or nearly nude.

This is not something you’d probably do once your kids get older, but those cute toddler bathtub photos? Your child in their brand new underwear because they’re potty trained now? Yeah…But seriously, even think about those bathing suit pictures at the beach. You have to be very careful what body parts you are allowing other people to see on your children.

So that’s a lot of Don’ts! What are some things you CAN do?

Double check your privacy settings and your check-ins.

It is so easy to just check in without realizing that over time you are giving away regular schedules and routines. If anyone is keeping an eye on you, they can figure out that you always go to the ball park on Mondays, the park on Thursday mornings and that you have a membership to the zoo.

Post photos of your children WITH you!

Protect your children by posting photos of you WITH your child.

First, your friends want to see you as well as your children. Second, if you are in the shot, it’s more difficult to crop you out to get just your child in the photo.

Make the photos with your children private.

There are several different ways to do this on the different social media sites. This infographic has great information on all of them!

Watermark your photos.

There are several apps and programs that will do it for you. While this won’t always 100% stop people from stealing your photos, it’s more likely to keep them safe because it makes it more difficult for people to doctor them. EZY-Watermark Lite is free, while A+ SignatureiWatermark, and Marksta each cost $2.

Make the photo a lower resolution.

It won’t make a difference on Facebook or Instagram because the photos are so small. It will make a difference, however, when someone tries to print it out or blow it up for an advertisement or other nefarious reasons. It will become to grainy and pixelated to use.

 

Don’t let the horror stories scare you from sharing your life (which includes your children!) with family and friends online. Instead, just take these steps to help protect your photos and children. While you’re doing this, teach your children to follow the same rules when they join the land of social media. It takes a few extra steps, but in the end, the protection is worth it.

 

2 Comments

  • Bernadette of Mom+Carrot February 13, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    Thank you for sharing, I found this really helpful. I am one of those people who doesn’t feel comfortable sharing my child online. I never show the front of my child, and I never mention her name. I use watermarks all the time. I loved the tips about making photos lower resolution and including myself in the pictures.

    Reply
  • Lisa February 28, 2017 at 10:23 am

    I could not agree more with you on this. I only have one little girl right now, but since she has been born we have been so overprotective about sharing her with the “world.” Yet, I constantly get “garbage” from my inlaws about how we are sheltering her from everyone. Some people just do not understand how once a photo gets out you have no control who ends up with it. Plus our biggest reason for not sharing our children is to protect her privacy. At 16 months she is not old enough to protect her own privacy so we feel as parents we should be doing this. I am so glad I came across this post, I cannot relate to many people on this matter! 🙂

    Reply

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