For some of us, it’s second nature. As soon as your child does anything, take a photo. Wandering around in a nappy, face covered in chocolate, waving at you – click! Adorable. Put it up on Facebook. Add it to Instagram. Share with all your friends and relatives. Use it as your phone’s wallpaper. Make it into a keepsake. Share, share, and share again. Of course we do! We want everyone to see how amazing our little ones are. We want to share it with everyone we care about.
But not everyone agrees. Some parents prefer to keep their children away from social media altogether – no photos, no posts, no first names, no anything. Some do it, they say, because their children can’t give consent for their photos to be shared. Others don’t want to create a digital footprint for their sons and daughters that can be tracked down in future.
Our generation didn’t have to deal with it – the internet was in its early stages, or didn’t exist at all. We didn’t have to worry, when we went to school, that our classmates, friends or enemies could search out photos of us from when we were small, or when we were children. We didn’t worry, when potential employers looked us up, that they could search for everything we’d ever done or everywhere we’d ever been.
It gives me reason to pause, when I take a picture of my daughter, that I’m not simply making a photograph that can be passed around a limited number of people. What happens if someone you don’t know “likes” a picture of your child? Does that make you glow with pride at how cute they are, or… do you start to worry about who’s looking at their photos? And why?
As a general rule, my partner and I don’t upload any photos of our daughter unless we’ve cleared it with each other. It’s not really having a veto so much as just letting the other partner know what we’re doing. Does that sound daft to you, or can you see the point? Or shouldn’t it matter at all?
Our children are living in a digital world, where images are easily shared. Once someone has right-clicked on your photo, it’s not yours anymore. That image of your child can be used for anything, by anyone. Even if you know everyone on Facebook, is that enough? Or should we be more careful?