Recently, a North Carolina mom was temporarily banned from Facebook for posting a picture of her 2 year old daughter’s exposed bottom, in a photo attempting to recreate an old Coppertone ad. Facebook flagged the photo, claiming it violated their policies.
My initial thought was “Really?” Parents have been taking pictures like this of their little ones since cameras became mainstream! In general, it seems like these kind of photos are pretty much harmless. For the record, I don’t agree with the decision to flag the photo as inappropriate.
However, I do think it opens things up for discussion. Have we taken things too far when we flag something like this? Do we share too much online? Here’s a few of my own thoughts on why we might want to think twice before sharing online.
[Tweet “Online sharing…just because you can DOESN’T mean you should! Do we share too much? @dishofdailylife”]
Kids grow up.
I started blogging when my kids were teens and tweens. Facebook didn’t even exist when my kids were really little, so I never even had the opportunity to post those kind of pictures. Would I have? I don’t know. What I do know is that as kids get older, they become particular about what they’re willing to let their parents post. An occasional sports or family vacation picture seems to be okay. But my kids don’t want me sharing proud moments about accomplishments or grades. I’m very limited by what they are willing to let me share.
At some point that little girl from the story above is going to be a teenager. Someday she’ll be applying to colleges and entering the workforce. Is she going to be thrilled that a photo of her with her bathing suit bottom being pulled down is out there on the internet? Probably not.
The creepiness factor.
Sadly, I feel like I have to bring this up. There are psychos out there that get off on photos like that. It may seem very innocent to the vast majority of us, but there are some sick people out there. I’m not saying the mom shouldn’t have taken the picture. She could have easily just enjoyed it among her own family, or at the very least, adjusted her privacy settings to a very limited number of people. The rest of us didn’t need to see it. It’s not relevant to us, and it should be kept out of the hands of those who enjoy pictures like that in a creepier way.
Online is forever.
Sometimes I feel like we live our lives in a fishbowl, with social media and technology what it is today. The great thing about social sharing online is that we now have a way of easily sharing with family and friends…the not-so-great thing is that we are sharing intimate details of our lives with virtual strangers who really don’t need to know them, on public forums, where it remains accessible forever.
Once it’s online, it will be there forever. Even sharing privately isn’t completely safe. People download photos, and they take screenshots. So even if you share something privately, or delete it after the fact, there’s still a good chance it’s going to be floating around out there somewhere.
What are your feelings on this topic? How much do you share online? Do you think we as a society share too much? Have you ever regretted sharing something after the fact?
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CyberSafety: Keeping Teens Safe Online
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Tuesday 15th of July 2014
I agree with you. I always think three times before I post any pictures/ status updates/ blog posts about my kids.
Kenya G. Johnson
Monday 14th of July 2014
I can't think of anything that I've regretted sharing. But I've never shared a picture a picture of Christopher with his shirt off. Seeing him strain to make muscles when he was little was the funniest thing. There's one picture buried in my blog of him just in swimming trunks on the beach. I personally know that he thinks he's half naked with just swimming trunks on so I would never share on social media. I've see a lot of "adult" stuff that I'd rather not see on fb - mostly violent and I have reported a few. But I do think little kids bathing suit bottoms and even in their "toplessness" are super adorable.
Sunday 13th of July 2014
I do think we should be careful about what we post! Especially when it comes to our kids - they have no say in the matter, we don't know who's stalking our online worlds, and most of us are not careful enough about our privacy settings. Even when we are, they are changed so quickly that we have to stay informed 24/7 as to what they need to be on all our social media... so better safe than sorry. And would I want to see my baby pictures online. Never.
Saturday 12th of July 2014
My sharing of the kids or hubby is practically zilch. I'm just conscious that I don't own those moments in their entirety - I have a perspective as a participant that is mine alone just as they do. I remember how I felt as a teenager when mum even just talked about me - it felt patronising, without concern for my dignity. I'm mindful of that when I post. I'm also very thankful that I didn't have to contend with social media when I was younger - there was plenty of fodder for my utter and ongoing humiliation. I don't want my kids trying to build credibility, reputation and so on while dealing with my stories of what brats they were, their bowel movements or embarrassing photos. I know I would not have appreciated having to contend with extra and unnecessary hindrances put in my way by my own mother.
I think a good guide is - would you appreciate your kids or hubby sharing certain info about you without the courtesy of asking or tagging you in less than flattering or intimate photos?
Saturday 12th of July 2014
After reading this I actually went and double checked that my personal FB wasn't set to public. It's not, I didn't think so but it doesn't hurt to check every once in awhile.
I think the biggest thing for me is what your kids will think when they're older. My son (22) shut down his FB page when he was a Sophmore in HS because he didn't like that we shared photos of him and his friends could see them when he was tagged. He recently put it back up since he moved out and it's an easy way to stay connected. He's had it up all of two months and is already thinking of shutting it down because my mom participates in #tbt and tags him. It really ticks him off. Now that my kids are grown and social media has been around longer it occurs to me that perhaps we should check in with them each year, maybe on their birthday, and find out how comfortable they are with you sharing these things.