Sharing kids’ pictures online: 3 things you should know

Sharing kids’ pictures online: 3 things you should know

Yes, this is a parenting blog, so you’d expect that I would be sharing quite a bit about my kid here and that may necessarily involve pictures of my child online. Sharing kids’ pictures online is a very common activity these days, one that we all indulge in. But, do we know of the pitfalls?

As recently as three days ago, I received unwelcome messages through social media from an acquaintance who chose to make inappropriate comments on a profile picture of mine. Suffice to say, the comments were creepy enough for me to block him on every social media channel possible! This got me thinking: how would I feel if my child or any child was the recipient of such messages? It starts with the sharing of pictures, after all.

What is it about sharing kids’ pictures online must you keep in mind, even as a parent blogger?

ย Here are some pointers which I have learnt to follow:

  • Limit the Audience:

Children are naturally photogenic. Their smiles light up a room and our hearts almost instantly. It’s but natural that you’d want to share those precious moments. And you should. But, not with the world at large. Create a private photo album on Google Plus or Flickr and share that link by e-mail with close friends and family.ย 

If that is too time-consuming and you are naturally more active on social media, use a filter for your friend circle and share the album only with ‘Close friends’ or ‘Family’. Check the small ‘wheel’ under photos each time you post something on Facebook and ensure that it is NOT set to ‘Public’. For this reason, it makes sense not to share your child’s photo as your Facebook profile picture or the cover photo, since those are always set to ‘Public’ view.

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  • Avoid Specifics:

Don’t caption photos of your kids on your blog, Twitter or Instagram with titles such as ‘Had such a fabulous time at the park that’s hardly a five-minute walk from home.’ Did you know your phone/ device has something called a GPS locator? And while you may have taken every precaution to switch it off, your data is sometimes collected anonymously. The Web is a dangerous place and you really do not want some creepy stalker landing up at your doorstep or anywhere within a five-mile radius of your home.

  • Ensure they are fully clothed:

This seems like a no-brainer, because, who’s going to post pictures of their newborns/kids in all their glory? No, what I meant is those moments when you capture the kids in a moment of free play and you don’t realise that the pants were riding a bit low, revealing a bit of their derriere or that they were flashing their knickers during a pillow fight. While this may not seem like such a big deal to most people, it is definitely a teaser for pedophiles out there.ย 

As much as I love social media, being connected to people from all over the world and sharing my A-ha moments in parenting and blogging, I have learnt to be very cautious when it comes right down to the nitty-gritty of photo sharing. To be honest, I have shared a fair number of pictures online in the past and there’s no telling how much of it I can actually delete now.ย 

But, at the very least, I can now ensure that photos of my child are not misused, by not sharing them with the world at large.


What else do you do to ensure the safety of your children’s photos online?

Do share in the comments.


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30 thoughts on “Sharing kids’ pictures online: 3 things you should know

  1. I was nodding my head to every line Shailaja, all parents must read this one :). The thing that stumps me the most is when a parent opts to use a child's pic as their profile pic – I mean, what does that accomplish at all other than exposing the pic as public and not really helping me figure out who it is either :P.

  2. I know what you mean, Aparna ๐Ÿ™ It is rather scary when you hear of the growing number of cases where children are kidnapped using such devious methods these days and social media sharing seems to be helping that along. I do hope people exercise more discretion when they share pictures.

  3. I learnt the importance of the restricted list through my experience. I am not sure if you know about it but in September last year I fought a legal battle for a profile picture of mine shared by fake profiles tgat shared womens' pictures without their knowledge. Teo of my posts will sum up the lessons and my ordeal. Will share the links with you short

  4. Yes, I do remember that experience and was horrified when you went through it, Rekha! I recall becoming extremely careful about sharing my own pictures after that. Now, my personal photo albums are heavily restricted.

  5. Thanks Shailaja for this post.. I wish more people understand this. I've stopped posting children's picts on facebook and anywhere for that matter. Or send to only limited people.

  6. I follow all these now though earlier I wasn't as vigilant earlier. You know what I don't even trust FB anymore because they randomly change their privacy policies. Also profile pics though public can be immediately set to friends only. I see many people leave their pics public. I am also wary of commenting on public threads these days.

  7. I know, Rachna. Shocks me to see pictures of kids in profile pictures clearly set to 'Public'. I agree that profile pictures can be set to 'Friends' only, but the thumbnail, sadly, is still accessible to Public. I realised that bit recently ๐Ÿ™ As I was telling another friend, we also need a profile picture as we are bloggers on social media, but this just gets scary at times.

  8. This is certainly an important issue and you offer excellent advice, Shailaja. The newspapers are filled with sad stories of children falling prey to molesters.

  9. This is not only for kids, for adults too. It is scarier when we think about kids in the position. There are so many ways our personal data is being sold and who knows where and to whom our data is reaching! Social media is as dangerous as it can get. This post is a must read for all of us.

  10. Not a word extra. You've handled the issue sensitively and the message hits home straight. It's alarming the world is such an unsafe place for our little ones, that we need to shield them in our virtual and real lives… Loved this post!

  11. Thank you for that, Keirthana. Indeed, I am so wary of sharing photos on social media these days. The rampant misuse of information is frightening, to say the least. Hope more people read this post.

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