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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?

 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. 

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.

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. 

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. 
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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Shailaja V

Hi there! I'm Shailaja Vishwanath, a blogger with 12 years of blogging experience and a parent to a teen. I work as a digital marketing and social media consultant. From positive parenting tips to useful productivity hacks, social media advice to blogging advice, you'll find them all right here. Welcome to my blog.


Aparna · March 29, 2015 at 6:10 pm

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.

Shailaja V · March 29, 2015 at 6:14 pm

I know what you mean, Aparna 🙁 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.

SHANAYA TALES · March 29, 2015 at 6:35 pm

Oh, I do have a family pic as my profile photo on some of my accounts. 🙁 Need to change that. Thanks, Shailaja.

Shailaja V · March 29, 2015 at 6:52 pm

Yes, Shantala. Better play it safe on social media. You never know what can go wrong and when.

Laurel Regan · March 29, 2015 at 7:28 pm

Very wise words, Shailaja!

Rekha Dhyani · March 30, 2015 at 12:17 am

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

Shailaja V · March 30, 2015 at 3:03 am

Thank you, Laurel.

Shailaja V · March 30, 2015 at 3:04 am

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.

kaapitimes · March 30, 2015 at 3:31 am

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.

Rachna · March 30, 2015 at 4:02 am

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.

Shailaja V · March 30, 2015 at 4:10 am

Very glad to hear that, Lata! I am just hoping that the case for photo sharing becomes a little more stringent among people.

Shailaja V · March 30, 2015 at 4:22 am

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 🙁 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.

Debbie D. · March 30, 2015 at 6:33 am

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.

Shilpa Gupte · March 30, 2015 at 8:51 am

It is scary, but, it is a fact which parents need to be aware of, and be extra careful about.
Thank you for this post, Shailaja!

Keirthana · March 30, 2015 at 10:26 am

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.

Priya Mani · March 30, 2015 at 11:37 am

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! · March 30, 2015 at 6:51 pm

It's like you say – We all know it, but are we doing enough? Hopefully more people will sit up and take notice.

Crystal Foose · March 30, 2015 at 7:05 pm

I have decided to mostly just use pics of my kids from the back for my blog just to be on the safe side!

Shailaja V · March 31, 2015 at 7:36 am

Very true, Debbie and very scary. 🙁

Shailaja V · March 31, 2015 at 7:36 am

You are most welcome, Shilpa! Thanks for reading.

Shailaja V · March 31, 2015 at 7:37 am

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.

Shailaja V · March 31, 2015 at 7:38 am

Thank you so much, Priya. Much love to you for reading!

Shailaja V · March 31, 2015 at 7:39 am

Very true Sid. Let's hope this gets the attention of all who share their kids' pictures. Thank you for sharing the post.

Shailaja V · March 31, 2015 at 7:43 am

That is a very good idea, Crystal. I wish I had done that for a lot of my earlier pictures!

happinessandfood · April 1, 2015 at 9:27 am

Hey – This is a great post. I agree to all your comments and I kind of follow these rules to myself to advise friends who have kids. Loved reading all this at one place.

Shailaja Vishwanath · May 1, 2015 at 1:29 pm

Thank you so much Parul. I am glad you could relate to it!

sgk · May 13, 2015 at 7:35 am

This comment has been removed by the author.

sgk · May 13, 2015 at 7:35 am

great article.. make sure your child cybersmart! he needs to learn online safety rules. Educate ur child about Internet safety& get chance to win Disney goodies! Participate in our drawing #contest, click here #India

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