Social media is a huge and exciting part of our everyday lives. Being able to share glimpses of our day, as well as our children’s lives with relatives and friends who live far away is one of the best parts of modern day technology. However, when it comes to posting pictures of our children, we need to be discerning about what we are posting on public accounts.
Nowadays, with the rise of Instagram influencers, online businesses, and brand ambassadors, the idea of having a public account and gaining a following can be very appealing and beneficial to a mom who wants to earn money while working from home. With all of the benefits and opportunities that come along with having public social media accounts, there are still negatives, and we need to ask ourselves what price our children’s privacy is worth. As parents, it is our job to protect our children from as many evils in the world as we possibly can and that includes evils in the virtual world.
Deciding if a photo of your child is appropriate to post can definitely be challenging. Here is a quick and simple rule to help you make your decision.
The 10/10/K Rule for Posting Pictures of your Children Online.
10- Would you post that photo if your child was 10 years older?
Sure a photo of your 2 year old’s dimply bum is adorable and there are few things sweeter than the joy of a toddler splashing around in a bath tub, but would you post a photo of your 12 years old daughter bare bottom on Instagram or a photo of your 13 year old son taking a bath with nothing more than a smiley face emoji covering his private areas? I’m willing to bet that the majority answered no.
We know that there are pedophiles and people with impure intentions on the internet. We know that it is inappropriate, dangerous, and in some cases illegal to post nude or semi-nude photos of our children on the internet. However, for some reason we seem to forget about this information when it comes to those most vulnerable, our very young children. Children are born with a right to privacy and while we as parents are given the right to dictate which areas of their lives should remain private and which areas can be public, we should always have our children’s best interests in mind.
This article by the National Post takes parents into the world and mind of a social media pedophile. In the article it states that, “One Australian study found roughly half of images shared on pedophile sites were taken from social media sites.” There is no way to ignore the fact that the internet can be a very dangerous place. A simple rule of thumb is, if you wouldn’t feel it was appropriate to post a photo of your teenager in a certain situation, then, if in doubt, it is most likely not appropriate to post a photo of your younger child in that situation.
10- In 10 years will your child appreciate having that photo on the internet?
Once you post a photo on the internet, it is on the internet forever. This means that 5, 10, even 20 years from now your child’s friends have the power to potentially google every photo of your child you post online. Kids can be cruel and the last thing we should want to do as parents is provide our children’s peers with ammunition to hurt their feelings or ridicule them.
Photos such as our kids sitting on a toilet or in embarrassing situations may seem cute now but could likely cause our kids pain in the future. Before our children are old enough to voice their opinions on whether or not they want us to post a photo, we need to be their voice. We need to critically examine every photo we post of our children to public accounts and ask ourselves if this is a photo that will embarrass them in the future.
K- Kinsley Raina
I want to leave you with a cautionary tale. Kinsley Wilcox is an adorable little girl who unfortunately became victim to the dark side of the internet. After Tiffany Wilcox gave birth to her daughter Kinsley in 2015, like most parents, her Instagram account began to mostly consist of photos of her daughter. In just a few months, she quickly gained a rather large following and went viral just a few months later after posting this picture of Kinsley.
As the Kinsley Raina account continued to grow, the toddler began to attract negative and lewd attention. Kinsley’s photos began receiving tons of inappropriate and sexual comments from grown men. Several of Wilcox’s daughter’s photos became cruel memes and others were photo-shopped in unflattering ways. The worried Mother wrote a post asking to be tagged in all photos of her daughter once she realized how severe the situation had become. Unfortunately, by that point her daughter’s photos had been shared almost 1 million times, and it was too late to get a hold of the situation.
Tiffany began receiving comments from viewers accusing her of being a bad mother, saying that she was exploiting her child, several threatened to call Child Protection Services to have her child taken away, and one accuser even created an online campaign to force her to shut down her Instagram account. Fearing for her child’s safety and her own sanity, she finally decided to close down her Instagram page in the end of 2016. She has since reevaluated what she chooses to post and is taking the appropriate measures to ensure her child’s innocence and privacy are maintained.
Let this unfortunate story remind us all that no amount of internet fame or money is worth our children’s safety and respect. We are our children’s best defense against online predators and we must take our role seriously.