To Post or Not to Post: Should My Baby's Photos Stay Off Social Media?
Most parents feel that their child represents the perfect present. And while baby gifts are certainly appreciated at the baby shower or after families come home from the hospital, there's arguably nothing more precious than their new infant. Of course, one amazing way to commemorate this occasion is with one of the best gifts for new parents that exists: newborn photos or even family portraits.
That said, even the best baby gifts don't have to be publicly touted. To share is seen as a positive thing, but over-sharing doesn't have that same connotation. That's especially true when it comes to posting photos on social media platforms. There's nothing wrong with wanting to express your happiness or show off your unbelievably cute baby. But while baby photos make excellent gifts for first time mothers, it might be better to keep these memories as private as possible. Here's why.
Your social media posts could attract criminals
It may be hard to believe that someone would want to use your baby's photo to hurt others, but it's certainly been known to happen. Some parents have reported that their children's photos have been used in fraud or identity theft cases. It's easy enough to save a photo from Facebook and manipulate the image or even share it as is with a completely made-up name and accompanying story.
These tactics have been used to solicit donations from well-meaning people from all over the world. It's also possible that your child's photo could end up in the hands of someone with deviant thoughts or who even tries to pass off your child as their own on social media (a practice known as "digital kidnapping"). The chances of this happening may seem remote, but the risk is enough to keep many parents from posting images of their children anywhere on social media -- even on private accounts.
Your child may feel embarrassed or be bullied
An image you consider to be the greatest baby gift in the world might not be so well-received by your child as they grow up. Adolescence can be tough, even for the most well-adjusted among us. By the age of five, your child will start to develop their sense of self; if you post images or videos of them without their consent on social media, they may start to resent this behavior and their lack of control over how their likeness is being used.
Potentially, those posts could even be used by others to hurt your child emotionally. A photo that seems rather harmless could turn into ammunition for a bully. It's important to respect your child's privacy at any age. Subsequently, you might want to steer clear of posting their images on social media altogether.
You might be happier protecting those private moments
In the digital age, we tend to do everything online. We apply to jobs, shop for clothes, talk to friends, and buy first time mother gifts all thanks to the internet. But that doesn't mean you have to live your life through social media. We're just starting to see all the negative effects social media can have on our well-being -- and all the benefits that unplugging can have. Your family might actually feel relieved to not be forced to share every moment on social media.
The validation from likes and comments really can't compare to the warmth and love that will radiate within your own family. When Mother's Day was first celebrated over 100 years ago, we didn't have social media to share our well wishes and memories. Although many of us will gladly post a throwback with our moms, it might be nice if you gave your children the same option: to decide whether or not they want to share those photographic memoirs once they're old enough.
There's no doubt that capturing the moment can allow us to relive a lot of joy later on. You can certainly feel free to snap away, whether you're memorializing all the baby gifts you've received or the pivotal first moments of your child's world. But before you share them on social media, you might want to take a pause.