Monday, 11 May 2015

Why I Never Post Pics of My Kids Online

Some of you may be wondering why my children, Noodle and Squish, feature so prominently on this blog, yet there are no photo's of them here. Yes, they really exist and no they are not butt ugly -in fact, in my (only slightly biased) mommy opinion they are exceptionally good looking and cute.

I completely understand the appeal of posting those innocent baby photographs- there is something about the joy and innocence captured in these pictures that makes parents swell with pride and rush to share these with the world. You want to share your happiness, the funny moments and all those special milestones. However, each share of these moments shared may have unforeseen consequences and this really worries me.

Even before I began blogging, when A and I had children, we made a decision from day one that we would not be posting pictures of them on social media. Back then, our social media influence extended primarily to Facebook. Despite personally knowing each of my few hundred contacts, some are former school friends that I had not seen in decades, random work colleagues etc. Who knows if any of them are in fact undercover paedophiles or child traffickers? In addition, Facebook is constantly changing its terms of use and privacy settings- who knows where these images will pop up in twenty years from now.

I think few people realise the permanence of images on the web. Every time you post pictures online, these are stored, with the potential for anyone to access these at a later time. Your child, too young to consent to his or her pictures flooding the internet, already has an online history, some of which he or she may not want shared with the world at a later date. As the guardian, for the time-being, of your child's online identity, you have a responsibility towards them. Maybe I am just a paranoid mom, but there are sicko's out there. Each little piece of information may unlock one piece of a puzzle in a criminal's pursuit at untoward activity, whether it be child trafficking or identity theft. Even corporate mining of information may have undesired consequences (yes, true fact, our larger corporates really do have intelligence centres that already know more about us than we do). We already have geo-tracking and facial recognition technology. Who knows what further information may be gleaned from photographs in a few years from now.

When I started blogging, it was an automatic decision that photographs of my children would not feature on my blog (other than the occasional hand or foot that makes it into photographs). I even took it a step further, using pseudonyms for all of us. Besides all the horror scenario's I already mentioned, I do not want to inadvertantly publish some miniscule detail about my son or daughter which crops up somewhere when they are applying for their first jobs or be the reason they get bullied in high school.

I see many bloggers who post thousands of photographs of their little angels online. I can certainly see why- this helps build a repertoire with readership and makes bloggers and their families come across as likeable and relatable. Oh and most of them are just so darn cute! Most of the bloggers I know have super adorable kids!

However,  I fear that for bloggers, this is even more risky as you are posting so many other minute details about the lives of you and your family and that this, together with photographs make it easy for ill-intentioned individuals to gather private information. P.S. I am not judging anybody's decision to do so- to each his own (oh except when you post naked bath pictures online, then maybe I am judging your discretion a little bit), but I just wanted to share my reasons for not sharing.

What do you think? Am I being overly protective? Are there other parents like us out there? I would love to hear from you.