My husband Dil and I made a decision about our child, Ru, before she was born; a decision that, thankfully, we were both on the same page about.
We were not going to post any pictures of her online, nor were we going to allow anyone else to post photos of her.
Sounds simple enough, but man! People go crazy over photos! Especially of babies. It’s almost like they feel it’s every parent’s obligation to post photos of their children. I compiled a list of reasons why we came upon our decision and had it ready to bust out when people would question it.
Here is that list:
For Ru’s safety.
This is our number one reason and priority. Horrific stories of kidnappings and trafficking plague the news every day. Criminals prowl and sift through the internet to get their hands on any images of vulnerable people they can, and they are masters of piecing together information. In my view, it is too risky for me to have Ru’s images on the internet. I was always told that when I put things on the internet, whether it be words, images, videos, or works, it is like I am screaming that content to the world. That is what the internet is, and anyone can access what I put out.
For Ru’s privacy.
Funny anecdote: There were a couple of times when people who, upon hearing I don’t want pics of my kid online, became quite concerned and interrogated me. All that was missing was a bright light being shined on my face. With their eyes narrowed and brows furrowed, they asked "so what if, when she grows up, she wants to post pictures of herself? You're not going to allow that? You’re not going to control her, are you?”
I wanted to either roll my eyes so hard they would get stuck in the back of my head or sucker punch them in their judgmental mouths heehee. Because I was so tired, I went the eye-rolling route.
I responded by saying that my child will make her own decisions when she is older. It doesn't matter if she is a baby, toddler, child, teenager, or adult. She deserves to have her privacy respected regardless of her age. She can decide how private her life should be and create her own boundaries as she grows, but for now, as her parent, it is my duty to set those boundaries for her and ensure they are not crossed.
To give my child the option to decide for herself whether or not she will have an online presence.
I had a discussion with one of my friends who was getting ready to have a baby, and who also did not want her child’s photos on the internet. This was one of her reasons, and she worded it beautifully: she wants her child to be able to have autonomy over his/her online presence just like she did. This makes complete sense, and there is so much wisdom in this. So now, it is included as one of my reasons as well :-)
I don't want to draw unnecessary attention to my child.
There is no need for it, and nothing good comes out of it. However, I always make sure to say that this does NOT mean that whoever does post photos of their kids is only doing it for attention. This doesn’t mean that at all. This is just a reminder for myself first and foremost to make sure I (and Ru, really) stay humble and keep our feet firmly grounded. So many kids and teens (heck, even adults) measure their worth based on how many likes their photos get. This knowledge sends chills down my spine. I want to protect Ru from that as much as I can, and instill in her enough confidence, a sense of worth and value, and stability to ride through that when the time comes.
We never know what someone on our friends' list is going through.
Everyone has struggles. Whoever says they don’t is flat out LYING. Someone could be having trouble conceiving, someone could be unable to have children altogether, someone could be going through loss of pregnancy or loss of a child. I do not want to inadvertently throw my kid’s photos and my happiness in their faces (again, this is just my own reasoning for myself. I don’t mean that anyone who does post photos of their kids is doing that. I am only talking about myself here and am not dictating what others should or should not do. )
This is also why Dil and I didn't post pictures of our wedding. I personally know people who wanted desperately to find someone and get married and would get really envious of others who were in relationships before them. A lot of times, these people could not help how they felt.
My advice: never expect people to remember your boundaries for your child. I take it upon myself to remind people of them whenever I see them taking pictures of my baby, because I know that people can forget and accidentally post online. It just happens. A casual, friendly reminder helps them to become more mindful of it. Remain transparent and approachable about your reasoning, and always take the trouble to emphasize that it is your own personal choice and it does not reflect on others' decisions to post pictures of their kids. Stress that everyone has their own comfort zones and boundaries and that you respect all of those definitions.
Live and let live.
Note: I also will not post photos of my husband unless he decides he wants it to be done for some of the same reasons.