Kids deserve privacy, too

Recently, Stephen sent me this Slate article about the privacy of children in today’s online world.  The author says she posts no photos or videos of her child online, and she and her husband went so far as to run their name selection through a google search to see what came up.  They also set up an email address, a domain name, and social media accounts for their daughter when she was born.

It’s true that anything we post online is, or potentially will be, available to the public at large someday, even if you keep a tight reign on your privacy settings.  We (society) have been trying to drill this into the heads of young people for years now.  We admonish them to think about what they post, what photos they take.  Teachers and parents have tried to prove to kids how quickly things can go viral (and wrong!) by using “Like this photo” posts on facebook.  Of course, some adults should probably think twice about what they post, as well… (No, dear, not you!)

I had already sworn to myself that  I would not be one of those people on facebook that only posts photos of their children.  I have friends who do that and I have to say, I’d like to see more of YOU, and less of your child than what I currently see.  (No, no, dear friend, I’m not talking about you!)   My facebook account is about my life, and, hopefully, there will be far more going on in my life than just my child.  Yes, you can laugh at me now, but I do not want my child to become the only thing in my world.  I hope to still have my own passions outside of my child, and I hope to have other things to talk about.  I figured I would post a few photos here and there, though, since he will be part of my life, and it’s the easiest way for extended family and distant friends to see the baby.

I had also already decided to keep all distinguishing photos of Baby J off my blog, and to continue referring to him as Baby J, even after we do have a name for him.  What I mean by that is, I might post a photo of his foot or his head, but not his face.  Private photo sharing and video accounts will be accessible only to those people who have the full link.  I don’t want cute/funny videos of him to go viral, and, especially as he gets older, I don’t want strangers to have access to pictures of him to do God Knows What with (if you know what I mean).

Stephen and I discussed it, and he agreed that the author of the original article went a tad bit overboard, and he’s okay with my current privacy plans.  They may evolve.  I admit, I may end up being one of those parents whose whole lives revolve around the child.  My facebook friends may be wondering what I look like in a year, because the only photos I post (including my profile picture) are of my child.  But I seriously hope not.

What are your thoughts on this subject?  Is it completely okay with you that strangers may be able to access photos and videos of your kids?  Are you just as privacy minded as the author of the Slate article?  Let me know by commenting below!

Categories: Here Comes Baby | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Kids deserve privacy, too

  1. Mary

    I did not post a whole lot before the twins. I probably hashed and traveled more then. So I would post those photos, but I felt like I didn’t post that much in general. Now that I have the twins and Mom and Dad do not see them much, I feel like if I have a good picture or video I should share so my parents can feel like they know the babies. I guess I could go through the trouble of making a page for them or whatever. I actually made a group of friends just for my pregnancy in the beginning and not a page. Then I had friends here and there that said they wanted to know stuff. So instead of spending all my time putting friends in the group and taking friends off the group, I decided to just post what I want on my own page. If people felt like it was too much they could hide me or unfriend me. I just didn’t have time to care. I have privacy settings on my FB page set the way I think they should. If ever someone points out an issue, I correct it. I do have one rule that I have kept with two exceptions. If my profile picture is of a person, I am always in it. It might be me and the twins or me and someone else, but I am to always be in the picture. I can have just the twins or whatever in my cover photo, but my mug is to always be in the profile picture. The only time I broke this rule is Halloween and their first birthday. The reason was because my vision for the costumes came through and I thought it was so cool. The first birthday was a big deal because . . . well just wait and see. Of course FB isn’t really my life. That is something else important to know. It is only what I choose to show. So when you look at picture perfect mom over there and wish you could do what she does, just know her real life is not her FB profile.

    • I have a couple of facebook friends that *literally* haven’t posted a photo of themselves in over three years. I know exactly how their kids have looked throughout that time, but I have no idea what *my friend* looks like anymore. Your posts have never annoyed me, though! 🙂

      As I said, I get that FB (and other sites) are the easiest ways to keep friends and family up to date on things going on in Baby’s life. I’m really okay with that. I just really feel like some people could use a reminder that (a) I still want to know about *you*, and (b) you know that photo/funny comment/action could possibly come up during your child’s job interview in 20 years, right? Ii just think some people need to be a bit smarter about these things is all.

      And not bombard me with 500 photos of their child hunting easter eggs. 🙂

      • Mary

        Yeah the profile picture is a pet peeve of mine. That is why I made that “rule” for myself. It is especially annoying when someone tries to friend you. It is even more so for a hasher with kids. I probably do not know your nerd name and if that is the case, then I am sure I do not know what your kid looks like.

  2. I read that article a while back, too and think there are some good points, even if they go a bit overboard. I had the same rule as Mary regarding FB profile pic — it would always include me. And I didn’t care too much about posting on FB because we live far from our entire families and it was the easiest way to keep everyone updated on M’s growth, etc. But then I was annoyed that I had my blog, my private family website (for my siblings & parents that my brother has maintained for the last 10 years), instagram, Facebook — all places to update. It was too much. Got rid of Facebook in January (and deleted, not deactivated it…so all that stuff isn’t just being stored somewhere. it’s totally gone) and have been limiting most of my pictures to Instagram which is set up to require permission to view. It works for us now though I may change some things as M gets older and can have an opinion about what she wants out there. Same as posting pics or things about Jon — I don’t post without his permission and he has veto power. Once M can voice her opinion, I’ll give her the same right.

    • Yeah, I have the same rule with Stephen. I even didn’t call him by name at first, but then he said he didn’t care. Most of the time I don’t ask him if it’s okay if I post something, because I think it’s innocuous enough, but I have asked him a few times, and he always has veto power.

  3. anonymous

    “The Convention also acknowledges that children have the right to express their opinions and to have those opinions heard and acted upon when appropriate, to be protected from abuse or exploitation, and to have their privacy protected, and it requires that their lives not be subject to excessive interference.”

    The thing is, anyone doing this is, on behalf of their child, making long-reaching decisions, that they will be facing the consequences of for their whole life. While you might be able to erase that stuff from the public internet, you can’t get that information out of the databases of the privacy-eroding social-media industry, where the users are not their clients but their product. It makes it that more difficult for them to evade corporate invasions to their private should they choose to do so later. (FWIW I hope they do.) You’re also setting them up for having their identities stolen, etc. Most security questions, for example, use personal details usually kept private, but nowadays shared all over the internet.

  4. “While you might be able to erase that stuff from the public internet, you can’t get that information out of the databases of the privacy-eroding social-media industry, where the users are not their clients but their product.”

    I think this is what worries me the most, and why I intend (and hope to follow through with that intention) to be very careful about what I post, even on “Private” social media accounts. I read terms of service with a magnifying glass, and have not signed up for things in the past because of certain privacy clauses.

    • anonyymi

      Terms of service may not help you. If the company goes belly-up, then all it’s assets, including all your private information, will be sold off to someone who does not have to abide by those terms. (Your contract is with the original company, remember? That’s now gone.) Frankly, if at all possible, you should use Finnish companies because of the legislation.

      Also, the terms of service may have some interesting provisions for changing those terms. They might get to change those terms (i.e. essentially relicense your data) at any time without any prior notice. If that is possible, anything else they’ve written there means diddly-squat.

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