I recently signed up for an Instagram account…and then as was pointed out by a few people…neglected to post any pictures on it for a week or so.
The existence of Instagram, cell phone cameras, and good cell-phone or wireless internet availability means there is no shortage of pictures online, including of people’s kids. Lots and lots of pictures of people’s kids.
As a general rule, Jenn and I have avoided posting pictures of the kids, or at least pictures that are easily identifiable as them, or where their faces are clearly visible.
Why? I’m not really sure.
It’s not that we don’t have pictures of the kids. We also carry around our cell phones, and snap a photo when we see them doing something particularly cute.
In part, it’s the idea that things on the internet are open to everyone, and forever.
In part, it’s because of the ubiquity of kids’ photos online. The kids and their antics may be cute to us, but I’m not sure the whole world cares. If they want to see pictures, we can share them at some later date, or some other way.
And in part, it’s because our kids are too young to have a say in the matter of whether their photos are online or not, so we will opt on the side of caution and not post any picture.
(Miss E. is even challenging our decisions now. We had initially said we didn’t want her picture taken at day-care, but we changed our mind around Hallowe’en when she was upset a picture of her in costume wasn’t on the board with everyone else. And when she is old enough to have her own tech and be on social media, I’m sure she’ll post enough pictures to make up for the lost time.)
This can be difficult however, because other people don’t seem to have the same problem. Plenty of people post pictures of their kids, from the day they are born onward. That’s fine. It’s your kid.
But more troubling is when people take pictures in public and post them, or in places where they really shouldn’t be taking pictures at all, such as at the swimming pool.
Miss E. has been in swimming since a young age. Up until recently, it had been a parent-and-tot class, where she went in with one of us. Each class participants would have one day where they could take photos of the parent and kid together, but only on that day, and only of their own kid.
She is now in the class with other kids, no parents. Now the rule is supposedly ‘no pictures’. Yet, we continually see people at the pool, cell phones out, taking pictures of their kid at the pool. And they don’t seem to see it as a problem.
I don’t know if I’m being overly-protective or sensitive, but even in a society where there is no end to photos and sharing, there should be some places where people stop and think about what they are doing, what pictures they are taking and whether they really need to have a picture to post to social media, instead of just watching the event as it happens.