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Offspring online: Should we share our kids?

Fat Mum Slim /

When my little sister was about 4 she fell asleep in the bath. We thought it was hilarious because she was like the energiser bunny, filled with energy, she never stopped. And this one time we found her lying in the bath asleep {could have possibly been dangerous now I think of it, but she’s alive and well so let’s leave that there}. We thought it was so funny/cute/interesting that we took a photo of her. We got out our old school camera {this was well before digital} and we took a few snaps, and said nothing more.

Now remember old school cameras? They came with film that had 24 to 36 shots in it. Some snap-happy families might have whizzed through that film in an hour or even a day, but not my family. We weren’t big photo-takers {surprise!}. One film alone could have pics of Nancy’s birthday, Tim on his bike, Christmas, Easter and Jenna in the bath.

So once the film had finished we took it to the shop to get it developed. By this time we’d totally forgotten about the bath shots. When we picked up the film, we flicked through the photos with great excitement. All four kids stood around the pile of photos, while still in the shopping centre, moving through each photo. And then came the photo of my little sister in the bath.

She was mortified. Angry. Upset. Even at just 4 years of age. A tantrum ensued. We had to put the photos in the bin as soon as we got home. She couldn’t believe that the person at the photography shop saw those photos or that we’d even took them. Horrified little 4 year old.

So, when I think back to that moment and how mortifying it was for her – it makes me compare to today. In reality how many people saw that moment? There’s 6 in my family, plus that person developing those photos… so say 7? Yes, seven.

A child has a moment now, perhaps even the exact same bath moment and a parent can think it’s so hilariously funny that they put it on Facebook where it’s seen by any number of people, and potentially their friends. That’s the new normal, right?

I’ve read a little lately about people, particularly bloggers, ‘damaging’ their children by sharing their photos and stories online. I have to be honest. When I first started blogging I didn’t give it a second thought. I was so darn proud, excited of having this cute little baby that I shared her. A few photos here, a few stories there…

I liken bloggers to celebrities. No, bloggers aren’t celebrities but there are usually two parties when it comes to sharing their children online. On one hand you’ve got the celebs who don’t ever share their children, their names or anything else about them. And then there’s the sharers. The celebs who share photos, stories and even upload content to their own social media accounts about them.

Bloggers are similar. Some share everything, embarrassing stories and funny photos. Others give them pseudonyms {Mr. Blue and Miss. Pink for example} and never show their faces, but sometimes their stories. Other bloggers fit somewhere in between.

Parents on Facebook are similar too; sharers and not-so-much-sharers.

I started sharing less of Lacey over the years. I knew that when she was 4 or so I wouldn’t write much about her all. She’s not mine. I’m just minding her, nurturing her until she’s ready to go out until the world on her own {which is hopefully later rather than sooner}. I’ve written many things about her, but mostly my experiences as a parent of her. I’ve told my stories, rather than her stories {or perhaps that’s the same thing}.

I shared a photo of her, including her face, earlier last year. It wasn’t something I’d done in a while. but I did. And someone {a guy} left a comment, “I’d bang that!”

I nearly vomited.

And then I go back to that photo of my sister in the bath. What if my parents had Facebook back then? What if they’d shared that? How would I feel if my little life was made public without my say-so or permission at that age?

I was super, painfully shy as a kid. And even now I don’t like attention put on me. So I wouldn’t have liked it very much. Of course I’d loved if my Ma had written, “So proud of Chantelle. She aced her maths exam!” But it’s all the other stuff that goes with it that I would have cringed at, I’m sure.

I think there is a new normal, but like anything with parenting I worry. Just like: Am I feeding her the best foods? Am I stimulating her mentally enough? Should I send her to school early, or hold her back a year? Should I share photos of her online?

We’re not in the 1980’s anymore though. So we’ve moved with the times and technology is here. To stay. What’s the new normal? What’s acceptable? Are we damaging our children by sharing them online? As bloggers and parents who Facebook? Would you have been OK with your parents sharing your life online back then?

Do you have rules that you set in regards to sharing your kids online? Is it something you think about?

photo credit: Greenpin Chang via photopin cc

  • I don’t have kids, but this is something that I’ve always wondered about sharing your child’s life online, and the long-term consequences of such.

    Perhaps it will start out with kids being embarrassed as the early blogging adopters deal with their kids growing up. I’m wondering if the kids born now will see it as a fact of life, though.

    Great post, Telle. x

    • Did you see Jodie Foster’s speech yesterday? That got my mind ticking about living life in private and what’s her business, and our business.

      I’d like to know the consequences too…

      • Yes! “Privacy.. one day, people will look back and remember how beautiful it was”

        Imagine if younger kids could decide what we write about them? “Darling, can I write about you on the internet? Where strangers will know your story?”. It’ll be interesting when we find out the real answers x

  • Jenn

    I’m curious to hear what other moms/bloggers out there have to say about this. It’s definitely something I’m thinking about. I recently started up a blog to share my 1st pregnancy with friends and family. I know I don’t want to OVERshare publicly so I’ll most likely use pseudonyms for their names, but I’m torn with the idea of sharing photos. I don’t live around any of my high school and work friends from the past (ones I still communicate with on Facebook) and I don’t live near MY family (we live near my husband’s family) so I want to be able to share photos and stories in a place that anyone can go see and read about them. I’d hate to think I’d embarrass them with photos, but I also don’t want creeps looking at or taking photos of my baby/babies. Definitely something to worry about more now that technology is so advanced, and not going anywhere anytime soon.

    • Congratulations on your pregnancy. Lots of food for thought. {And I have no answers at all!}. x

    • Hi Jenn, you can make an invite only blog so only the people you want to see the stories can

    • BvS

      Jenn, my husband’s family are overseas and although we Skype as the ONLY Grandchild I swear I wouldn’t get a moments peace if I wasn’t able to ‘share’ photos and vids through online albums for them to look at when it is convenient for them rather than an inconvenient time for me. (I use picasaweb personally & I can put a copyright watermark on it. For what that is worth I suppose) so every month has an album & some months I put 30+ photos to other months (when we’ve done fun things, been away, had a first of something where only 25 photos will do! 🙂 ) I have over 200 photos. At the end of the month I ‘shut down’ these albums so they are visible there for me & very select few people who I have given access to them. Why I don’t do it that securely to start with is that my daughter’s Grandmother OS wants to share with her work friends etc and when they are ‘locked down’ only her computer can see them. She can pick them up and print & distribute if she wanted to but I put them in very small format & hope she/no one does that!
      It’s a risk but in this day & age I have to be hopeful it can be managed!

  • I think the new normal is what you are comfortable with as a parent, and this may change over time. My personal opinion is that we should share less about our children but each to their own. For me, I used to blog about my kids now and again, but have come to the realisation that these moments are for me and our family and that is what I’m comfortable with. I do share some photo’s on my Facebook profile (not page), but have strict privacy settings which I check once a week (good on FB making changes all the time). I think in this day and age it comes down to thinking hard about the consequences of sharing online, before we do. Great, thought provoking post Chantelle.

    • I think being a mum is such a big part of my life, that’s going to sneak in now and then.

      But my mind is ticking, ticking, ticking…

  • Tasha

    It’s definitely a tough call Chantelle, especially when the kids are younger. But then they grow up and start sharing all sorts of information about themselves that they probably shouldn’t be regardless of the warnings they are given…

    When I first started blogging, I wouldn’t share very much about my kids at all – no posts, no photos – on the blog or Facebook. As they’ve gotten older though, I’m sharing a little more. But I’m always mindful of the fact that the image (and information) is then in the public arena.

    At the end of the day, I think sharing a little information about our kids is fine. But I also believe that we should be acting a role models for what is appropriate online behaviour and talking to our kids about it while we do what we do.


  • Gaz

    I nearly vomited too when I read that comment. I would have sent the IP address to the police.

    • My husband is a police officer, so we had a chat about it. They were somewhere in another part of the world and there was little we could do. But what a weirdo. 🙁

      And a little reality check for me. x

      • Bec Zacher

        that’s so horrible!

  • Kate

    This is an internal conversation I have with myself every time I post ! Recently our local paper wrote an article about my blog and the photographer took a photo – it ended up being the whole front cover and it included my son!! Up until then I had never really showed their faces directly in my posts.. But after that I reassessed. He was chosen at kinder (obviously with my consent) to be in a photo with a couple of his class mates for a promo photo – ended up being on 3 huge real estate boards around our area promoting the kinder.. And then he was in a photo shoot.. He is aware that he’s being seen – he can see his face plastered around and anyone local that knows us has commented… At this point I wondered – should I relax a bit? If there are weirdos out there (which obviously they are) well… My photos are not compromising and I am better to worry about immediate things like whose in the public toilets at the park than someone on the otherwise of the world being a weirdo online. Not to say that this dialogue still doesn’t continue every time I post! Glad I am not alone!!

  • This is something I’m always reassessing. I read an interesting article in Aljazeera last week, the line that resonated was “children should be treated like human beings, not objects to be degraded for clicks and cash”. While I think the author had a slightly judgmental tone I try to be conscious of that sentiment. When I started blogging I didn’t share images or names. Then I relaxed. But now that the eldest has turned four it’s whittled away again. I don’t write about parenting much but I don’t begrudge other people’s choices, we all have our own comfort levels and I don’t think anyone’s setting out to hurt their children.

    It’s not so much the child abuse that concerns me because I’ve read reports that suggest these types of people aren’t necessarily trawling social media for innocuous images, but using it to share their own awful stuff. I’d hate to think we could never share anything ever again out of some sort of fear plus I’m more concerned about the abuse that’s rife amongst people we know. I also don’t like that this has become a tool to put down other people’s parenting, there’s often the suggestion that you’re a bad parent if you over-share. If people were so concerned about the welfare of children we wouldn’t have so many kids on the poverty line or living in detention centres. Sorry about the essay, great post!

  • My son is 16 and I do share about him but with his permission. Mostly. I have also bought/bribed the rights to a couple of his “story.” Later in life he will probably discuss all this with his therapist. I hope I’m careful and considerate of his privacy and I have encouraged him to tell me when or If he feels I have crossed the line. He also knows that my blog allows him to try experiments like blowing twinkles up in microwave so having a mom who likes to tell a story has it’s disadvantages and advantages. No rules for me beyond common sense and the willlingness to adjust the line as needed.

  • Bec Zacher

    It’s such a tough one. I started blogging just for my family and to keep an online record book of our lives as i am so slack with photo albums. I love documenting the journey and sharing it with those i know and other mums but it doesn’t stop there and i do always get paranoid about who might read it and see my children. I am always conscious about never sharing where we are or live or photos that share too much. I always think maybe i should just make it totally private but the conversation and community is part of what i love about blogging so i really don’t know the answer…

  • I use a different name and call the children MrW etc…I also don’t identify where I live, my fb is in an alternative name too, I am careful but I do show photos of the children but am thinking its near on impossible to trace them as I have been vague about names and places. You have to be careful but still enjoy your children and your online presence too!

  • You have no idea how this post helped me. I’ve been blogging for years & since I had a baby I became very passive. I’ve never shared baby’s photos although blogged the birth story and couple of other “baby” ones. Today I wanted to post more about my baby and even share a photo, but couldn’t dare. Now I found your post and it assured me I shouldn’t.
    Mother and baby relationship is so special. I’d rather keep it for myself.

    Plus thinking about those creepy and sick creatures that think and write things like that about children puts me off for good.

    In some way I agree with Jodi Gibson’s comment though, that it’s about how comfortable you are as a parent. There are such wonderful blogs I read, great mums posting their family photos, pregnancy stories which are very helpful and internet would be empty without them. I think it’s all about balancing one’s privacy.

    Let’s hope there are more nice people than creeps.

  • Clare at

    I share very few photos of my kids on public sites like Instagram and they don’t show up much on my blog. If I do publish photos, they most likely the back of them, not faces. I share on Facebook more, but absolutely no nakeds. I cringe a little when people post pics of their kids which are not dignified. Who knows who is looking at profiles and blogs. Keep the privacy and the dignity I think. Great article Chantelle.

  • The more my children grow older, the more I realise the impact of me writing about them online. I have my own set of boundaries about it, and would never embarrass them. I’ve learnt this as I go, though … have pulled a few posts down which may have overstepped the “sharing” mark.

    No one-size-fits-all, and each parent who writes online will have their own personal code of ethics around it.

    I’ve written a lot of stuff about ME, online. One day they’ll be old enough to read my blog and understand it all .. that’s if they even want to. I’m very open with them about everything, anyway. My hope is that they might be proud of me and what I’ve done, instead of feeling ashamed. Naked bum and all.


  • lifelikelola

    Chantelle, this is the first time I’ve commented. I find this very interesting. Perhaps it is because I have grown up the daughter of a police man and as I am now a teacher I try to be careful about who is able to access my details. I don’t really think bloggers should publish too much about their kids as it s not hard to find out a lot about people’s lives any more and while I’d hate to think anything might happen to them, or their children, I think caution must be exercised. A friend posted some nudey shots of her lovely little boys on Instagram and while they were adorable, I would be very hesitant to do that now. I read a blog which often has photos of a woman’s beautiful children but wonder if they realise how many people know who they are, they are far more recognisable than their mum is. I teach media studies by day and often discuss the risks associated with posting ‘too much’ online with the kids. I think more than anything it is a valuable discussion. Like you, my mind is always ticking, ticking!

  • Laura

    My husband and I shared photos of our kids on facebook when they were little babies, but as they have grown up we have made a concious decision to be very careful what we share. The only photos I have uploaded to facebook or instragram lately have been from behind and I think they are just as cute (the two of them sitting on the floor looking up at the christmas tree, first pig tails from behind etc etc). We now reserve full photos for true friends and family and then we go to the effort to email them directly or actually print them out and send them. Some of my friends upload so many photos that it does worry me… I think you need to keep some stuff close to home.

  • I think about this all the time. In regards to photos, I never take pictures of Ned without clothes on let alone post them online. I’m so worried someone might get their hands on my iPhone or my laptop and see them. Anything I do post I always try to imagine what his teenage friends at school would say if they found it. Ned is still only four years old but I’d hate some kid in the future to find something to use against him. Eg I try to avoid talking about his mishaps with toilet training, etc.

    I have however talked at great detail about myself and my struggles and about how Ned came to be. It is core to my story and what my blog is about. I hope he forgives me that my readers know about his origins before he does. Like Eden wrote earlier, when Ned is old enough to read my blog, I really hope he is proud of me and what I’ve done, and not ashamed.

    Good post.

  • Lilybett

    I was reading something about this issue a little while ago, about essentially creating a digital footprint for your child that they will be saddled with as adults so I’ve been conscious of that. I blog pictures of my child but not myself or anyone else’s faces or any of our names in order to minimise the chance of people being able to identify him. I also limit the specific detail about where I work and where we live. He still has his baby face at the moment but there’ll be a point where I’ll stop because he’ll be more recognisable as a person and not just generic baby. His name is shared on my facebook page (as is mine) but I have friends only privacy (and customise to make sure friends of friends tagged can’t see – apparently that also limits who can see stuff when friends/family ‘share’ without my permission).

  • Carly Findlay

    I do have a problem with people sharing photos of children online, especially when the children have no say in the matter. One thing I’ve seen in the online illness communities that I frequent is worried desperate mothers putting photos of their sick kids online – to get the Internet to diagnose or offer suggestions for treatment. I think they’re outing their kids online when they’re at their most vulnerable. And it may cause unnecessary voyeurism. If a parent is that desperate to find an answer, send a trusted friend an email with photos attached.
    Thank you for this post – I am going to read it in more detail later.

  • I ask my kids first before I share anything or write anything about them. I feels like the right thing to do.

    • If I asked Lacey that, she’d be all: “Share what? Huh? Whatever.”

      I take everything case by case. I have a line, but it moves back and forth. Some days I want to run away from the online world and have my life back to myself, and other times {when I am feeling all warm and fuzzy from the community} I love it, a lot.

      • I also consider what would my 18 year old son think of me sharing this before I share and yes i think my line moves a lot too but I love your comment “she isn’t mine, I’m just minding her for a while” LOVE THAT – I will have that in my mind now too as I share or not share.

      • Hahaha! Yes, guess with teens who are on Facebook and Instagram and sharing stuff already it’s a different playing field (they even join me on certain hashtags!) but my 7YO is also up with it all. If he says he doesn’t want his photo taken I don’t take it and don’t share it. They are growing up in this social media age so it’s part of their education. This is such a great topic to discuss!

  • My son (he’s 20) has recently just deleted all photos and tags of him on Facebook as he hates it, so now I have to be careful when i post stuff ( i mainly just do photo prompts). I’m also careful because i know that employers and agencies look people up on the internet to see what they have been up to, i know of at least 2 occurrences where people have been sacked because of face book discussions, So i never make comments about my workplace on the internet. My brother, he’s in advertising, recently also was worried about photos posted on facebook as his clients can see them. I think we all should be more careful of what we share, and it’s not just photos and stories about our kids, some people post all their gripes about their partners, workplaces, kids and whatever. I know if someone was writing some of those things about me on facebook for the world to see I would have to rethink my relationship with them

  • shambolicliving

    I blogged about this last week, after reading a piece from Grown and Flown where they talked about how we are creating a “brand” for our children which could stick with them into adulthood.

    I think each blogger has to come up with their own set of boundaries for what they will incorporate. My children where older when I started blogging so I have also had to get through their editorial control before I could publish, although it is important to remember that even older children could give consent without understanding the ramifications of even innocent pieces. So as parents we do have to be careful.

    My boundaries are no real names but will post photos and would take each post on a case-by-case basis and hopefully not create too much discomfort for them! However, the alias I chose for my eldest was “Hippie Child” – a friend of hers was doing a project on the 60’s and googled “hippie child” and a photo of my daughter eating birthday cake off the floor popped up! She went to school the next day to tell my daughter there was a site that had photos of her and talked about her – I now have some of her friends reading the blog – which gives even more editorial boundaries!!!!

    Aside from all the concerns, I have found that my children are enjoying the record of their life that is beginning to form on the blog, they have been moved by my posts on our dogs dying, their birthdays and graduation from primary school. Their friends have commented to them on the nice things I wrote on their birthdays and told them how special it was, so like everything there are pros and cons.

  • Rach aka Stinkb0mb

    I think some bloggers do cross the line with what they post about their children, be it words or pictures. I like how you say Lacey isn’t yours, you’re just minding & nurturing her until she goes out into the big wide world and I like it because it’s true. Children are their own people, have their own voices and their own lives and when they’re young, that’s when parents should be even MORE mindful about what they post about them in the public domain. When young they have no voice, can’t tell you whether they would be happy to be fodder for a blog or not but as they grow up, you can at least ask them how they’d feel about featuring in your writing.

    I’ve also thought recently, not only about what bloggers post about their children but what they post about THEMSELVES and how that, may one day, at a later date, go on to affect their children. So say you revel X about yourself and your children’s friends find your blog read about you and then go on to tease your children about it? Are parent bloggers even thinking about stuff like that and whether it could happen or do they not give it a second thought? Your words about yourself, could affect your children just as much, if not more, than something you were to write about them.

  • Abeachcottage

    great post Chantelle – love the example of the bath photos

    I started my blog as an outlet from mummy stuff so in the early days it wasn’t really an issue for me…as it grew I realised I didn’t want to share my family online, I never really saw it as my place to put them on the Internet and so I never have…but I really think that as technology is part of everyday life it has become a parenting choice everyone has a different take on and I respect that

  • I was really cautious starting out, but now I’m careful and just let them have a look or run it by them if I think they might not like it before I post it. We live in a really small community and everyone knows us locally. My children hold many State and National titles in whipcracking and have been on national Tv and in all sorts of newspapers, so they are ok with publicity. we are a bit immune to it all- they are very forthcoming and out there with photos. My children are also older and are posting online themselves and I think I have trained them fairly well to be cautious and just ask if they are unsure about anything. There are weirdos everywhere (online and In real life!) you certainly have to make yourself secure from the real life threats- and for the ones online you just have to make yourself have a tough skin and not give them a voice or stop you from enjoying normal modern life activities including sharing the pride you have in your family or their achievements, however small or large they may be. It’s all good when you find your balance with what to post.

  • I don’t know. I just don’t know. I’m a sharer – I use my daughter’s real name because it would take five seconds to find it out online anyway – but I don’t think I’m an oversharer. Very few photos, and certainly no bath or toilet training photos. But the older she gets, the more I think about every post featuring a story about her. I don’t know. I just don’t know.

  • I have often thought about this too. I LOVE reading all the blogs that are around now from women my age and younger as they negotiate their lives but I have often cringed when I read some of the stories about their kids. and also seen the photos. Added to this are the comments sometimes of exasperation on Twitter.

    Maybe they talk to their kids and ask if it is OK but really a child does not have the skills to determine if something written about them now wont come back to haunt them and indeed their parent in the future.

    As a teacher I have sometimes taught kids whose parents have had varying degrees of celebrity and believe me some do it very tough and I cant imagine how much worse it would be for them if their well known parents also blogged intimate details about their private lives. Kids can be cruel and unthinking, not to mention adults who are as twisted as the one who made the comment on your child’s photo.

    Even pseudonyms can be dangerous because as the blogger gets more well known then their children are easier to identify. I would exercise extreme caution on this.

  • Peggy Saas

    I don’t share much about my family in general on my blog, and no photos of my son apart from the occasional distant, hazy shot. My blog isn’t really a personal recount anyway, and I am super protective over my family and don’t want to make their business available for strangers to read about online. I recently made my IG account private too. I know we are but a tiny small drop on the www but my family life and privacy is very sacred to me.

    I do think though that with the way technology is nowadays, ‘normal’ isn’t what normal was 10 years ago. I guess whatever suits the individual is the new normal.

    I have to agree with what Carli wrote: “children should be treated like human beings, not objects to be degraded for clicks and cash”. I would struggle being a celeb!

  • Mrs Woog

    It is strange. I started my blog thinking that no one would ever read it so I never thought about it back then. Some of the shenanigans the kids get up to would be a great yard but I cannot write it because of repercussions down the road.

    I always ask them if it is alright to retell a story, or if I can use this or that picture. If they say no, then it does not go on the blog. Look I am sure none of what I do is perfect, but you do have to be mindful and I am sure as shit have fucked up in the past.

    But learning everyday xx

    • I guess it’s harder for you as well because your boys are so grown up now but they weren’t when you started. I’m sure they’ll tell you if ever they don’t like something you’ve written. x

  • Melinda

    Great converstation topic this one.

    Firstly, how sickening for you, my heart would have sank reading that.

    I had a blog for my business once where I did share photos of the kids and then one day I thought “what am I doing? Any weirdo could be reading this”. I have a 3 sons, the eldest in Grade 1. While he is not online per se, the school regularly sends home letters about online safety – one being never share a photo of yourself online with people you do not know. In reality, this is what blogging about our kids is, sharing photos with complete strangers of our children. I am not talking about our dedicated readers, I am talking about the potentional weirdos that are lurking in the shadows. I deleted the blog and still feel guilty about sharing my children like that. We teach our kids internet safety, but we need to practice what we preach I supppose.

    I do share the odd photo here and there on my personal FB page, my privacy settings are tight and they are my friends. But blogging, no way.

    I think it is great to raise a topic like this, we can always think more about how we do things online.

  • Amanda

    I think bloggers and parents in general should be educated about the dangers of posting photos online and their children’s rights to privacy. Paedophiles fantasise about and share everyday photos of children. Photos could lead to bullying. Once a photo is posted on the Internet it is out of your control. Protect your child’s innocence.

  • Melissa Mitchell

    I’ve shared my children over the years, but am less and less specific as they get older. The anecdotes that I used to tell often are fewer and further between on the blog. Alexander’s nearing 10 now and while I mention him {i.e – chilling with Alexander, listening to XYZ} it’s less personal. As far as FB goes, I run it by him first.

    Am feeling ill however at the person who wrote that on your blog.

  • I ask my kids before I share anything, unless it’s a generic family moment. That being said if I feel like they will be upset or unhappy in any way, I ask. I also take it on a case by case basis because in this day and age what else can you do?! I have instilled a “If you can’t laugh at yourself” kind of attitude with my kids and they/we are ok with that as long as we are all involved with the decision making process! I think it’s awesome you are thinking of her feelings! 🙂

  • linda

    i suddenly feel the need to remove my photos from facebook and reconsider just how much i should have or will be sharing, it makes you wonder if all these well meaning proud parents are really just making the filth of the worlds job easier to access photos of our darlings.

  • Renae Ward

    I share rarely and usually its other people who have put my child up and I usually ask that they take it down after a day. I like to shelter my kids from the world and I’m lucky enough to have a lovely husband to share that stuff with. I’m quite paranoid about it actually


    Im with you online stuff is my choice not theirs so I limit showing their faces..and stories..xD

  • little love

    It’s a fine line, isn’t it. I’ve been thinking about it a lot more these days as my blog is predominantly about my family. Those creepy disgusting people lurking out there freak me out & I worry about them coming across photos of my kids. Like a lot that have commented here I’ve started to share less of my kids online. I always make sure I don’t post anything embarrassing & cute nudey shots are not blog material. These days I even run it past my girls first & only share if they’re happy with it. It’s a scary place out there & it’s true, they are not just our children, they are their own people. I’ve read about about people saying that some bloggers are ‘pimping out’ their kids, but I’m sure that’s not the case. Everyone has their own line. As for that gross comment left on your blog – I hope you reported that pig to the police!

  • I have a niece who is the greatest person on earth and I’m so in love with her, I just want to share her with everyone. BUT her mother and my brother aren’t (and were barely ever) in a relationship so although she’s mine (my blood) I’m extremely careful about posting photos of her. I’ve never, ever put a pic of her on my blog. I’ve shared the odd cute thing that she’s said on Facebook and I’ll occasionally Istagram a pic if she’s being particularly gorgeous but never of her in a bath or anything. Usually pics of her partially obscured – hiding or riding on her daddy’s shoulders.

    I’m not paranoid about the internet at all. My job is the internet (for lack of better grammar) but I’m terrified for her and what it all means for her growing up. I was lucky to not have been at school when Facebook was around and if you wanted to post a picture of someone on the internet you had to know how to code webpages and have a spare 8 hours while the photo uploaded…. from the film print that you scanned into your computer. Geotagging doesn’t bother me in the slightest for my own safety but if someone found out where my niece lived because I accidentally tagged a photo of her and something bad happened… I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.

    It’s completely irrational I know but I think erring of the side caution where kids are concerned – with both their physical safety and their right to their own privacy – is really for the best.

    Also apart from my own family, no one thinks she’s as amazing/talented/adorable as I do. I’m aware of that. So by not sharing a ton of pictures of her doing ‘amazing’ things I’m really not depriving the internet or my readers of anything.

    Post MORE pictures of your children twirling in skirts/eating cheese/colouring in/sleeping/having a bath – SAID NO ONE EVER!

  • shoppegirls

    I ask my children also.

  • mummyjellybean

    I do share photos of my daughter on fb and occasionally on Instagram, but we have a VERY strict no nudity rule. While this has been difficult to enforce at times when people are babysitting (grandparents seem to love baby in the bath photos), my husband and I are both in agreeance on this. Nothing less than a nappy and a singlet for photos. It’s just not worth the risk for us, even with all our privacy settings

  • I recently unfriended someone on facebook as I am tired of seeing all their nude children’s pics, in the bath, in the pool, at the beach, in the jumping castle, at the birthday party.. There is no need for it and it disturbs me that the children have no say.. We are quick to untag an unflattering pic of ourselves but our kids don’t have the same option.. I love posting new pics of my cherubs but would never post them naked – that is not for anyone outside our household to see.

  • curveyN

    I share my life with my family and friends on Facebook, only my friends see my photo albums, with the exception of cover pics, which I have no choice about. I have shared my childrens images on instagram, but generally they are distance pics or obscured. Whilst the thought of my childrens images ending up on a Pedo site repulses me, the likely hood of this happening and me knowing about it is low. A high majority of sex crimes against children occur within the family unit and extended community of the child. My daughters could just as easily be photographed at the beach or the pool .

  • Lea

    I post pics of my girls on facebook, but I personally know every single person on my friends list, there are no strangers, no friends of friends. My facebook settings are set so that only friends see my pics. I dont post any nudie rudie pics no matter how cute they are at the time, if I was a blogger I would hold back on the family pics. The blogs are not private, anyone can view, share a link etc and as you have experienced that revolting comment, you cannot control who views your blog/pics

  • Ida

    I would never, ever post a photo of my kid on the internet. I do read some of the American “mommy” blogs, because I like their style etc, but it bothers me to see photos of their kids in diapers over and over again. Imagine when they are in school, and some kid walks up to them and says “haha I found your mom’s blog, and 1000 photos of you in diapers!!” How embarassing for the kid! Also, they are human beings and belong to themselves. What goes on the internet stays on the internet, and they should decide for themselves which photos of them go online! I now, for my birthday, shared a photo of my 2. birthday, proudly blowing out two candles on my cake. And that’s ok, because I DECIDED it’s alright! It’s only me on the photo, too, no one else. I just think it should be their choice what photos of them land on the internet. It’s not like they belong to their parents.

  • Ida

    I think the point is not only to see it as “I know everyone on my fb so I can post it” but also to see them as what they are: human beings who should be in charge of what photos of them are on the internet. And until they can decide, no photos. or one of their feet when they are born, or their hand, but never their face, or their naked or diapered butt.

  • Chantelle, I really liked this post. I’ve read a lot recently on the topic and this post is most in line with how I blog and how I feel. I write about my experiences of parenting my kids too, not so much the kids themselves. I do use photos but only sparingly. I write everything from my perspective and experience and try not to make posts about them soley. Exactly the same goes for my husband and my friends.

    I do get concerned about how much some people put of their kids online. I don’t know that it’s damaging so much as denying them a privacy they deserve. Growing up I hated my parents and brothers telling stories to other people about cute things I’d done, so it’s kind of in the same vein. I don’t have an answer other than to be mindful.

    • In saying that, I’m guilty of writing lots of ‘cute things my kids did’ on my blog. I’m still trying to work it all out and it’s ongoing. I guess for me it’s balance. And trying to make it my story, rather than my children’s. IYKWIM?

  • I hope that my girls will look back over my blog ( in the future and feel proud and happy with what I have written. I definitely don’t feel I over share. There are some blogs and Facebook page statuses that seem to give a constant running commentary on what their child gets up to all day. To me that is way too much. Even though I have a blog which is predominantly about my family, I am still hesitant about what I write and I definitely think it through each time I press publish. I am terrible at engaging my followers who Like my blog’s Facebook page and that is predominately because I am careful about what I write about my family. What my readers see is not the entire picture. Some things are just for us and some things are good to share. Finding a balance is so tricky!

  • Thanks a lot for this post and the discussion. I am sure that it is really important to think about how much we want to share, especially how much we share our kids. I am very strictly with that and I don’t share any photos of my four kids and I don’t tell many things about them online, because they are too young to decide and I am not sure if they will feel happy in a few years if anybody can read and see real private details about them online.

  • Charmaine

    Hi 🙂 sorry about that pervert 🙁 i would HATE to get a comment like that…it’s a good question u r asking though….! My feeling is that [while i am careful about what pics i post] i don’t accept the responsibility onto myself for someone with a ‘dirty’ or ‘crazy’ mind…that is their problem not mine and they will get what’s coming to them…either in this life and most certainly when they die… I teach my kids to be ‘safe’…like not giving out personal info on social media…and not ‘trusting strangers’… and so on… pity the ‘rotten apple always spoils the barrel’ hey…!

    • Claire Chadwick

      Well said Charmaine.

      I’m in two minds with this whole issue. I think about it often.


  • It’s hard to know what is right. My issue is that we are pre-legal in adoption terms, so I try not to put too many photos up. But as a new parent {who waited 7 years!} I have so much joy to share and things I am hoping to learn from other parents. My rule is that I try not to show Ethan’s face too much, I don’t post anything critical about him {more about my parenting challenges} and I am mindful of what he might find embarrassing.

    I have a really bad memory, so a lot of the stuff I am writing I hope will serve as a story for him in the future. I want him to know how much we struggled and how much we love him, particularly if he finds the adoption difficult to deal with as he gets older. It will be something he can read and process privately and on his own time.

    I do worry about sickos, like the one you experienced and other people who approach life with twisted motives. But I am choosing to believe there is more good than bad. Such a though provoking post. Thank you.

  • Marie M.

    What about OTHERS (family members, friends) sharing photos of your own kids? I hate it but find it hard to tell them to stop.

    • Simone Jaeger

      I made it a general rule for my family and friends not to share anything before they asked for our permission – we need to know, with whom what pictures should be shared, and this works well for us now.

  • Online, I have always used two identities. For my public blog, twitter the fb connected to them, I use pseudonyms for both myself and my family and any photos I share do not show faces of my kids. That way I could still give anecdotes without anyone knowing who we are…and I never mention where I live. Then I have a family blog which is private where posts and photos are just for close friends and family, and that is linked to a fb profile just for my *real* friends where I do post photos of my family. I’ve always done this, and tho’ it may sound like lots of work, it’s surprisingly easy to do. I just log on as whoever I want to be on that day and post away.

    And I’d never post nude photos of my kids – I always blurr those shots or stick a cloth over the kid in the bath before snapping.

    I just think we are all wired differently. I have a sister in law who seemed to not care that her entire fb profile was public – her contact details – 100’s of photos and all – and even when I asked her to private it (at least the photos with my kids in them), she just didn’t seem to get what I was on about – thought I was being over the top. Finally my husband convinced her of the danger she was putting herself in leaving all her life open like that. I guess some people don’t care or perhaps don’t really understand the potential danger.

  • elizabeth

    You write some great posts! I am not sure if we are damaging our children – perhaps sadly in 20 years time we will know, hindsight is a wonderful thing! In terms of photos, I do wonder if children are going to grow up and say “why was it necessary to share my life with the whole world?” “did everyone need to see pictures of me doing this and that?”. I do worry about how much people with children share on their blogs in general. One lady whose blog I read has 5 kids and from random things she says on her blog or photos she posts it is not difficult to know where she lives, the swim school her children attend and other, numerous details about their life including when her husband isn’t there. As a mother that freaks me out. She seemed to come to realize this availability of info last year but it was only a short time before she was sharing just as before. I know most people who read a blog would be harmless but it concerns me that it only takes one “weirdo”. If it were me, I would not want people knowing all that stuff about me no matter how much it feels like (and is) a real community. Maybe I am paranoid.

  • I’m somewhere in the middle I think. One part of me thinks the world has gone mad, we’re too careful and everything is SO PC, or has to be or else someone gets offended. Another part of me thinks and wonders before posting on my blog. I don’t refer to my kids by their names but I do post photos and tell their stories. I definitely censor what I share and I have my FB settings up pretty high, preferring to only be ‘friends’ with people I know as opposed to just blog readers, if that makes sense? As for nudity, well I take the shots but choose what I share ie butts ok, frontal nudity not so much . . . those are kept for us to giggle at and for the 21st parties yet to come.

  • I think “damaging” may be overstating it when it comes to sharing a photo or a story. However, as you experienced with someone making a lewd comment over a clothed photo of your daughter, not everyone has pure intentions, and things we put online have a way of staying there, in traces and fragments, so that when someone with mal-intent Google searches for “little girl” and your kid’s photo comes up, he may be doing any number of things with it. I’m a non-sharer because I work with traumatized kids as a counselor. I don’t want to scare people and say “someone’s masturbating to your daughter/son’s photo,” but don’t think it isn’t true – bathtub or soccer outfit or whatever their fetish is. If you don’t want your kids used as that kind of sick fodder, keep the photos in your scrapbook and share them with your family in person, or by an email.

    Regarding photos of anyone online, I always ask first. I’m going to post these photos on Facebook. Is that okay? Can I tag you? If the answer is no, no problem. I wish everyone did the same. For kids, they really don’t have an answer before a certain age, of course, as they don’t understand who can see what.

  • Naked pics, no and never. I think there are too many people online that have thoughts like the vile creature that wrote that about your daughter. I don’t have kids but I never post pics of my friends children, unless it’s a shot where you can’t see their faces. I love funny stories about kids and the things they say, I think it’s hilarious and a picture helps cement the story. But I do think most parents think their kids are cuter than they really are, so sometimes the pics are overboard and annoying (“My kid ate their first piece of fruit!” or “She wouldn’t stop crying for 3 hours, look at how cute she is when she cries!”) Pictures add life to a story so I wouldn’t care if my parents shared pics of me (hey, I was a really cute little kid). I enjoy your blog, one of the few mommy blogs I read.

  • nazg

    Wow what an awful comment to receive!
    Just wanted to say that just as you and I grew up in a world of next day photo shops, our kids will grow up with at least a dozen and half pictures floating about on the internet. The world evolves, technology evolves and so does our interaction with our experiences. Assuming most parents are mindful and vigilant enough to protect their children’s modesty and dignity , I am all for the zealous “over sharing” of our children’s lives. We love, pride and invest our beings into these beautiful creatures. Our interaction with our ” community” these days is online. My husbands family are halfway across the world. My mother and aunt are currently traveling. My brothers and father live an hour away. We come together online. As sad and wondrous as that may be, it’s true and the norm for many people. No-one can say that it isn’t ok for me to share my pictures online anymore than it is ok to tell a woman wearing a short skirt that she’s inviting rape. How preposterous.

  • I always ask my kids before publishing any pictures of them. (3 children aged 12,20 and 21) But normally when I take pictures to participate photo challenges, I never show faces. Not even my own. (As you can see =) )

  • My little one isn’t even 2 years old yet, so I share photos of her doing silly stuff all the time. I never post photos of her naked though. I can’t stand when parents do that. I have always felt that as she got older, I would give her more privacy. But for now, she is all my life centers around.

  • Rae

    My son is 25 now and I put some of his baby & childhood photos (both cute & amusing) on FB, but he has a great sense of humour and puts his own crazy photos up plus I know which ones he would be comfortable with… he hasn’t told me off about any yet and he certainly would if he minded!

    If he was still a child I would not put any up as I would feel it was an invasion of his privacy until he was old enough to make his own mind up about them… I see some of my friends putting photos of their small children up and I do feel rather uncomfortable and wonder how the kids will feel as they get older and have to face knowing pictures they would rather people did not see are out there forever

  • dahlia

    Great food for thought, and an important issue to think about as a parent. I have never been a big sharer (on Facebook) but have shared the odd photo and “proud mum” comment here and there. These days, as they’re a bit older, I’ve started to ask my children permission to share their photo etc. And often they say no! I have to respect that.

  • Diane Herman

    Great post and discussion. I have been thinking a lot about this lately and what I post on my blog and FB.
    I have let my 9yo use Instagram to keep in touch with friends. She has it as private and has to run all friend requests by me and ask before she follows anyone. I check it daily and can also check via my own IG. I am thinking this is a good way to ease her into social media where I have total access to all she sees (I have friended all her contacts to keep a close eye on things). I also check with people like her dance teacher that their posts will be G rated before I let her follow them too. It has also opened up good discussion when some of her older dance friends post photos that “in my opinion” they should not share. So far it is working, she has even stopped following people she thinks use IG incorrectly. So I am happy with this so far…AND the added bonus she is developing a great eye for a good photo 🙂

  • Holly

    ooooh I sometimes get that pang of “Am I sharing too much”
    In saying that I do have a private me and a public me (Instagram and Facebook)
    I think the problem is my kids are just to damn photogenic for their own good* tongue in cheek*
    My number one rule is if I get a feeling about an photo which makes me ask the question “Is this photo o.k. to share?” my answer will be no don’t share it no way! I am very mindful and aware of the nasty www and trust my little inner voice.

    However in this digital world we unfortunately do not print out our photos like we did way back in the stone age( mind you I need to go on a printing frenzy!)…. I love flicking through my old Facebook albums from the last few years and seeing all those memories, I feel that both my children will too, well maybe when we are friends again after the teenage years.

    Maybe there will be a day where I don’t share as much…. my big fear is when they ask for their own Facebook account, trust me that wont happen till they are 18 I think that is a greater danger for children, having control of their own online presence!

  • kewkew

    My kids know I am sharing them on my blog. When I snap pictures, they are like, “are you going to post that?” or they will do something or say something funny just so I will share it. I started my blog to share about what we do with our school time and the fun times we have. I would never share anything inappropriate though.

  • Sophie

    Oh Chantelle! I’m so sorry that you received such a disgusting comment! I question whether to put my child up on this blogoshpere or not and lately I have but after reading this I don’t think I want to anymore… That is the most awful thing that you had to read! I have been relaxing my photo rule of late but am absolutely rethinking that now!

  • Kirsty @ My Home Truths

    I don’t photograph or name my kids on my blog or it’s associated social media accounts. I sometimes think my stance is too strict and I long to show the world my kids but I know it’s for the best for our family. This is a very thought-provoking post and I think it reinforces the decision that my husband and I first made when we entered the blogging world, despite the limitations it places on how I describe or show things on the blog, which can feel very limiting sometimes!

  • Eliza

    Hey Chantelle!I’m 14 years old and so I’m in that generation that grew up with social media yet. My parents are pretty strict about posting photos of people online, so they don’t even post pictures of themselves and neither me. I think that’s good, because I don’t like the idea that some of my high school friends find some weird child hood pictures on FB, IG, etc. Especially posted by my parents. I think it’s up to everyone how much they want to share about their life online. So if I decided to put up some of my childhood photos that’d be okay, in my opinion.
    So yeah… This is what I think about this topic, but it’s probably not other teen’s opinions.

    [Don’t be scared that a 14yo is reading your blog. I found out about you because of PaD (lots of my friends do the challenge, too) and I love your writing-style!]

  • Claire Chadwick

    Great post Chantelle. I often {ALWAYS} think about this topic. I share a lot online at my own risk I guess. I try not to embarrass my kids, as such, as I know one day they’ll be old enough to read it, as will their peers. If anything, I hope they read it and feel proud of the words I’ve weaved together with photos, to tell the stories of their childhood. I want my blog to hold a lot of their childhood memories for them to refer to for many years. Now that my oldest is almost 5, I do talk to her about it, and even ask her permission to quote her funny sayings or use certain photos. I know she doesn’t understand the ‘full effect’ of the online world….but I like to keep her in the decision making process nowadays.

    Each to their own I guess.

    A lot of food for thought. Something I regularly ponder over.

    Claire x

  • Nikki

    Brilliant post Chantelle, this is something I think about ALL THE TIME. My husband is a police officer and worked in the child abuse section for a few years so I am completely, totally and utterly banned from posting ANY photos of our kids online. At all! Whilst I would dearly love to share pics of my kids with even friends and family, the education I received from him about who and what is out there keeps me from doing it. Given his job and the interactions he’s had with criminals (and subsequent death threats to our family) we even have to change our daughter’s surname when she starts school in a few week’s time and I have to use my maiden name in the public sphere – so we are certainly the extreme! But it’s so easy for people to be found these days and once something’s on the internet, it’s there forever. Every caution should be taken when it comes to protecting our children. Whilst my kids might not be ‘mine’, the responsibility to get them to adulthood safely and happily is certainly mine 🙂
    Awesome post though – hopefully it will at least get the over sharers to pause and consider what they’re doing. And I imagine it would be challenging for many people not to share pics and stories when trying to connect with their audience – I certainly find it hard when trying to promote my little business, that’s for sure.

  • I am very courteous. I post photos, but don’t use my kids names. I go back and forth sometimes. When I see friends post photos of their kids in the bath on facebook, I always wonder. The line is drawn for me there. No No for me! xx

  • This is always something I struggle with because you know there are those out there who would look to exploit your children given the chance. It’s something I am always half decided on, and I think I’ve found a happy medium most days. I talk about our lives, but not specifically about her if I can help it. I have posted some pics of her, but I try to keep them to a min, and usually I’ll try to take the pic on angle where you can’t clearly see her face. I recently made our instagram private for family and close friends, and I only add people on facebook that I personally know. Yet I still sometimes have that feeling….am I doing the wrong thing here, and I sharing too much about her….It angers me that we have to be so careful and somedays I want to rebel against it, but then the sensible mother in me hits me over the head and I stay careful.

  • Amy2117

    I read this post a few days ago and then last night discovered this: This is me and my sister almost 20 years ago in a clip that my mum sent to Australia’s Funny Home Video Show. This was well before the Internet got big so how it made its way to the Internet, I have no idea! Lucky I find it hilarious so don’t really care but it just shows that once you send something out into the world, even if it isn’t online, you never know where it might end up!

  • Deb

    I saw one of my very favourite bloggers recently while on holiday, and you’re right, it is like spotting a celebrity. she was eating dinner with her hubby and kids, all who I feel I know because she has shared them on her blog. I really wanted to say hello, but they were having a meal, being a family and I didn’t want to disturb them. Later on twitter she said I should have come and said hello but the chance was gone by the time I plucked up the courage.

    I like blogs that make you feel part of their family, but I can also see how that can backfire in many ways. I share my kids exploits on facebook and my 7 year old is starting to voice her annoyance when I put things that are a bit embarrassing!

  • Azara

    This reaffirmed my approach. I blog anonymously and there are very few personal pictures on my blog, let alone ones with the kids. And even those few pictures I was hesitant about sharing. Stories are another matter though. My kids are both under 3, and the only person in my “real” life who knows my blog name and address is my husband. So I don’t feel like I’m invading their privacy. Part of the reason I blog anonymously is exactly because I want to talk about things I wouldn’t want my kids to necessarily read until they’re adults (if then).

    I don’t think of myself as a “mommy blogger,” because motherhood is just one of many things I blog about. It’s interesting to wonder how my references to my kids may change as they get older.

    • Azara

      On my old blog, I also had a very disturbing Google search term come up and it freaked me out incredibly that some pervert had obviously come to my tiny blog. I was really glad there wasn’t much for him to latch onto. But I was still so upset I considered not blogging anymore.

      I had never thought about Facebook because I have everything set on private. But this made me think twice about that too.

  • Perhaps I am painfully naive, but I post photos (never naked), names and stories about my kids all the time. It’s all in good taste & I love that I can look back through my posts as a little online scrapbook. I’m not a tad bit as popular as you are, but in my small following, I’ve never had a negative comment/reaction. If I did ever get the feeling, however that any of my children were uneasy or didn’t like that their picture was out there for all the world to see… of course I’d stop! But I started my ‘Mommy Blog’ as that and I have a deep trust in the good of humanity. Like I said, maybe I’m naive, but my kids are my life and my posts are my truths.

  • My blog is about my life, my children are my life so they get a lot of mentions, not by name and they both read my blog too which helps me know if I have posted something they are not happy with, which hasn’t happend yet. As a parent I think we has to judge it from how are children are. We are a very open family and have gone through a few things that I have blogged about, these things have helped others either with practicle advice or by letting others realise they are not in their own either.
    My boys also know that as their mum it’s part of my job to embarrass them with the odd silly photo, it keeps the balance right from all the worry they out me through especially now one has left home to start his own life.