Ask Dr. Kate Roberts: Sharing Your Kids on Social Media

facebook-kids-2Question: I see so many pictures of kids today on Facebook. I want to share, but I’m afraid to post my kids pictures on social media. Is this really safe and how much is too much?

Answer: It’s true that more than 62% of moms today use Facebook – and of those who post, 96% post pictures of their children. It’s a personal choice, however parents may want to review the following considerations before posting too much about their children:

  • Your child’s life is not your life. When you post about your child, recognize that you are sharing about another individual’s life, not yours.
  • It’s imperative to role model discretion, privacy and sensitivity whenever posting. This is especially true when you post about your children, who may not have an outgoing personality or who may not want to share on social media. As they get older, they may want to develop their own personality, separate from their parent’s personality.
  •  Don’t view your child’s life like you would your own. You may want to show every detail of your wedding, but your child is not you and therefore don’t blur the boundaries. Treat them as individuals.
  •  Children are not trophies to display to the world and too much sharing may result in them feeling that way.
  • Consider safety. Always check privacy settings before posting and always know who will see what you post. That being said, we know that privacy settings are only so secure on the internet and therefore don’t post anything you don’t want entire world to see. Posts can come back to haunt your kids. A post may seem “cute” at the time, but could be embarrassing for your child later on. Posts can be found forever and therefore they could be used for purposes that parents did not intend, such as by a peer, a bully, or even a predator. Parents need to be cautious and protect their children’s emotional and physical safety.
  • Children need time to develop their own internal sense of self-worth. Their sense of value and how they feel about themselves needs to come from within and not from Facebook “likes”. Therefore, parents need to be cautious about promoting the importance of outside validation when what really matters is how people feel inside. If you want to post about your children on Facebook, that’s okay. But parents need to think carefully about these considerations before deciding to click “share.”