No Photos, Please!
Parents need to be cautious when putting photos of their children on the Internet.
Ashburn is a wonderfully family-friendly town. During the five years I lived on a cul-de-sac in Broadlands, our little population tripled due to the women giving birth multiple times. One of my neighbors posted a huge stork sign out front announcing the birth of daughter. We cringed. Those signs inform would-be kidnappers that a new baby is available, articles have cautioned.
Is it any safer to post the photos of kids online?
There are many reasons to reconsider posting the kids’ photos online for the world to see. Thwarting criminals is one. Another is that what we may think is cute may turn out to be an invasion of the kids’ privacy. One mother posted a photo of her son dressed as a woman for Halloween. The photo became a famous representation of transgender rights. People bashed her for everything from confusing her kid to his lipstick shade. She eventually had her say, but did her son ever have the opportunity to choose whether or not to be the subject of such scrutiny?
I consider myself lucky. My birth year placed me at a point in history when I could perform Internet research in college, but people weren't uploading personal pictures yet. As entertaining as they must have been, my mother never had the opportunity to share videos of me tripping over the balance beam during my gymnastics routines. I’ve created my own digital footprint.
As the holidays approach, there will be millions of photos posted to sites like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. Most of us are unable to resist the ease with which we can share family moments. To keep my kids safer and attempt to leave their slates clean (let them screw up on their own with drunken college shots), I’m going to re-check my Facebook privacy settings, refrain from posting anything to Twitter, and actually print out a picture or two.