Should parents post pictures of their children on social media?


Fact Box

  • Hootsuite reported that over 4.74 billion people use social media worldwide as of 2023, which grew from 4.14 billion people in October 2020.
  • As of January 2023, Statista ranked the most popular social media sites as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
  • Seventy-five percent of parents posted pictures, stories, or videos of their children on social media, according to a 2021 SecurityORG survey of 1,000 American parents. Less than half of those surveyed asked for their children’s permission before posting. 
  • The average child has a “digital footprint” before their first birthday due to the accessibility of internet access. Birthdays, names, geographical locations, and schools can be quickly sold to advertisers via data brokers.

Luis (Yes)

Parents capturing photos of precious moments of their kids is one way they can immortalize these memories in the lives and minds of themselves and their loved ones. It brings happiness to those who are sharing, so parents should feel free to post what brings them joy, choosing not to live in the fear of cyber criminals using these pictures for unlawful purposes. Sometimes, it’s even good that posted pictures have public access as this will facilitate communities and authorities to track down missing children.

Parents publishing their kids' photos online is also commonplace now, as social media has become the best space for people to save pictures. After all, these platforms have become so massive that many people use Instagram or Facebook more than any other program for photo sharing. And if they don't want these pictures to be seen by everyone, they can simply make certain albums private or limit the reach of those who can see their accounts. Likewise, posting photos is a great way to share these moments with friends and family who live far away, are very busy, and are not often available to take video calls. 

Most excitingly, posting pictures or videos of children online can lead to future career and networking opportunities for either/both the parent and the child. For instance, many mommy influencers can land sponsors, which leads to an additional income stream for their families. Or a child who's an aspiring actor or model would benefit from having a social media presence early on. 

Ultimately, parents should post photos of their kids because it's their decision and, in many ways, is the best way to immortalize beautiful moments and bring people together. While the concern of cybercrime is legitimate, the benefits of doing this outweigh the risks.

Elliot (No)

Kids are not content, and they deserve a right to privacy. Children cannot consent to have their pictures or videos posted on social media. Once their image is posted, it can never be deleted. Who knows where it might end up in the future? Anyone can use these images to create humiliating memes or marketing materials for questionable products. There is even evidence that suggests pedophiles are using images of kids on social media to photoshop them in inappropriate situations. These issues are even more problematic because parents have become incentivized to post pictures of their kids in humiliating or questionable circumstances for easy 'likes,' follow clicks and comments. Think about how this might affect a child's career or relationship in the future. What if they go for a job interview only to be laughed out of the building because of a viral video shot during their childhood? What if their new romantic partner finds a humiliating image and loses any sense of attraction to them? What if the images posted are controversial in nature, ensuring that they'll never get to live their own life without endless questions and media attention? Posting pictures of children regularly can also create security issues. If potential kidnappers and abusers can see a child's daily routine, they can access them more easily, pose as caretakers, and physically harm them. Finally, parents risk missing out on priceless childhood moments if they're constantly focused on posting that next viral photo or video. They should focus on enjoying the magic of raising a child in private instead of viewing this process as one giant photo op.

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