Why I Don’t Share My Kids’ Faces Online

Why I Don’t Share My Kids’ Faces Online

If you’ve been following me on Instagram or have read any of my previous posts, you may have noticed that I don’t post full-face photos of my girls or refer to them by their real names online (publicly; I have separate accounts that are private). This was a conscious decision my husband and I made when I started this blog. Before I go into my reasoning as to why, though, please know that my intent is to not make anyone feel bad if their views and choices differ from mine. The great thing about America is we get to make these kinds of decisions for our families every day. Not sharing pics of my kids’ faces is actually really hard, especially when I see so many other cute little ones out there!

1. Safety
We live in a scary time. Perhaps the world was always scary, but the Internet’s access to endless information has magnified the issue. Nevertheless, it’s terrifying. I never want my girls to be out in public and have some stranger recognize their faces from the Internet and call them by name. With everything we share on social media these days, it would be very easy for a creep, pedophile, and/or human trafficker to strike up a conversation with my daughters and convince them with little effort that they’re not a stranger. Granted, I never plan to be far enough away from my children for that to happen and they will learn all about “stranger danger,” but still. This, by the way, is the same reason I won’t send my children to school with their names on their clothes or backpacks and why I won’t allow Lady A’s school to post photos of her on their website or Facebook page; I don’t want strangers knowing my kids’ names, faces, and where to find them during school hours.

2. Privacy
My girls aren’t old enough to decide whether or not they want their faces plastered on the Internet. In fact, they won’t be old enough to decide that for a very long time. I often think about them as teenagers and adults; will they be embarrassed by the photos I shared of them as babies and young kids? Will they be bullied or made fun of because of me? After all, once something is out there, it’s out there. Sure, there are millions of photos of millions of kids online and mine will probably get lost in the masses but what if they don’t? Will my girls think I totally violated their privacy by publicly sharing their childhood memories? And, if so, how would I justify it? The world may be totally different by then but I choose to err on the side of caution. Just in case. I need my babies to trust me in all areas and never want to do anything to violate that trust. As their mom, though, I reserve the right to share what I want, but I try to keep their feelings in mind when I do.

3. I Know Too Much
This probably falls in line with the first point but, did I mention we live in a scary time? I have a few friends who work for the FBI and, in addition, one of my very best friends is a criminal defense attorney. All have independently told me from their own personal experiences that the majority of the photos that are discovered during kiddie-porn cases are seemingly innocuous shots that were stolen from Facebook and Instagram. The photos that we proudly share with our “friends” sometimes end up in the darkest and most abhorrent places of the Internet. If I share those photos with strangers, the odds of them ending up in the wrong hands increase exponentially. Also, since my profile is public, I really have no idea who is looking at my photos. Sure, I can block seemingly suspicious people who follow me (which I do daily, by the way) but what about the ones who aren’t following me but decide to stop by my page? All I can do is make sure that what I share is limited.

4. Control
The Internet is big and there’s billions of people out there. It’s impossible to control who is viewing, saving, and sharing your publicly shared content. For example, one of my blog posts was picked up by a couple websites in Ireland that were owned by the same parent company. Normally, this would be super exciting – except, it happened without my knowledge. The way I found out was that I noticed traffic coming to my blog from the other sites. In the feature, many of my Instagram photos were embedded throughout the page. I didn’t like it one bit and was immediately reminded of why I have chosen to not show their full faces. Thankfully, once I figured out how to contact the website, they took the photos down and apologized. I may not always be so lucky in the future. I have also heard of countless situations where people’s photos have been used to make fake accounts; it’s called Cyber Kidnapping. Think “Catfish” with [your] kids.

All that said, while I do post public pics of my kids from time to time, I think a lot about which ones I choose. I’ll sometimes post a side/profile shot (or one that is far away) but only if I don’t think anyone who doesn’t know them can really tell what they look like. If their faces are more visible than I’d like, I either don’t post it or I put a watermark over their eyes. I know I can’t protect my daughters from creepers checking them out in public places, but I can certainly make it more difficult online.

I know some of you are wondering why I even post photos of them at all, given my reasoning above. Well, I ask myself that a lot. However, my kids are my life; there’s no way I could possibly blog about my experiences as a mom without sharing a little bit about them.

What do you do to keep your kids safe online?

 

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54 Comments

  1. May 24, 2017 / 1:47 pm

    Great points ….Im on the fence with it TBH. I share a lot less of my kids online for similar reasons as well as different ones too. I almost feel bad for not sharing more of them online but like you said we all have to decide whats right for us ya know

    Erica Valentin
    http://www.EricaValentin.com

    • Shannnon
      May 25, 2017 / 12:48 am

      Thank you, Erica! Yes, it’s up to each of us to decide! I share my girls more on my private accounts. It’s definitely tempting to showcase them here and on Insta but then something weird happens and I’m reminded why I choose not to. Thanks for reading!

  2. D31
    March 17, 2017 / 6:20 am

    I know it’s been a while since this post but, amen!! I do not post my son for the exact same reasons, bolstered by the concern that if I do it, it’s a green card for everyone else too. And in circumstances where we are separated, I do not have those connections with the paternal family. I have no idea who Grandma may be adding from her social events on Facebook, and could potentially see my child, if I were to provide that green card. In addition to this, it’s been 3 years and I still get met with baffled looks as to why, and is it just something gone over board. As recently I have become apprehensive of a family wedding, at which no doubt there will be snap happy parents eager to share the event on social media. I grow fearful that these people will not respect my wishes to not post pictures of my child, or that he won’t listen when I ask him to come away from the camera or phone pointing at him. I agree it is a battle, I’m grateful I have seen this post and reminding me what it’s all for.

    • Shannnon
      March 17, 2017 / 11:54 pm

      Thank you so much for reading and for your thoughtful compliment! I do share photos of my girls on my personal (private) social media accounts – with friends and family only. I do take comfort in knowing that on FB they would have to save the photo to their computer and upload it as a new post in order to share it with people outside of the permissions I set (the “share” feature still only shows the post to the audience you set) – that’s a lot of work that most people won’t do. You’re right, though, it’s hard to keep family from posting their photos and I haven’t found a good way to address it.

      Thanks again for stopping by!

  3. Jacilyn
    February 16, 2017 / 5:27 am

    I just found your blog by “Facebook jumping” chance. I read a couple of your posts and WOW! This one really makes me think. Being a mother of two little girls myself and “toying” with the idea of starting a health and wellness blog you make excellent valid points. Can’t wait to read more and thank you for your blog on the tips/things to know before starting a blog. Very helpful!

    • Shannnon
      February 16, 2017 / 7:47 am

      Hi Jacilyn! I’m so happy you found me! There’s so many decisions we have to make as parents and bloggers and I know you’ll make the right ones for your family. Good luck to you!!

  4. December 2, 2016 / 10:42 pm

    Ok wow you just made me really rethink my blog transparency when it comes to my little ones. I’m just starting but i live and work in Hollywood and to think about the dangers at hand and so close by really give me pause! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • December 4, 2016 / 1:29 am

      Welcome to the blogging world! It’s a decision everyone needs to make for their families. Good luck!

  5. October 4, 2016 / 1:53 pm

    You make some GREAT points here. I also don’t share pictures of my kids unless they are far away, side profiles, or just parts of them. (I have private Facebook group for family and friends only) I do get envious of other parents/bloggers/etc who openly share such cute photos of their kids. But, it’s all a personal decision we must make. I like that you mentioned that your kids are too young to know or even consent to what we as parents post. That’s the second biggest reason why. I’ve gotten into the practice of asking my girls, mostly my teenager, before I share ANYTHING. AND you are so right. Their generation is going to be the generation to look back and have to deal with whatever we as parents put out there. GREAT post Shannon!

    • October 4, 2016 / 6:01 pm

      Thank you SO much for reading and for your words! I have definitely blown up my private feeds/accounts with photos of them but I can’t bear the thought of doing it publicly! Thanks for the affirmation – because you’re right, it’s so hard to not share when everyone else seems to be doing it!

  6. September 25, 2016 / 5:04 pm

    Well I’m not sure I can say it in much of a different way than the others above but I’ll try. I was really excited to read this when I saw the caption because I completely agree but often don’t find people who do. And as you said, no judgement to those who do. We each parent in the best way we see fit.
    I work as a computer teacher and also have a friend in a similar law enforcement position. Getting the scoop from the “inside” is a dark and scary place. Sometimes, there’s just that moment when you feel alone in your beliefs but know you still need to follow your heart. Thank you for your transparency!

    • September 26, 2016 / 12:00 am

      Thank YOU for reading and for your thoughts! I think the more people who have seen or witnessed it happening to others actually talk about it, the safer we can make the web for our kids! Thanks so much!

  7. lovelyluckylife
    September 5, 2016 / 2:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing, I wish I would have read this and taken it to heart *before* I had a majorly weird situation with my kid’s pics online. We’re now going the “no faces on the Internet” route moving forward. We’re all mommas just doing the best we can <3

    • September 5, 2016 / 3:14 pm

      So true. We do the best we can with the info we have at the time. I hate so much that it happened to you but am happy it was taken care of quickly. Sending love your way, Mama!! xo

  8. July 26, 2016 / 12:13 am

    You brought up some great points! You know I post pics of my children and their faces and use their real names. Honestly it is not that I didn’t think about some of your points, but I just think my worldview is different due to living in an extremely small town. I guess you could say I am naïve. You have brought up some points I will definitely be thinking about and talking about with my husband.

    • July 26, 2016 / 9:52 am

      Thank you! I love seeing pics of your kids! Regardless of how you decide to handle things going forward, I’m sure you’ll do whatever you think is best for your family! xo

  9. July 25, 2016 / 11:28 pm

    I have gone back and forth with this for so long and I still struggle with it from time to time. In the beginning I wanted to blog anonymously but as I followed more bloggers I saw them sharing pictures of their kids so something told me that it was ok but to use caution. I don’t judge your decision at all. As parents we need to do what we think is best for our kids and you indeed made a great decision.

    • July 26, 2016 / 9:51 am

      Thanks so much! It’s a tough one for sure – especially when you see so many others doing it. I love that we can each make these decisions for our families.

  10. journeysofyoga
    July 25, 2016 / 10:04 pm

    I completely agree! I will have the same approach when I have kids. Is it hard to get your family to not post pictures of them?

    • July 26, 2016 / 9:50 am

      So hard! Luckily, most of our family doesn’t live close and my immediate family has small follower counts so it’s not a huge deal if they share. I do get a little uneasy when they post pics but I haven’t figured out how to politely ask them not to without insinuating that I don’t trust them or their “friends.”

  11. July 25, 2016 / 9:26 pm

    I agree with you totally. I have made the same decision with my public social media accounts also. This is a great topic to post about and one that I feel quite strongly about

  12. July 25, 2016 / 7:51 pm

    I think about this a lot. We’ve made different decisions, because our families live far away, but we’ve also decided to never post any naked pics that could follow him around forever.

    • July 25, 2016 / 7:59 pm

      Ours too! I have separate accounts for close friends and family where I openly share pics of their faces (but never anything naked!). My choice is to not share their names and faces publicly. It’s a hard decision for sure.

  13. Justine @ Little Dove
    July 25, 2016 / 5:09 pm

    Yes, yes, yes!! We are the same way. each shot I post of my children is carefully thought about, and sometimes watermarked. I also know that photos of children alone are more likely to get stolen, so if my husband or I are in it I don’t worry AS much. I don’t post about trips we take until we get home, I don’t share their names and I’m with you on the no names on clothing and backpacks too! I know so many people think I’m crazy paranoid, but it’s just me doing my part to keep my family safe.

    • July 25, 2016 / 5:47 pm

      Yes! I’m glad to know I’m not crazy! Thank you for sharing!

  14. caseyp1110
    July 25, 2016 / 2:41 pm

    I agree Shannon! I alter the pics I put on the net as well for the same reasons!

    • July 25, 2016 / 2:56 pm

      I always err on the side of caution when I’m in doubt! Thanks for reading!

  15. July 25, 2016 / 2:33 pm

    While I do share pictures of my children online I do understand where you are coming from and have struggled with my decision to share. Thanks for touching on some great points and making me question my decision more so now than ever.

    • July 25, 2016 / 2:37 pm

      Thanks so much! It’s always a tough thing to decide! Plus, I love seeing pics of cute babies and kids!

  16. July 25, 2016 / 11:34 am

    Good points. I share my so’s face in my post. But I totally get where you are coming from. The fact that you stood up for what you believe is amazing. I find it so hard at times to blog where I stand out of fear that my readers might not agree and walk away or feel like I am pointing a finger at them. But I like that you spoke on the issue regardless. We may not all agree but we can all understand that with children we have to do what is best and what we are comfortable with.

    • July 25, 2016 / 11:38 am

      Completely agree, Erica! Our choices feel right for our family but others may feel differently. I love seeing pics of other people’s kids even though I don’t share my own. I really did sit on this post for a couple months, though, for the reasons you mentioned – I was afraid to make people angry or have them think I am being judgmental.

  17. July 25, 2016 / 10:53 am

    Such valid points and it’s something I worry about all the time! Every time I post something I think “who’s going to see this and what are they going to do with it?” There’s so many sick people out there and it makes cringe to think they’re doing something with pictures of my girls. I’ve shared lovely photos of them but sometimes I just can’t.

    • July 25, 2016 / 11:13 am

      Yes! Yes! Yes! It’s such a balance, right?

  18. July 25, 2016 / 10:50 am

    Glad to hear it! Neither do I! Always something obscuring his face, or just his cheeks from the side. Definitely privacy and protection. He can’t consent and it isn’t right to take that from him. It’s bad enough that my own last name is out there too much and creepy people can find us if they want to.

    • July 25, 2016 / 11:38 am

      Yes! Thanks, Julie!

  19. July 25, 2016 / 10:31 am

    I totally get this! I try to do the same thing! I have separate accounts that I post my kiddos pics on, but try to keep them off my blog social media as much as I can. It is hard with so many other little cuties, so it is nice to hear the same is true for you! I agree, that safety for them is key, and yes, it is such a scary world out there!

    • July 25, 2016 / 10:48 am

      It’s SO HARD not to share them, right? Logistically from a photo-taking perspective but then also from wanting the world to see how cute they are!

  20. July 25, 2016 / 9:56 am

    Great points, m struggling with this too! And not just because of my blog and Instagram but definitely also family posting pics of my little guy… I find it hard sometimes to say something about it but maybe I should… But then again, it’s not just social media, what about whatsapp etc? I am also sendings pics to family etc but don’t trust that completely either… If someone wants bad, he will get bad

    • July 25, 2016 / 10:04 am

      I think every mom struggles with it in some way. We just have to evaluate our limits and boundaries and stick to them. 🙂

  21. July 25, 2016 / 9:26 am

    I think you made a really smart choice. I have thought about it time and time again and went back and forth on sharing my daughter’s face. I have previously and on a few of my social channels, and there’s always the question in the back of my mind, “am I making the right choice?” I want to be as personal and friendly as possible with my readers, but at the same time, my daughter’s safety comes first. Thanks for sharing.

    • July 25, 2016 / 10:08 am

      Thank you! I understand how hard it can be. I’m so proud of my girls and think they’re gorgeous so there’s so many times I want to share more but I remind myself to hold back. Plus, taking pictures that don’t show their faces is actually harder than one might think! LOL

  22. July 25, 2016 / 8:55 am

    Great points!!

    Your Instagram photos were embedded throughout their page? So not cool…I am happy they were willing to take them down for you.

    • July 25, 2016 / 10:08 am

      Yes! It was surprising. But the people at the website were super nice and reacted very quickly.

  23. July 25, 2016 / 8:55 am

    I agree with every single point! when the little ones are older and feel comfortable with their faces being out there then that’s for them to decide! While they’re in your power, I think it’s a lot safer keeping them away!

    http://www.shewillneverlose.com

    • July 25, 2016 / 9:17 am

      Yes! Thank you so much!

  24. July 25, 2016 / 8:31 am

    This is something that I’ve definitely battled with and thought about as I started the blog. It’s also a reason why I held off on starting one for the longest time. My husband and I came to some to terms that we were both comfortable with and set our own boundaries as to what we share and how we share it and hope that our judgment for what I’ve put out there is not harmful to our kids. I do agree with a lot of your sentiments, great post!

    • July 25, 2016 / 9:17 am

      I think that’s the #1 important thing – to set your boundaries beforehand. Only you know what’s best for your kids! I just see so many things on Instagram that make me cringe on behalf of the child (a video of a naked baby dancing in the living room, for instance), but your pics are always perfect and your boys are precious. Thanks for reading and for your thoughts, JeeYoung!

  25. July 25, 2016 / 7:41 am

    Such good points. I have a private Facebook and instagram account, but I think I should be more mindful of the photos I chose to share publicly. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

    • July 25, 2016 / 9:14 am

      Thanks for reading and for your thoughts!

  26. July 25, 2016 / 7:37 am

    Hi Shannon, these are some great points that I am sure many parents think about when deciding if they will share their pictures on social media. Have you encountered others sharing your children’s photos, for example if they are at a birthday party or friend’s house? I, personally, always ask parents before I post pictures, but in our culture I think a lot of people just post pictures without thinking.

    • July 25, 2016 / 9:14 am

      Yes! I have. It doesn’t happen a lot but a small piece of me freaks out when my family and friends post pics of my girls online and on SnapChat. I usually don’t say anything but maybe I should. I, like you, don’t usually post pics of other people’s kids unless it’s a family I’m very close to. They know that I keep my followers list very, very short.

  27. j2mason816
    July 25, 2016 / 7:26 am

    Great piece. It is so important to keep our families safe. As a fellow blogger I have made the decision to use different names for my family in my blog posts. My kids are adults and have allowed several face pictures, but they are at a minimum. My one daughter even wrote a guest post, but used her middle name to author it. As an author, I am okay with being a public figure. If my writing explodes or I decide to write a book or participate in an anthology of work, I want to be me. My kids haven’t made that choice yet, and that’s okay.

    • July 25, 2016 / 9:12 am

      Thank you! I agree with you — I’m okay with having my own name and face out there (and my husband is okay with his, too) but our kids can’t decide that yet. Thanks for reading and for your thoughts!

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