It seems like everyone is posting pictures of their babies online these days. It’s so easy thanks to Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and the billion blogs out there.
If everyone is doing it, does that make it safe?
Not really. And if you choose not to do it, does that mean you can prevent everyone you know (or don’t know) from doing it with pictures of your children?
Can you keep your mother or mother-in-law from posting pictures of your children? What about coaches showing off their teams? What about other parents posting pictures from the school play or dance recital?
Not long ago, a mommy blogger found a baby blog devoted entirely to her baby. Trouble was that she knew nothing about it. A woman she did not know had created a baby blog and had needed some baby pictures to fill it, so she borrowed a baby. Who does that?
And about that ubiquitous YouTube, yes, it was very cute when your son had his first cupcake, and yes, you want to share that footage with your cousins in Arkansas, but is YouTube the best way to do it?
Here are some ideas I’ve harvested from some Internet-savvy and safety-minded moms I know. Some of them are more valuable than others. Some are more realistic. Some are downright paranoid. Feel free to pick and choose which safety measures work for you.
- Put a digital watermark on every photo you take. Don’t use your name, but use a name that can be easily associated with you.
- Educate your children, even when they are very young, about Internet safety. Ask them to tell you if anyone takes a picture or video of them.
- Ask family and friends not to share pictures of your children online. If this becomes an issue at a Little League game, you still have the right to say, “You do not have my permission to film my son.” (Other parents will then assume you are in a witness protection program.)
- If you do choose to share your pictures, only do so on sites that allow you to restrict visitors. Some sites (like Shutterfly) require that a viewer be invited to view pictures.
- If you choose to share baby photos on a blog, consider making the blog unsearchable.
- If you do choose to share your pictures, don’t use names. Use nicknames instead. Then your son will be forever known as “Sailor” or “Pumpkin” or worse.
- Don’t share bathtub photos, or any other partially nude photos, with anyone, ever.
- Every once in a while, do a Google search for your child’s name, and make sure that no one else has uploaded pictures with names attached. If you do find pictures, contact the site they are posted on and ask that they be removed.
Robin Merrill is a freelance writer who loves to write about babies, but lately finds herself writing a lot about Animal Bags and Reef Flip Flops.