To Post or Not to Post Your Child on Social Media?

These days, nearly all of us have at least one social media account. There are so many social rules around social media, but like most socially imposed rules they are subjective and basically everyone just ends up doing what they want anyhow. I go back and forth on a few of my self-imposed social media rules, and I realize it has a lot to do with how passionate I feel about something, how fed up I am getting with one platform over another, or sometimes I feel that as an educator perhaps I should remain neutral on some topics, then I feel like as an educator I should absolutely not remain neutral—I should educate.

Another self-imposed rule, away from opinion and politics (maybe?) is whether to post photos of my infant, not toddler daughter on my social media accounts? It was never a rule so much as something I have done from the beginning and then I back off from time to time. I want everyone to see how amazingly adorable my baby is, but then I also do not want everyone to see how amazingly adorable my baby is. I will go a month or more without posting a single photo and then she will do something new or super cute and I will blast it to the world. Then, I pause because I feel…something… is it guilt? Or fear? It’s not that I don’t want to “show off” my beautiful child. It’s something else altogether. There is a lingering fear that the wrong people are watching. There is also a pang of underlying guilt that I am taking away her autonomy to decide what she would like to do with her image later in life, I have already decided for her. 

I know I am not alone in these potential fears or guilt. I have friends and family who do not post their children on social media. Not a single picture. Conversely, some might say my fears and guilt are nuts! I also have friends and family that post their children on social media constantly. Neither one is right nor wrong—why do I have such trouble picking which camp in which I would like to reside? I am not a celebrity (duh). I do not need to protect my child’s image or identity for those obvious reasons. My fears come from completely unfounded (to me) worries that a person who wishes to do harm to my child could be watching. My guilt comes from ever-present privacy concerns as our technologically forward world becomes more and more the only way of life for our younger generations. My guilt also comes from taking away her choice in determining how she projects her image to the world. I suppose when she becomes more of a “person” that can speak, and actually type, or share her own image for that matter, I could worry about it then, but I worry about it now.  Maybe, just maybe, I am alone in these particular thoughts.

Alas, I still share her photos on social media from time to time (mostly in expiration dated stories now…) and I still relish in the exuberance that others share at the sight of my beautiful child.

Brandon Adler
Brandon Adler is an Assistant Professor and Librarian specializing in legal information and information literacy who is passionate about equal access to information and great cocktails. She lives in New Orleans with her husband, daughter, two cats, and a dog.


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