Why I Don’t Post About My Kids Online

Why I Don't Post About My Kids Online

If you’ve read much on this blog, you might have noticed that I don’t post many details about my kids online, other than very general information about how my 4-year-old helped me clean or how one of my kids once spilled activated charcoal all over my kitchen.

I am *hopefully* going to give birth sometime in the near future to baby number 6, and while I will share my birth experience and maybe even a picture of the birth or our baby, I won’t be sharing the name, weight, or even the exact birthdate. There won’t be a cute birth announcement online (even on my personal social media accounts), and I’ll just share our happy news with friends and family via phone, text, or email.

But Why Not Share?

I get a surprising number of questions about the lack of photos and details about my children both in the comments of the blog, and on social media, with some commenters even going so far as to claim that I must not really have children or that I am ashamed of them. My personal favorite is when someone comments that I must be a bitter, single old woman using someone else’s photo to make money online. Hilarious!

The truth is that I am super-proud of my kids and would love to plaster my blog and social media with pictures of them, but I don’t. In fact, I don’t even post about my kids on my own personal social media accounts as this was a decision my husband and I made for our family after a lot of thought and research.

Before I explain, I want to make it very clear that this is a personal decision that my husband and I have made for our family. I am sharing because I have received so many questions about why I don’t post about my kids (and in anticipation of requests to share a photo of new baby). This post is not, in any way, a judgement or a reflection of any other parent’s decisions about posting about their child online, just an explanation of my personal policy on this.

It Isn’t My Right

We live in a unprecedented time in technology and face decisions that our parents didn’t even have the need to consider. None of us (unless you are a lot younger than I am), grew up with our parents having smart phones or posting our pictures on Facebook.

In fact, if you were like me, the closest our pictures came to being “shared” or “liked” when we were kids were when friends and relatives would visit and parents would bring out the ever-dreaded scrapbooks. The physical scrapbooks or “baby book” that had hand-cut printed photos and lovingly worded captions to chronicle our early lives.

They didn’t post these online for everyone to see (because the web wasn’t around yet!) and in a sense we grew up in a safe and protected bubble compared to what our children face today. For me, widespread access to the internet and social media took off while I was in college, so while my first employers could have Googled me, the most they would have found is high school or college graduation announcements or achievements in my adult life.

The same won’t be true for the current generation of children. Future friends, employers and spouses will be able to Google them and potentially find pictures of their birth, or when they were potty training, or baby bath pictures or embarrassing childhood temper tantrums. Those personal childhood moments that we can safely relegate to scrapbooks or photo-albums may be very publicly available for our children.

To me, though I have the responsibility and honor of raising these tiny humans, I don’t “own” them as they are individual human beings who will one day be much more in life than just my adorable baby. While I get to make some really important life decisions for them, like what I feed them for dinner or how they are taught about life and morality, I decided to leave the decision of how and what their online presence would look like to them. And I hope that this is a decision they will make carefully after much thought once they become teenagers or adults.

Here’s the thing… I’m a pretty private person myself and while I share a lot on this blog in hopes of connecting with other moms and helping other families, I’d be pretty upset if someone was sharing pictures of my bad days, or going to the bathroom, or even just personal details without my permission.

I want to afford my children this same respect and don’t feel that I have the right to decide for them what part of their lives become permanently available online.

While we, as moms, are somewhat “the Facebook generation,” a lot of today’s teenagers are choosing social media (like Snap Chat) that offers more privacy and anonymity. I want to consider the fact that my children may one day value online anonymity even more than I do, and they may not have wanted me to post about them on social media or other online forums.

It Can’t Be Un-Done

As a child, I read a story about a woman who often gossiped, and to illustrate how destructive this could be, she was instructed to go to the top of a tower and tear open a feather pillow and scatter the feathers into the wind. She was then to come down from the tower and attempt to collect every single feather.

The moral of the story is that painful words could not be taken back, and that the damage can spread far and wide. I think this same analogy can apply when it comes to the internet.

As all too many teenagers have learned the hard way, it is not always almost impossible to undo things that have been posted online. Others can take screen shots of pictures so even if they are deleted, a copy will remain. Harsh words can immediately reach hundreds or thousands of people and not be taken back.

In an online world where everything can be cached, archived, and stored in the cloud, we have to assume that anything we post online will be permanently available in some form. This certainly goes for adults too, but I feel that it is even more important with my kids.

As I said above, I don’t feel that it is my right to share about my child’s life online and a large part of the reason is that they won’t be able to undo or un-share the things I’ve posted about them should they desire to do so when they are teenagers or adults. As we are the first generation to really face this transition, I have to wonder how our children will feel about this when they are older. Only time will tell, but for now, those are some feathers I’m trying not to scatter into the wind on behalf of my kids.

Is Over-Sharing Dangerous?

I am sometimes amazed by how much I know about friends and family members who I haven’t actually had a face-to-face conversation with in years. In fact, it is sometimes awkward to run into friends I haven’t seen in years and have trouble making conversation because thanks to Facebook I already know their children’s names, that their dad died last year, and that their neighbors are having marital trouble.

I don’t say this as a judgement in any way and certainly understand the desire to share on social media. In most cases, the over-sharing is completely harmless, but I wonder if in the hands of someone who didn’t have good intentions it would remain so.

For instance, I’ve read many stories of investigators who (in order to show the potential dangers of social media to parents) were able to find everything needed to abduct a child from a parent’s social media account. Thankfully, in the examples I’ve heard, these were police officers making a point and not child predators, but it raises some interesting questions. But if a police officer or investigator can find a child’s name, birthdate and school from a parent’s social media posts, it seems logical that a predator might be able to as well.

Am I being paranoid? Maybe… but maybe not.

Identity theft is another potential concern for me. Think about this… If the details of a child’s life have been shared on social media from birth, a person could potentially find that child’s date and time of birth, eye color, hair color, photos, school location and home address online.

Think about this too… many people use a child’s name or birthdate or some combination as the password for various internet accounts. Many of us have a maiden name on Facebook to be able to find friends. Many of us list our past places of employment and residence in our Facebook “about” section or LinkedIn profile. How many of your security questions to online accounts could someone answer with that information? How many of us have taken online quizzes or filled out those “21 Facts About Me” that just happen to coincide with common answers to security questions.

I personally know people who have had their accounts and lives hacked and suffered for months trying to clean up the damage. They eventually found out that the hackers were able to get in by using publicly available information that they’d posted online to answer security questions and get into their email. From there, the hackers could reset other passwords and gain access to other accounts.

Is that likely? Hopefully not, but I’ve seen first-hand that it is possible. I also know people who have had their child’s personally identifying information stolen and used in tax fraud, credit card applications, or other fraudulent ways.

I know that I definitely err on the side of extreme caution, but I’d rather do this than the alternative, especially when I’m talking about my children.

Online Privacy is a False Security

I have my personal privacy settings on all social media set to the highest settings so someone can’t even find me or view my profiles without already being friends with someone I know. I feel that this offers a false sense of security though, since many people still post sensitive personal information assuming that it is protected by our privacy settings.

At the same time, these settings are changing constantly. Every few months I re-check these settings and sometimes discover that thanks to a recent Facebook update (or any other social media account for that matter), things that I’d previously hidden from view with privacy settings were now publicly available or that it is no longer possible to stay hidden in some searches. I also actually read the privacy policies and realize that we aren’t really as safe as we think we might be.

With the addition of facial recognition software online and in social media, privacy is further blurred. Online algorithms can now suggest that we tag friends in pictures and determine who our closest friends are based on shared photos and status updates. This creeps me out somewhat when it happens to my own photos, but it is definitely something I want to prevent for my children (because again, it can’t be un-done).

In fact:

There’s a more insidious problem, though… Myriad applications, websites, and wearable technologies are relying on face recognition today, and ubiquitous bio-identification is only just getting started. In 2011, a group of hackers built an app that let you scan faces and immediately display their names and basic biographical details, right there on your mobile phone. Already developers have made a working facial recognition API for Google Glass. While Google has forbidden official facial recognition apps, it can’t prevent unofficial apps from launching. There’s huge value in gaining real-time access to view detailed information on the people with whom we interact.

Could any of us have predicted when we were growing up what our digital lives would look like today? I certainly couldn’t have.

We truly have no idea what the future of technology holds for our children or what it will look like a decade from now. I’m personally trying to guard their future privacy (and right to decide their own online sharing) in the only way I know how- by keeping their information offline until they decide they want it there.

The Reality of Online Judgement

We’ve probably all seen the heartbreaking stories of kids who were incessantly bullied online. Some of these children have even been driven to suicide by this online bullying (including a girl who killed herself after being shamed online by her father). Statistics show that kids use social media metrics as a real-life measure of their likability and worth as a person. This can certainly have its consequences and is a cautionary tale for us as parents, but many experts think that the same thing is happening (on perhaps a more subtle level) with adults too.

While most parents once reported being secure and relatively not-stressed about their parenting decisions, many parents now call parenting “stressful” and “complicated.”

One possible explanation experts give? That we are constantly being judged by our online parenting choices, since social media has become an un-official second opinion. I’m not just talking about the heated debates that rage on controversial topics where parents blatantly call each other names and claim that CPS should take their children away for their poor choices. I’m talking about the more subtle comments on day-to-day posts, the number of “likes” (or lack thereof) and the more passive aggressive feedback that makes many of us feel the need to constantly showcase our good parenting moments online.

Why do we feel the need to wish our children (even ones who aren’t on social media) a happy birthday or congratulate them on a sports win? Especially considering that our kids are often either too young to read these posts (and not on social media yet) or old enough to be embarrassed and annoyed that we are tagging them at all?

Could it be that we crave the likes, comments and positive feedback?

I get it. Parenting is hard and positive feedback is helpful. I definitely bounce ideas off of friends or ask for advice in person. I just try really hard not to use my kids as a means for social affirmation.

On the flip side, even as an adult and parent, I know the pain of online judgement and how hard it can be to face that daily. We hear the news stories about teenagers and online bullying, but the same thing happens daily among adults. I don’t post much on personal social media but from my years of blogging, I am very aware of just how hurtful and hateful people can be on the internet (and how amazing most people are!).

I have gotten actual hate mail from people simply because they disagreed with my food choices, my outfit in a picture, or the fact that I avoid iodine with my thyroid problem. I’ve actually had someone email me that they hope I “choke on a piece of meat and die and then catch fire in a fur coat” because I posted this recipe. Seriously.

Other People Probably Don’t Care

With all the above reasons that online information can be potentially mis-used, I feel it is important to touch on a much more likely option that my younger (unmarried with no kids) brother often reminds me of.

Most people just don’t care about seeing pictures of my kids (or dog, or house, or anything else) every ten minutes on social media. That isn’t to say it is a reason not to share these things, but it is a running joke of sorts about how the Facebook news feed is just for pictures of people’s babies, cats and dogs.

Harsh though it may be, none of these people really care that much about our kids or pets. They certainly don’t care as much as we do. Of course, there are grandparents and family members who absolutely do and who love to see hourly updates of our kids, and I’m definitely not saying we shouldn’t share them.

I just *personally* prefer to share the pictures and cute things my kids say with their grandparents and aunts and uncles via text or email rather than with the whole world via social media or my blog. My parents love seeing pictures and videos of when a grandchild learns to walk, or read, or anything else really. They love videos of my kids belting out a favorite song and I share it with them. The rest of the internet doesn’t really care (and it’s none of their business), so I don’t share it.

You Just Never Know

I know many things in this post seem alarmist and I don’t mean it that way, but I do think that you never truly know the potential consequences until they happen. Something may be a very low risk, but if you are the one it happens to, the statistics don’t matter.

A few years ago, I hemorrhaged and had an emergency c-section from an undetected placenta previa at 35-weeks gestation. I’d had an ultrasound and regular prenatal care. I’d been checked multiple times. I had none of the risk factors. Do you know what the odds are of an un-detected complete previa at 35-weeks with my risk factors? Really, really low. Unfortunately, that statistic did little to help when I was bleeding. Not to be dramatic, but just to illustrate that statistics are only helpful if you are in the “safe” percentage.

Sure, the *fictional* story that circulated about the mom who posts a picture of her daughter on the first day of kindergarten on her Facebook profile only to have it stolen by a sex trafficker who now knows where her daughter is that day and goes on to abduct her and sell her into the sex trafficking industry is far-fetched and extremist. At the same time, how many of us have posted bath or beach photos of our children nude or almost nude that could end up in the hands of someone we wouldn’t want to see them.

The statistics are small and many stores like the one above are drastic and alarmist. I typically try very hard NOT to be over-protective of my children. They know how to safely use kitchen knives. They play in our backyard without me following 10-feet behind them. When we camp, they take short hikes around the woods without us. They build fires and carve sticks when we camp. Heck, I even let them make the decision to eat “un-healthy” food that I wouldn’t choose for them so they learn about making good choices and accessing risk in real-time. I don’t consider myself over-protective in the least when it comes to these things because they relate to real life skills.

I don’t consider being on social media an essential life skill and have yet to think of a single important life lesson my children miss out on by not being chronicled from birth online. Yes, the real risk of actual harm to a child from being shared online is small, but I also don’t see the benefit of over-sharing. To me, this is one area where I can easily protect my children without them missing out on anything important, so I choose to do that.

We also know that much online data, especially that shared on social media or that can be indexed by search engines, is stored in data repositories and can be archived indefinitely. We don’t (and can’t) know how this information may be used in the future and if we can ever remove it.

I’m not Anti-Social Media

I feel it is important to clarify that this decision does not stem from a dislike or fear of social media at all. In fact, I was on Myspace and have had a Facebook account since 2005, when it was only for college students who had a .edu email address. I still use many personal social media accounts to keep in touch with close friends and family, and for blogging.

I think social media is an amazing tool, when used correctly. At the same time (and perhaps because I’ve been using it for over a decade), I’ve seen some of the negative and unfortunate things that can happen when young children are allowed to share too much online too soon.

I won’t keep my kids off social media forever as I’m not opposed to their using it when they are older and responsible enough. I just don’t personally want to put them on there until they can make the decision themselves since I want to help them form a good sense of judgement and responsibility before giving them a tool like social media to use.

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, the central reason I don’t post pictures, names or information about my children online can be summed up in this way: I am not my children and I don’t feel that I have the right.

My children are individuals and I feel that they have the right to this privacy. They may currently depend on me to provide and protect their basic needs and rights, but one day they will be autonomous adults who may not have wanted their childhood chronicled in such a public way. I had the safety of a childhood that wasn’t publicly chronicled and I want to offer the same to my own children.

Don’t get me wrong… I take all. the. pictures. And make all the scrapbooks. They’ll have a detailed photo record of their childhood if they want it… it just won’t be online.

I also feel that there is a balance, even for me. I share pictures of them doing activities on social media, I just don’t show their faces or use their names. I talk about them in a general way. If you want to, you could find more pictures of my daughters’ hair than you’d ever care to see. I’m not perfect with this policy and I did share some pictures early-on in my parenting days (that have been mostly removed now). I just try really hard to afford my kids some online privacy, especially while being a “mama-blogger.”

I know I am in the minority in my decision, as 97% of U.S. moms who use Facebook report that they post pictures of their children online. I also know that just sharing my opinion is likely to open me up to some of the same criticism and online judgement I always hope to avoid, but since I have received so many genuine questions about this, I wanted to share my perspective.

Again, I’m sharing my own research and opinion on this matter and the post is titled “Why *I* Don’t Talk About *My* Kids Online” and not “Why YOU Shouldn’t Talk About Your Kids Online.” I don’t mean for this post to be controversial, though I suspect that it might be. I don’t mean this post as a judgement of any other mom… we all deal with that enough!

If you disagree with my stance on this issue, I’d love to hear about it and talk with you in the comments. All I ask is that we all keep it respectful and talk in a way that all of our children will be proud of.

Do you share about your kids online? How and why did you make this decision? Please weigh in below!

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Reader Comments

  1. Congratulations! And Amen, to not over sharing about children! Internet security is an oxymoron.

    • Well written, I feel the same way! Thanks for posting

    • Protect the children, yes!
      And we don’t need identity theft.

    • Thank you, I get strange looks wen people find out I’m not on Facebook, I don’t want anything to do with it. My family and friends all know this and never post photos of me or my children.

      • I, too, get strange looks when people find out I am not on facebook. I get haggled by family arguing that they don’t get to keep up with my day-to-day life. It is shameful that social media has replaced telephone calls, “snail mail” and simple text messaging with family. It can be an awesome means to staying in touch, but it can also be a route to laziness. My mother doesn’t udnerstand when I ask her not to post pictures of me and my family online, stating that she wants other to be able to share in her joy, which is us/my family. I understand and appreciate this, but there is a lack of respect involved after I have asked her to refrain because of my personal beliefs. This article was a delight to read. Just like many online who post to “follow the trend,” we who chose not to for many reasons such as Wellness Mama has outlined, sometimes need reassurance as well 🙂

        • Wow do we have the same mother? Mine is in her late 60s and constantly posting about my life on social media. She shares all of my photos and I’ve never really been able to articulate why that bothers me. But you’ve nailed it: it’s the lack of respect. And I agree with your comments about social media being the lazy way to communicate. I’ve recently taken to sending snail mail again.

        • Yes, the hardest part about holding this stance on social media, is asking others to honor it. Some people think it’s so unfair I ask them not to share. What’s unfair is the lack of respect for my husband’s and my choice to guard our child from social media until he can decide for himself. Being the experiment generation of the internet, chat rooms, social media, there are a lot of moments I look back on and wish I had guarded myself better.

          • This is the issue I’m having as well that made me look for an article like this. I’m currently pregnant and me and my husband have made the decision to not post ANYTHING about our little one on social media for much of the same reasons in this blog. We do not post personal stuff of our selves so why post it of our little one. And we do not feel it is safe and most importantly not our decision to make. It is theirs. The issue I am having is that my mother doesn’t understand at all and she thinks it is unfair for me to not let her “brag” about her grandchild to her friends on fb and I have told her over and over why we feel this way and that we are not going to change our minds and she tells me that I am upsetting her. And she brings the conversation up like once a week or so as if ive suddenly changed my whole views on the topic. Does anyone have advice on how to better handle this situation and get her to understand why I feel this way.

      • Amen! My husband and I have zero social media accounts and it’s amazing!

    • I didn’t post much about my last child online because I don’t believe in over exposure and humility. Now that she is in high school she is allowed FB but everyone scrutinizes her posts for her protection. She is Never allowed to use her real name or birthday on any social media. This isn’t full proof, but I bare the responsibility to teach what can happen and does but allowing her to experience it. We have tons of security blocks and she does not have phone. Tooooo many parents post young kids online!

  2. Katie, this is an excellent and thought provoking list. I don’t do any social media period for 2 reasons, this being #1. It didn’t hurt none of us not to have it growing up and won’t kill us now to limit it either! I believe social media to be the new TV. It’s has to have limits somewhere, and if our kids know we are making these decisions because we love them, that’s all that matters!
    Thanks for being so real. Hope you can withstand the hate mail…or hurry and have that baby so you’ll be too busy to notice ?

  3. First of, I’ve said (typed) it before and I’ll do it again…you rock! Second of all, no posting here on my kiddos (except when my 16 yr old got her license)…I have about 6 friends on my FB account due to reasons for homeschool and church (and the Truth About Cancer Group)…in our home…my husband isn’t a FB fan and therefore we only use it for specific purposes, not social networking. My sis in law recently razzled me again about “not accepting her as my friend” and she added “it’s not 1916, it’s 2016” in regards to her brother calling the shots on FB. I actually like the little pics that show up on the comments ppl write on your blogs but when I read about it on your new year changes and how to make an account for my pic to show (i forgot what it’s called) I realized it just shares too much info about me and I opted out…hence the Wellnessmama icon for my pic. You not only take the time to help us mama’s in need for meal ideas and important health info but you also take time out of you day to respond to your followers on things like this…the rude comments make to you disgust me. So glad you can shrug them off! Thanks for your time and effort!

    • Thanks for the post wellness mama, I appauld all the mothers {and fathers} that protect their children from the so-called social network. Hopefully other parents reading this blog will find wisdom & compassion in your words regarding the privacy & safety of children and be more conscientious with postings in the future.
      Hi Tanya S.
      interesting to see you have a {the truth about cancer group}. That’s awesome! hopefully it’s the honest to goodness real truth about cancer, the facts “they” try so aggressively to keep from the public. The fact that cancer is preventable & is curable. My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and feared the treatment
      mainstream had to offer {besides the less than 5% survival rate statistic that came with it.} Instead she decided on using the Gerson Method at home and totally recovered 100% cancer free in less than 3 month. The cost was basically nothing, just the cost of a good juicer, and her regular grocery money was instead spent on organic veggies & fruits. {& organic coffee for the liver cleansing} She is now healthy strong & vibrant with absolutely no fear of relapse because she was smart enough and lucky enough to find the truth and brave enough to follow her gut instinct to regain her health as nature intended.

      • My late brother was given less than two years to live, courtesy of an inoperable brain tumor.

        He went on the Gerson diet (even traveling to Mexico for his initial treatment at the clinic). He lived nearly 14 years after the diagnosis.

  4. YES YES AND YES to all of this! I don’t post pictures or the name of my baby on my blog, and recently decided to stop posting anything on my private social media accounts. If friends and family want pictures, it’s through text or email. I struggled with this decision before she was born but soon afterwards a friend posted a pic of my baby and hashtagged it, and I started getting a bunch of random friend requests. I immediately asked her to take it down and that’s when I decided NO pictures of my children online. Each month I print out my favorite pictures so that she can have a real photo album in the future, just like we do.

    The only thing I struggle with now is people who want to take pictures of my baby with their kids at playgroups, or at mommy & me groups for advertising on the business’s Instagram, e.t.c. I don’t want to be THAT mom guarding every little thing but I really don’t feel comfortable with this, and it’s happened multiple times already. Do you say something if other people do this with your children, or do you just let it go?

    • I don’t allow that either and also don’t sign photo releases at kids activities. It is a pain and I feel bad sometimes, but it seems crazy to let someone else post pictures of my kids when I wouldn’t do it myself.

      • When I take pictures with other children (not my own) I DO NOT post them anywhere- without the parents permission. Even then- I am cautious because it is risky and not needed. I would never just post a picture without asking!! Anyways, you are so right about this. I have grown up children who make their own decisions about social media. My son voluntarily resigned his social media accounts recently because he didn’t like the atmosphere/distraction.

        • I absolutely agree! 🙂

        • Oh, thank you so much for asking people before you post! People just assume everyone is on Instagram, and that it’s ok to post anything. I found that out the hard way when a friend posted a photo of me and her and my family (including my minor child) on Instagram without asking. Since I don’t have an account I didn’t even know. Then a mutual friend approached me saying it looked like we had fun. I asked her what she was talking about, then how she knew, and was so shocked. I had to tell my friend we don’t want any of our photos, especially of our child, posted on ANY social media. But I am still surprised that people will do that without asking. In my opinion, it’s so very RUDE and invasive to do that. I am so offended by people that act like I’m a freak about it too, when they really are invading my family’s privacy and all I’m asking is that they NOT do that!!! Thank you Katie for this post!

      • Here’s another thing that drives me nuts: people taking pictures of my child at a park. I’m a little wide, so normally I just put myself between the photographer and my children. It’s kind of comical when I start shuffling back and forth to keep myself between them and the person careening for a better angle. Luckily, I have friends who feel the same. At the beach one of my friends charged up to a guy and chewed him out for taking pictures of our girls playing in the surf. He denied he was taking photos of them so my friend insisted he give her the camera to look for herself…and he did! She verified he had actually been taking a really cool picture of a seagull flying through a wave…..lol! None the less she has my eternal respect as a fearless momma bear.

        • This sounds a little over the top. Nobody is taking pictures of your children, most likely they are taking pictures of the surroundings and your children happen to be there. I’m sure that it has happened at least once that you have photographed a tourist attraction and in the picture you see some strangers who just happened to be there.
          Once we are in public we surrender our right to “privacy ” and anyone can take a picture of us, it’s totally legal.
          By the way, I put the word privacy between inverted commas because it becomes a real privacy issue only when your name (and other personal information) are associated to your picture, which can be easily avoided by not using social media (that’s what I do, and I agree 100% with the article).

          • Giorgia,

            When a photog has a lens right in my child’s face and upon being confronted and politely asked to stop, they refuse and site public domain, there’s no question this is what’s going on. You are correct, it is totally legal which is why we need legislation that will protect minors from such overly aggressive adults who refuse to respect a child’s privacy. Children shouldn’t be forced to flee from a play structure at a park because some creep decides he wants pictures.

            I’m happy that this hasn’t happened to you and your children and I hope it never does, because it is really no fun.

      • I recently opted out of several, too. And I know my decision was probably considered odd and over-protective. But I had already come to the same conclusions you have about sharing info about my children online. It’s still a new and changing world, and I’m hedging my bets. I appreciate your post and will be sharing it in order to help others understand why I do (or, rather, don’t do) what I do online. Thanks!

      • How would you handle it if friends/family posted pictures of your kids without your permission or even your knowledge? I have been scrolling through and come across pictures of my kids (including a birth announcement of my daughter when my husband and I didn’t even post anything – pictures we had taken and shared with family via text). I don’t know why someone would think that’s okay and I don’t know how to prevent it. Family and friend know we don’t post on social media but somehow this often gets overlooked or forgotten.

        • I would ask them to take it down as I didn’t give them permission to post pictures of my children. Facebook has a policy where you can request removal of images of your children, I think.

          • I will have to look into that! I was not aware of that feature! I just get so tired of having that conversation! I wish they would just remember and respect our wishes not to! Thanks!

    • As a mother of 5, I totally respect your decision and actually feel the same. I don’t post many pictures of my kids or give much info about them either for the same reasons.

  5. Good for you! So many good points!

  6. I do not share about my children or myself either…in fact, I choose to not have a FB or any other social media! Talk about being “odd-man out” ?

    • Same here!! You’re not odd! My husband and I deleted ours when we were engaged about 4 years ago! Loving it since, makes life so much simpler 🙂

  7. I am SO GLAD you had the courage to post this – you hit the nail on the head. This exactly what I needed as, try as I may, to explain to my husband why I don’t want our *future* kids on Facebook or any other media site, I just couldn’t find the right way, without sounding totally off my rocker. I believe that we are not just raising kids, we are raising future spouses, kid inlaws, morale members of society and it will be so hard for them to start a life to be proud of if we have already dirtied the water so to speak with all isolated, out of context things of childhood. They are not here soley for our enjoyment (though it definitely is a nice by product!), we are here for their protection.
    Thank you!!!

  8. My husband and I agree with this 100%. We just had our first baby a year ago and we decided before he was born we would not be sharing about him online for all the reasons you cite. In fact, we haven’t had any social media accounts of our own open in about 5years. However, we’re finding it VERY difficult to keep aunts and uncles from taking pictures and posting them on their accounts. It always happens when we’re out of the room, like if they’re babysitting for a bit. We’ve even talked with them all on several different occasions to ask them to please not share his pic or even name online. We’ve found out from grandparents who have social media that they are not honoring our requests. What do we do?? I’m getting exasperated with it

    • That is really tough… we’ve been lucky that out family has been pretty respectful of our wishes in this, but it did take quite a few conversations and reminders with some of them…

      • Though I loved this post, respect your opinion and celebrate your decision, I would like to say what a sad commentary that people have to judge and insult you and bully so you felt that an explanation was in order.
        Having said that, the fact that you have have so well shared and addressed all those point, will be a big help for other young parents to consider these things. It is thought provoking and could be empowering to many.

      • My daughter is turning one soon (only child so far), and you have given me much to think about. I fully agree with a person’s right to choose their own social media involvement. We have relatives and friends that live away, so I have become pretty used to sharing the love for our baby girl on Facebook & instagram, but there definitely isn’t any reason I can’t just text photos instead. I want my daughter to feel like she has a say. I’m thinking of cutting back after her first birthday and asking the relatives to not post as well. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective, you raise some great points and this is very much a topic worth thinking through for the little ones!

    • You are faced with a difficult situation when family members fail to respect your personal wishes and there comes a time when you have to stop being polite. Social Media sites do have privacy policies that deal with situations like yours. For example on Facebook the following link explains how to report a published photo or video that violates the privacy your children. :
      https://en-gb.facebook.com/help/428478523862899
      ” If your child is under 13: If you’d like to request the removal of an image of your child aged under 13, please fill out this form.
      If your child is between 13 and 17 years old: While we understand your concern as a parent, unfortunately we can’t take action on behalf of your child if they are over 13, unless they are mentally or physically unable to report this to us themselves. We encourage you to talk to your teen about this issue and help them submit their own request to have this content removed. You can learn more about keeping your kids safe on Facebook by visiting our Safety Center. ”

      I am sure that having their image posts taken down will demonstrate how serious you are about the matter.

      Many countries have existing legal requirements concerning privacy including that which pertains to children. The following link explains what applies to the publication of images of children in Australia:
      https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/images-children-and-young-people-online

      Perhaps forwarding a link to, or getting them to read, this particular post might help them understand why you have requested their cooperation in this matter.

      • Thank you so very much, Linda, for that information and the links. I will certainly be looking into that further and hoping I can accomplish it without having any Facebook, Instagram, etc. accounts of my own.
        And good luck to you, Allyson and Jayne, and anyone else in the same boat! Thank you for your encouragement!

    • We had some MAJOR family fights about this when my son was born. We had some family members who thought it was their right to post pics and info on their SM accounts. We had to take a hard line and when they stopped following our wishes, they stopped getting photos and the opportunity to take his picture. It was really, really hard…but ultimately you have to put your foot down. They’ll eventually come around. Good luck!

    • As I get ready to welcome my first child into the world, that’s been a big controversial topic for extended family and some friends of mine. I’ve preventively informed everyone that I am not giving them permission to post any photos of my child online. I had a family member say that I can’t control
      This, and my response was that I can control who is around my child and takes photos of them. I know it sounds harsh, but I truly believe that it is my right as a parent to not give permission for photo sharing, and if a relative cannot respect my wishes (they DON’T have to agree with my decision) they will not have the right to be around my child alone. 99% of family and friends agree to respect our choice, so I don’t anticipate much push back or conflict. But my question is, legally, can a person get in trouble for publically posting a photo of a child or even adult without their permission? As a parent, photo releases have to be signed at day cares, camps etc. for photos to be taken. Is the same right of a parent to refuse a relative from posting a photo also not a similar legal argument?
      I’m asking out of genuine curiosity, as I am clueless in the legal regard!

      • The precise details vary from country to country but in some instances, yes, the individual can get into trouble. On the whole there is no law against publishing a photograph taken in and of anyone in any public place where photography is allowed but where an individual might expect privacy eg on private property, it is a different matter.

        More so there is a legal obligation for organisations and internet sites to ensure that anything published is above board. Particularly on-line, this information will normally be found in their terms & conditions or policy documents and legitimate organisations will remove not only the image but also the accounts of repeat offenders.

        As an example of how serious governments believe the issue, in the US, in 2010 Georgia passed a bill (now under review) that makes it illegal for anyone but a parent to photograph or videotape a minor. New Jersey started investigation to implement a similar ruling in 2011.

    • you need to tell them in no uncertain terms that this is NOT to happen! if i had to tell them more than twice, they wouldnt be “babysitting” anymore. fortunately i am not afraid to tick someone off, even relatives, when it comes to my child. it is in no way, shape, or form, their place to make that decision for YOUR kids. youve told them more than once apparently, so at this point they either dont care what you say about it, or they are lacking in comprehensive skills. either way….., not meaning to offend, but you know?

    • Jana,
      I am so sorry your relatives are disrespecting you. I have had relatives disrespect me and the choices my husband and I make for our family in other ways. And, as sad as it is, I have had to put serious boundaries in place around these people, because my responsibility to my husband and kids is first priority. An example was one situation where a relative did not honor the rules I specifically gave him for my kids around the river. I had left my kids in his care and he did not follow my river rules. Thankfully the kids are still safe and sound, but he did put them in a situation that could have ended badly. From that day forward, I no longer leave my kids in his care. I’ve also had to realize that it doesn’t really matter what other people think of me and the choices I make. My responsibility is to do right by my kids to the best of my ability. I think if it was me in your situation, I wouldn’t leave my kids alone with people who weren’t willing to respect my wishes. It shows a fundamental problem with the relationship. It might feel a bit harsh, but I thought I’d throw it out there as something to think about.

  9. Well done. What an exemplary example to set for your young family.

  10. Thank you for sharing this. I feel the same way. My girls are near adulthood and *if* they choose to post pictures of themselves, that is their choice – not mine. Any images of my children that I’ve posted have been blurred, from their back, masked in some way or from when they were infants. I feel so very strong about this that I don’t even use their names when sharing something about them. I use online pseudonyms and I’m so grateful that friends have chosen to respect that and not “uncover” them publicly.

  11. Thank you thank you thank you!!! Agree 100%!!!!!! Even 10 years ago most people would have been insulted and felt uncomfortable if a person they had met once began commenting, face to face, on what they ate for dinner the night before, or how cute their baby looked at the beach naked. It is NO different! I think if people thought about actually saying or sharing the things they share online, in person, they would Not say or share it….they would probably be creeped out by the thought! Thank you for being an awesome example! FYI I am a FB generation girl. I choose not to get too involved.

  12. You’re not alone, Katie. I share pretty much all your concerns, considerations, and perspectives here. It’s a philosophy very similar to my own and one I hope to maintain despite “external pressures”.

  13. Well said!! I agree completely – Kudos to you for bucking the trend!

  14. I can’t argue with any of your points. And I appreciate the time and thought you and you husband spent to come to this decision. My problem is… the *only* reason I, or any of my family, use social media is to share pictures and stories. None of us would use Facebook etc without them. But I do get it, I often think of unintended eyes that may be perusing our lives. Conflicted :/

    • One option to consider might be using a more private online venue for sharing pictures. My husband and I have a basic Smugmug account that we share only with close friends and family (we pay a little bit for the account, but those we share with don’t have to pay to access the albums). They still have the ability to comment, but there aren’t the same privacy concerns as with using Facebook (e.g. facial recognition and ever changing privacy policies). It’s a good way to keep extended family from posting to more public social media as well since they can add in photos for sharing. It does cost a little, but in our opinions, it’s money well spent for the extra privacy.

    • Same here, most of our family is out of state, there are privacy steps you can take that only allow you and that specific person to view a specific video or picture. I respect those who chose not to though. It’s very much a personal choice and I do believe that bad or humiliated picture and stories should never be posted. We might share class picture type photos or special occasions and accomplishments. I did have an occasion where someone was trying to steal my photos to share with their part of family, fb is very good at deleting pictures that don’t have permission to be shared of that I’m thankful of.

  15. I’m definitely on your side of that debate. I do not have social media accounts, and neither does my husband or our kids. The kids aren’t allowed to and are often told of the dangers associated with internet communication. Most parents call us over protective, but that’s alright. Also, I just don’t care that much about everyone’s every aspect of life, nor do they mine. We also don’t sign releases for photos to be shared at school but are getting ready to start homeschooling so that won’t be an issue. Our family knows not to share pictures of our kids and we really stay on top of that. As always, great post!

  16. I agree totally. Good for you!

  17. This hits the nail on the head! Exact reasons why I am extremely careful what I post. You mentioned scrapbooks though, would this be the “traditional” scrapbooks that we are all familiar with or the new photo Books? My concern with photo books is the same as social media, really. But they are such an easy and convenient way to make “scrapbooks”.

    • I do use one of the photo companies to print photo books for our kids each year but don’t make sure that the account is very secure and the photos are not public at all…

  18. Thank you so much for this post Katie. I completely agree with you and continue to have a great deal of respect for you (for so many reasons!). My husband and I don’t even have social media accounts at all for many of the reasons you stated so eloquently. It’s refreshing to know that we’re not the only ones who feel this way, as we are definitely in the minority. Our children are teenagers now and they are wisely making their own choices when it comes to social media and they’re glad that we haven’t exploited them. Privacy is definitely something that needs to be protected these days more than ever before. Thank you for always sharing your thoughts and helpful information in a respectful, non-judgmental way that everyone can either learn from or at least understand if they disagree. I don’t always agree with you on everything, but I do always respect your thoughts and research and you have helped me learn and do better for my family in so many ways. I appreciate you and your continued dedication to doing the best for your family and sharing that journey with all of us. It’s really nice to have these conversations and support from other moms with similar goals. We’re all different and each one of us makes our own personal decisions, but it’s wonderful to share our opinions and information with each other and learn through that process. I know it makes me a better mom and wife and I thank you for that! : )

    • Thank you so much for reading and for your very kind and thoughtful words. I agree, respectful conversations help us all learn and I always appreciate different perspectives shared thoughtfully 🙂

    • One word: Touché!

  19. Thank you for sharing this! This is a good reminder, and a wake-up call for me to be a lot more careful online. Your honesty and articles are greatly appreciated!
    By the way, could you possibly write about your experience or tips with breastfeeding? I’m a new mom and it feels like practically all my time is spent nursing him. I don’t see how other moms do it all with more kids! Thanks again!

    • Yes! Adding it to the list to post soon, especially since I’ll be nursing again really soon.

  20. I can attest that your children do in fact exist; I’ve seen them at church! 😉

    I applaud you for this decision!

  21. Wow, such helpful views about this important topic, It never ceases to amaze me of how ugly and immature people can be. Some of the “hate mail” and absurd comments people have made is simply mind-blowing. I applaud you as a mother and value your reasons for wanting to protect their privacy, and most importantly the health and well-being! Many blessings to you and your family!

  22. You are a very smart woman. I very rarely put my photo online, I never use my photo as an avaitar. There was even a report on our local news that people should not be listing their photos or personal info online due to identity theft. So yes, you are a very wise woman.

  23. I just want to say….good for you!! Most people don’t think this way, and it is truly scary how risky their online behavior is. One thing to risk yourself, another thing to risk a child… Yours or otherwise. Thanks for reminding people.

  24. From a grandmother’s perspective I hadn’t given the postings (by me) of activiities with my grandchildren such deep thought. In has been a way for my family and friends to keep up-to-dateate with our families. My adult children have never mentioned any unhappiness with the postings, nor have my grandchildren. I will be having a conversation with all of them to be certain I’m being respectful of their privacy. Please accept a very sincere “thank you” for making me aware of this issue. I will be sharing your words with those of my generation, who like me are less likely to be aware of technological consequences that could be very damaging. I applaud you and your husband, as well as your readers for parenting your children with thoughtful commitment.

    • Sandy……I am a grandmother as well and have enjoyed posting pix of the grandkids enjoYing family fun together for other family members to see,keep up on and enjoy..I have very few “friends” I have accepted other than a few very close ones and mostly family. I have felt like it showcased the kiddos and made them feel special..I don’t use their names. I guess there is a lot to consider in a much more complex situation than I realized. Vm

  25. Thanks for this post, Katie! I have a 2 month old and before he was born, I agreed with your standpoint and didn’t want his entire life to be public. Since then I find it so hard not to share photos because he’s so darn cute! My question is: I live overseas from my family and friends and so have created a private fb group and a private Instagram account where I can get my fix and share my photos with close family and friends, without it being public on everyone’s newsfeed. Do you think this is a safe compromise?

    • Check out http://www.tinybeans.com . It is a site for privately sharing your kids photos. The only way people can see the photos is if they have an account and you have shared your photo “journal” with them. My husbands family is very big into internet security and they use this site.

    • We use snapfish.com where we share whole albums via email with specific people. Mostly my mom. Its an online photo album and as far as I know you can’t view pictures if you don’t have an invite.

  26. You are not alone!!! I use social media but do not post photos or private things as I do not believe its my right! A child is a person and entitled to their privacy and its my responsibility to protect that! Excellent post!!!

  27. I am not a mother yet, but I have so much respect and admiration for this post. You make many excellent points that all people should consider- relatives, friends, parents and the like. Thank you!

  28. Bottom line it’s no ones business but yours and your husband’s.

  29. When I started blogging years ago, I did it anonymously for many of these reasons. I have never shared a picture of my daughter’s face on my blog or social media accounts either. I even deleted my personal Facebook account because I don’t like everyone knowing all of my business. I don’t like pictures of my daughter shared on Facebook either and I’m lucky that our friends and family all respect our wishes. It’s a fine line and I’d rather under share than over share!

  30. Totally agree! Someone used an “innocent incident” that was posted and used it in an allegation without substantiating anything and called Children’s Aid. Praising God that we were cleared.

  31. I follow you faithfully on social media and this is the very first of your blogs that I have actually read. And, I thought it was great. So we’ll written and suuuuch great point. I am not married nor do I have any children but, this really resonated with me. Can’t see the future but after reading this, I really think I will make this same decision for my kids (when that time comes) that you did. 🙂 Thank you for all of your great (and consistent) content.

  32. First of all, I can’t believe the hateful mail you have received. Second. Good for you!

  33. I disagree. While I think it’s valid to be cautious about our online profile, there is somewhere between posting our tween’s naked butt and nothing at all. You can apply wisdom in what you post. I guess I don’t get the fear. That one day a potential boss might see an archived picture of my son winning a soccer game? Or pouting at the Grand Canyon? That a college admissions officer might see that my daughter spilled noodles all over the kitchen floor…when she was 5?
    My kids have a childhood. And connecting with people in community (even a social media sense) builds that community. Just this week we were out in a store and a friend saw us and was able to stop and congratulate my son on a team he made…because she saw it on Facebook. He was so proud that someone noticed and cared. That’s what I want to teach him about our community. That we are all inter connected. My kids have seen us bring meals to sick friends who mentioned something on FB about not feeling well. We get to follow along in a friend’s cancer journey (who lives across the country) because of FB. And they will learn from us why we post what we do, why we don’t post some things and now as they are older to be mindful of what moments they don’t want posted. THey are 12 and 9 and have asked on occasion “don’t post that.” And we say no problem. I still want that embarrassing pic of you but I won’t put it up anywhere.

    Yes, we have to learn to navigate it and teach our kids how to navigate it. But there is something between nothing and everything. We can ask ourselves about a picture of our kids…”will I be ok with this in an hour? A year? in 10 years?” and apply that discernment to what we post. (We should be doing that anyways). I don’t post a ton but to draw a line and say none at all seems fear driven. (And if we are worried about analytics invading our lives then we should have no online profile at all, never browse online, shop online or use email. I work a little in online data and unless you have no internet you are not free from it.)

    Anyways, my .2

    • I agree Jamie. I have friends and family spread out across the globe and use social media to stay more in touch with them than I ever managed to before (and I was an avid pen friend). Now with kids I find the sharing even more important. It builds my relationships both locally in my area, town and across the world. I sometimes base my decisions on who to hang out with and who to visit, based on what I know others are up to in their lives (from social media accounts and other ways) and how they might have responded to posts (not often the last one but occasionally if has been a factor). And I love seeing photos of my friends kids online (even ones that live very near) – I feel it deepens our relationships as we can relate on ever more levels. I guess I’m one of those people who won’t succumb to the fear factor in all of this, sure there is a risk, there is a risk crossing the road, but I still do it because I assess that my life will be better by doing it. I have previously suffered from depression and isolation and social media is not a false community to me, it’s very real and very alive and I’m very much part of it. But of course it is totally your right, Katie, to believe something different, and I certainly won’t be asking you to change 🙂

    • Thank you for you thoughts! I was reading through the comments, looking for a counter-balance. It also crossed my mind how would it be harmful for a future employer or college admissions to come across baby and childhood pictures in which the kids are doing nothing wrong. I also feel that drawing the line and saying no pictures seems fear-driven.

    • Yes, very well put. I simply don’t believe in living of fear of what could be, but do error on the side of caution. I like the will I be ok with this later idea or even, would I mind a picture of myself being posted like this? Its about community as long as we are a safe community. Though I might feel different if I my name was well knows and many many people followed my blog. But for the most part only my friends and family see my posts and even if other were to see it, there is nothing damaging there. To each their own, I chose to share my life (with those that live far away) online.

  34. We recently had family portraits done, the photographer sent the contract after the fact… Which wasn’t a huge deal until we read she puts all her photographs on several social media sites. We quickly contacted her and had her pull off all our photographs. We learned our lesson about asking to make a consensual contract in advance of services. Great article! Blessings to you and yours.

  35. Thank you so much for publishing this. People don’t realize that they surrender all their privacy rights on the internet and they no longer own what they post. Social medias like Facebook let the user set their security high (as I do) but the moment they participate in a “game” or even open a “birthday card” (as I do not) this undoes their security settings as explained in the site TOU agreement (which the users never read). Similarly with other sites. And when you “Google”, Google is Googling you! I lecture my grand-kids about being cautious what they post and never “click here” when prompted, but no teenager wants to be lectured by an 80 year old man (as teenagers already know everything there is to know:).

  36. Hmm. I think you make really good points, but at the end of the day I disagree for a few reasons. One, I don’t see it as chronicling my kids’ lives, I’m chronicling MY life. I have few friends on social media, and I do check privacy settings fairly often. I also don’t post anything I wouldn’t show a stranger. I feel that I do have the right to share my kids’ pictures and information up until the time they specifically request I not do so, just as my mom took pictures to work and shared with coworkers, friends and family. My son has vetoed a few pictures, and I did not share them to save his “reputation”. As for safety, I feel that it is a very low risk someone will cyber stalk them than that someone closer to home would try to hurt them. I’m confident that I’m taking necessary precautions to prevent predators from reaching my kids. Last, I don’t think kids should be sheltered from the Internet and social media. I think it is better to teach them myself because it is only going to become a larger part of their daily lives in the future. Much like Sex Ed, it isn’t something I want them learning outside the home. Now, despite my disagreement, I respect your choices because I think they are made from the heart. Parenting with the kids’ best interests in mind is what counts, not what position you take.

  37. Spot-on on everything!! I have said pretty much the same things as my reason for no pictures on FB (or other social medial. My son was born 13 weeks premature and was in the hospital for 70 days. People wanted pictures and updates. The day he was born I sent an e-mail with a bunch of pictures to the people that mattered. I said that they could share the pictures in person or a forwarded e-mail to their friends or church members, But I asked that they not post any pictures on FB. My son is nearly 2.5 years old and they have all respected (though not all agreed with) my decision.

    We have no idea the true ramifications of this years down the road. And I for one know that not posting pictures will not harm my child. But I am not sure that the same can be true if I were to do the opposite. And that is not a risk I am willing to take.

    My son is an amazing human being, overcoming many odds relating to his immaturity. And at times I think in terms of Facebook posts like other people post. My son did this, and this, and this. And here is the picture to show everyone. But then I just sit there and actually just enjoy the moment. In the end that is all that matters. Not whether your 350 friends hit the like button!! But being present to enjoy the moments that pass too quickly!

  38. Wonderful post, Katie! Thank you for putting your heart and time into this. I totally agree with all you have said here. Just know that whatever negative feedback you may get, you have lots of people here who know you as the caring, loving, and very intelligent mother that you are.

  39. Thank you for sharing your opinion! I’m apparently in the minority, I love social media! I’ve been on Facebook for 10 years, and I also use Instagram and I love them! My family does have a couple of private groups on Facebook to share more personal information but I think social media is what you make of it. I keep my privacy settings moderately high and don’t list a ton of personal information. I have family and friends all over and love being able to keep in contact. However, I do keep in mind the privacy of my child. I have rules that I have asked for my family to follow (for example, do not to tag my child in any location.) I think the decision is up to every parent. I may decide in the future to limit what I share further but I really enjoy sharing photos of my little one!

  40. I agree 100%! My husband and I came to the same decision when I was pregnant for our first child and was being asked on FB for ultrasound pics!! Not long after we both closed down our accounts and haven’t looked back since. My thought was anyone who I would want to share my photos etc with I could & usually did share via text or email anyway. We are also fortunate that our families are very respectful of our privacy and do not repost – however I throw out reminders every now and then just to clarify that nothing’s changed 😉
    I’m so outta the loop when it comes to social media I had to Google “snap chat” to find out what it was!LOL

  41. Very thought provoking! This post went deeper and more intense than I was expecting when I read the title but I appreciate it.
    I dont post my kids’ pictures too often but this post of yours really encouraged me to stop altogether. Its unnecessary, so why risk it.

    I also appreciated your perspective on not wanting to use your kids for social affirmation.

    Thank you for your boldness and transparency in this post! I am encouraged by it!

  42. Thank you! As brand new parents my husband and I decided to share only one picture of our daughter at birth and to then make sure she had no presence on social media. Lots of people act annoyed about this, but we’re more than happy to email updates to relatives who ask! It can feel a bit narcissistic to send out the daily update to grandma, but better safe than sorry!

  43. Hi! I completely respect your feelings but as a private person my social media is for my close friends only and a private account. The same people I would share my scrapbook with… so social media does not feel like an infringement on my kids privacy because it is private with a select amount of close friends.

    • Exactly. that’s what I think is the right balance. Our mothers loved sharing our pictures with close friends and family. and we continue to do so except some do it through e-mail and others do it through private social media accounts with selected friends and family. its all still on the internet in someone’s database whether its shared via email or a private account but the point is to be VERY selective of WHO we share with.

  44. Excellent post, Katie. I agree with you 100%.

  45. So are you against the celebrity and non-celebrity moms alike who post breastfeeding photos on social media in support of the movement to normalize and de-stigmatize breastfeeding?

    • Not at all, and in fact I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to posting one myself since it doesn’t show the child’s face (typically, as he or she is nursing) and there wouldn’t be a need to include the child’s name either. Also- I definitely don’t judge any other mom for what she decides with her own kid… just felt the need to share my own perspective since I’ve gotten so many questions 🙂 thanks for reading.

  46. I so admire how much time and research you put into keeping your family safe and healthy. Thank you for sharing with the rest of us. Praying for a safe delivery and healthy baby!

  47. I never really comment on anyone’s blog….but this was too good to not chime in!! Thank you for your wisdom, your children will be blessed because of it! I read and appreciate your blog so much, thank you for all of your hard work!

  48. Thank you for this post, in the past few months I have reduced my social media use after thinking about its future impact and only post pictures of my kids if I have their permission. It bothers me that on Facebook if someone likes your post it is shared on their time line and strangers are then seeing my posts and possibly commenting on them. I work for a government agency and we are always cautioned about locking down our social media profiles, never using our face on our profile, and many other security and safety recommendations people should heed.

  49. You really should not need to have written this and I think it’s sad that you’ve had to resort to writing it.. On the other hand, I understand fully why you have and I respect that. Good on you. I know that one day your children will appreciate your decision.

    • I don’t think its sad at all. I think its sad when people don’t say anything and everyone’s left confused. This can actually HELP people who didn’t see things this way.

  50. I like how you think!

  51. I completely agree. I have social media accounts. Mostly I have personal photos on fb but they are set to private so only my friends can see them. Interestingly enough I was at a professional event one time and someone I barely knew was taking photos. I was trying to turn away so my face wouldn’t be in them but so I wouldn’t also look rude. This person declared “I’m going to find you on fb and post these.” At that point I was done trying to be nice and told them good luck with trying to find me and I was not giving them permission to post a photo of me publicly. That was when fb’s privacy settings didn’t let people search for you. It still shocks me someone would say that.

    • That sounds like a person whom is both seeking affirmation and desperate for friends. They may as well have said, “I took your photo so I can have a legitimate reason to find you on Facebook and send you a friend request.”.

  52. Hi Katie,

    I just wanted to show you some support by letting you know that I have an almost-one-year-old grandson whose picture has never been shown on Facebook. My daughter and son-in-law could have written what you just wrote – and they feel just as strongly as you do about the privacy issue. Sometimes I feel bad when all my friends are posting pictures of their grandchildren and I know I “can’t, but ultimately, I understand 100% why they’re as insistent upon it as they are and am very glad that they’ve made the decision they have. Thank you for this post and I think I’ll go ahead and forward it on to my daughter, if you don’t mind.

    Take care,

    Paula

  53. Thank you SO VERY MUCH for posting this!!! My husband and I feel the same way. Were it not for our business, I’m not sure we’d have social media accounts at all, yet we find ourselves with social accounts and websites that share some level of information by necessity. I’m surprised sometimes at how ‘novel’ or peculiar people find our not wanting kid pictures online. Sometimes our preference is regarded as flat-out CRAZY. I appreciate that people love our family in such a way that they want to share pics of us or wished that we would, but I also find it a bit bizarre how commonplace it is for people to pepper the internet with photos of other people, without their permission. It’s like there’s no sacred space, no private moments. Do we even fathom what we’re forfeiting to line advertisers pockets…or even worse, to hand our data to child predators? It could all be a very unlikely scenario that anything horrible would happen, but this is still all so incredibly new for any of us to guess that. Thanks for having the nerve to post this! 🙂

  54. Great post…agree on all points!

  55. So glad to know there are others who think the same way I do or close enough. Years ago, I was on FB and was growing very irritated with a lot of things but when I found a few pictures I had posted (privately, I thought) on a totally different website, that was it!! I divorced FB and have survived quite well without it. I am very concerned that our privacy and security is virtually nonexistent. THANKS, Katie!

  56. I love this post Katie! I have just seen my cousin have her first baby and just plaster her media accounts with pics. We live on the opposite side of the world and as much as she is a cute baby its too much.
    My first Little one is due in July and this is exactly how I feel. My parents don’t have a Facebook account or anything like that but my mum in law is the one I’m going to have trouble with! Literally everything goes on her Facebook page. Fingers crossed she respects our wishes when the time comes.

  57. I know what u mean the net is just a place u don’t want to just leave anything for only who knows can see.
    I mean I thought I was being pretty safe online until I left a review on a Amazon seller letting others know what they tried to pull with me aka not a good review…well the seller got mad they had my name and address from there they looked me up.
    Then they got my family’s and my phone numbers called us making threats to do this and that… it was a offal mess and took a VERY long time to sort out but we did so yay.
    Amazon never did much to the seller so they r still there but seeing as the worst they can do is call making threats to hack our net accounts and make fake accounts with our names…it’s not that big a deal….ja I don’t shop at Amazon anymore seeing as it’s just not safe. -_-,
    So yes the net is a bad places when u leave to much of ur info out where just anyone can see it.
    Even web pages where u buy or sell which should be safe r not so ja don’t put just anything u don’t have to up for all to see.

  58. Wellness mama, I’ve following your blog for about a year and a half now. Thanks to your recipes my house is about 75% natural and I and my family are much healthier for it 🙂
    This post is something I have struggled with since my first child, he was the first grandbaby and still I posted very few pictures. The second baby almost none (Facebook thinks I only have 2 kiddos LOL), but with my last baby I started posting almost weekly even though I had reservations about over sharing. Thank you for this post, it really reinforced why I shouldn’t be plastering my kids all over the web (and I will be taking back down the pictures that are out there). Keep up the Awesome work, I really look up to you-Take care and God Bless

  59. When posting or storing information online everyone should bear in mind that there are unscrupulous people trying their best to hack the systems of just about every organisation or site. If they succeed then no amount of privacy settings, however high, will make one iota of difference.

  60. I agree with you wholeheartedly… I do not do Facebook. And I don’t put pictures of my children myself or my husband on the Internet. I worked with criminals for years and I do not want to ever be naïve. So if you want to call that overprotective please call it overprotective doesn’t bother me. I instead prefer to call it prudence. And prudence is forseeing evil and hiding yourself from it.

    What other mothers do for their families is between them their children and God I may think it’s crazy but it’s not for me to judge to judge their choices.

    Many times I’ve had to go back to family and ask them to remove pictures off of their Facebook pages when I found out they put my family up. I think it’s rude to put pictures of people up unless you’ve asked them and I think it takes a tremendous amount of audacity to do it as well. I am sure I don’t know about all the pictures out there and I’m sure my family is on some. I can only do so much.

  61. You are still able to open people’s “private” accounts without much effort. I was checking to see how secure my husband’s twitter account was. If I did a general search for his account and tried to click on it it would tell me it was private. But if I clicked on the results in a different way it would access it completely. I was talking with my niece about it and we then checked all of her “private” SM accounts and we were able to access them all. We have both since shut down all SM accounts.

    • Thanks for telling us your experience. Very interesting. Very…concerning.

      I really do believe that we have very little true privacy anymore — and that’s the case even without using social media.

  62. Great article. I don’t have kids and partly is because the society / government etc wants to tell me how to raise them and I don’t agree with many of those things. I agree with everything you said. I am from Europe and I have many friends who refuse to be on Facebook because “it’s full of liars” (true), hardly ever share pictures or have never shared a picture of their kids. Thankfully, there are still women who are happy and fulfiled without feeling the constant need of reassurance, support and likes from a bunch of people they might not even be close friends with. I was trying to make a point and I told my husband you can find out a lot about someone based on their Facebook posts / shares. I told him I even know where some people live and I’m not even friends with them. Now people even share their location at all times and check in everywhere they go. My cousin and his wife went on vacation and everyone learned from Facebook that their house was empty.

    Now my question is about grandparents. They love to show off their grandkids and have even less of a right to do so. My MIL would probably be very pissed if I wouldn’t let her share pics on Facebook. And she wouldn’t even ask for permission. How do people deal with that?

  63. I love that you posted this! I often have to ask friends to take pictures down of my daughter and before attending events we have to ask people to not post any picture they take on social media. Some have ignored our request and argued with us about this decision, but I have told them every reason you have listed here as to why we don’t post on social media! It amazes me how people can’t respect others parenting decisions.

  64. I agree with you on all counts. There is so much over-sharing going on the internet these days. It’s refreshing to see a blogger who doesn’t reveal all aspects of her private life. I don’t currently have kids but I would be the same as you if I did have some. And to those who judge you for not posting about your kids just ignore them. They obviously have some issues of their own. So many people aren’t aware of the dangers of posting pictures of their kids online. I was glad to see the local news running a story about turning off your location settings on your smart phone as those tag pictures with your GPS location! A mother in the story was horrified to learn she’d been broadcasting the GPS location of her house while taking pictures of her daughter down to the actual rooms the picture was taken in. Not only can sex predators get a hold of this information but smart burglars will now know your daily routine. Better to be safe than sorry & just set your security settings to high.

  65. I understand some of this but honestly, the part about the photos online didn’t make much sense to me, since all the examples you used were bad ones, like bad pictures i mean. I share photos of my kids, cute ones, like a sweet hug in front of the Christmas tree or running through a field of wildflowers, i hardly see how that could ever be embarrassing. i would never post a photo that i thought would ever embarrass my child. i say as long as you keep accounts private, don’t tag or hashtag any names, and don’t post pics that you know could/are embarrassing to your children (or anyone else for that matter) – it’s not an issue.

    my hot topic is selfies! this is a crisis.

  66. I respect and agree with you on this subject. For years, I have marveled (not in a good way) at the parents who allow their kids to put videos on YouTube of tours of their bedrooms, etc. or the parents themselves doing similar things, with all kinds of information about their kids online. When my fifth child turned 16, I allowed her to finally make a few dance videos for YouTube, after a lot of contemplation. She competes in dance and was begging me to allow her to try and get a chance to be on the Ellen show. I monitor all of her activity online consistently. It’s time consuming, but to me, it is the only way to allow her to do these things. It was a difficult decision for me, because I feel very strongly about privacy and safety. We all have to live with our decisions, regardless. She is joining me in an online business we have both created and therefore, she will eventually have to put herself ‘out there’ to some degree. I’m just glad we are working closely together on this and I will be monitoring it all. I’m so fortunate that I have a daughter who wants to do this with me and loves to work with me. I feel it can be risky, but I’m glad we are in this together and I can guide her with her internet and social media activity. But there is no way I would do anything like this without completely monitoring her activities. And this year she will be 17 and I want to show her that I trust her instincts now as well, but that I will also be there right beside her. I think you have made the best decision to allow your kids’ lives to be private, until they are old enough to make those kind of decisions themselves. They will thank you for that I’m sure.

  67. Thank you for putting so nicely what I have felt since my son was born two years ago. My husband and I decided that we would not share name or pictures on any SM. Besides the reasons you mentioned another big one for us is our son is adopted. We have regular email contact with his birth mom we share many experiences and pictures but would not want any of his birth family to have access to him in such an informal way as Facebook. Our family respects our decision as I have siblings who do not allow sharing of there children either.

  68. Katie iv read your posts for over a year now, and always wished i had your insight into natural ways of living. Im always blown away by what you manage to achieve and the pure gems you come up with in leading an informed and natural life. This is the first time i have left a comment on any of you posts but you have done it again i agree with you 100% neither myself or my husband care much for social media although without it i would never have stumbled upon your sight wich i do visit everyday, but people unwittingly offer up sensitive information about their and their kids lives without really thinking about the consequences it can hold. Thank you again and god bless with baby 6

  69. I’ve been reading your blog for a few months, and I don’t mean this in a bad way, but I’m actually *happy* not to see your children’s faces plastered on your web site for all the reasons you stated above, as when I do visit someone’s blog and see their children, I feel like I’m invading their personal space and it’s almost embarrassing. However, if I happen to have a close relationship with someone, as on Facebook, then I feel better about it.

    Anyway, I salute you, Wellness Mama, for protecting your children and giving them the privacy they deserve. Best wishes to you with the rest of your pregnancy and delivery!

    P.S. – I happen to be single (divorced), middle-aged, with no children (have nieces tho), BUT I think being a mother is your #1 job when you have children, and I think you’re doing a good job of it.

  70. Dear Wellness Mama,
    I love your site and it is very informative to my health.
    I want to start my own blog and am amazed at how incredible yours is? Im a bit intimidated. How do I learn it all? Do you have any resources or websites you learned from?
    Also, any tips for getting traffic starting from zero?
    Your website design alone is incredible

  71. I have never posted any comments on anyone’s blog before now. I just had to say I agree with you 100%. Everything you said is so true! Some people might think it’s fear driven and wether it’s fear or not it is still not our right to post a bunch of stuff about our baby’s! I’m glad my parents didn’t have social media cause I can tell you I would not have liked them posting pictures and comments all over the Internet about me! I’m more of a private person and I would hate if there was a bunch of pictures and info about me as a kid out there!
    I love your blog and can’t believe you have people saying such mean things to you! All I can say is people are really bored and have nothing better to do!!! Keep up your awesome work!

  72. AMEN sister! I stand behind your decision 100 percent. What you feel is right for you, is no one elses business.
    I am not on Facebook, and will never be. 🙂 Im sorry for the hate mail you have received, that’s just terrible. I think you are awesome.

  73. I completely agree with you and I have been doing the same since the beginning of my blog – since my son was 6 months-old. Even after the start of new social media platforms, I kept their identity anonymous. I’ll be honest, I don’t like to share my own face that much either. For my kids though, I had the same concerns as you. I thought my blog isn’t focused on my children but being a parent. In no way, do I feel I have the right to criticize others who do share but it’s my personal choice not to share mine. At 10 and 8, they are very much aware of this particular choice of mine and I tell them when I will share their photo during their activities. Sometimes, they ask me not to, which then I comply with. Other times, they recommend to setup this was or that way to make it better. 🙂
    I hope my example will also help them develop healthy (or at least what I think is healthy) habits when they are old enough to have their own social media accounts.

  74. This is brilliant. I am so glad I read it. I hardly ever post family pics to FB, but recently posted a silly video of my 14yr old son being silly. It will be removed asap.
    Thanks, Katie!

  75. I love this article wellness mama! You explained this is a way that I’ve been trying to for years with my family and friends. Both my husband and I don’t even have a Facebook or any other form of social media. You know why I dont? My parents never allowed it and gave my sisters and i a thousand reasons just like what you explained. When I was in high school it was MySpace that was popular, so when college came along and all my friends jumped on the FaceBook band wagon- I never did. Why? Because I could hear my dads words cautioning against it. Once I became a mother 5 years ago, we had so many friends and family members begging us to get FaceBook so they can see pictures of our first child. We refused, it didn’t feel right to exploit my innocent little baby. Now wih a couple more children- we still feel the same. I get made fun of all the time for being too paranoid, or “out of touch” with the world because im not on FaceBook. I feel it’s the opposit- I live in reality and connect with people in a very real way. i may not be the first to know out of my friends who got engaged or had a baby bc I didn’t see the post first but I find out from a phone call instead, which to me is so much better. I’m hoping by me not having Facebook or anything like it, that my children will take example from me when they are older and make the right decision for their safety and privacy. Or if they choose to be on social media- perhaps they will use caution with what they post because they didn’t have parents posting their entire life on the Internet.

    Thanks for writing this article! Glad to know I’m not alone.

  76. Excellent article. Parents take note.

    I personally eschew social sites for many of these reasons mentioned in Mama’s article.

  77. Did this post get removed from your Facebook page? I reposted it to my page and that post isn’t showing up, either. Did Facebook remove them????!!!

  78. This doesn’t just extend to social media – you are right to be private about your family. My daughter dated a boy in high school whose mother broadcast everything about their family to anyone who would listen. This boy was mortified and rightly so. She felt it was her right to reveal everything – not so! Someday your children will thank you for this. Only talk about them in general terms. Kids need privacy too.

  79. My daughter is the lead reporter for our local newspaper and she met with police on a story about this very subject. They revealed things to her about how easy it is for predators and potential kidnappers to get to your children thru information on social media. It doesn’t seem to matter how private you have your Facebook account either. These predators have ways of getting thru all this and if you have location services activated on your device then it is all the more easier for them to find your children. It scared her so bad that she immediately stopped posting pics of her daughter and asked me to not post anymore either…which I have not done. We have to protect these innocent children from all this evil that is out there as much as we possibly can. Thanks for addressing this, Katie !

  80. Thank you for this post! I agree with what you have written and truly appreciate the time and thoughtfulness you and your husband are demonstrating in making this decision for your family. You of course don’t owe anybody an explanation for how you choose to raise your kids – mommy blogger or not – but I appreciate your finesse and poise in dealing with those who may criticize or not understand your choice. Our children are gifts and we are accountable for the choices we make for them at this juncture of their lives. It is right for us to look ahead at how they may react to or feel about the choices we have made for them at a young age that may effect the trajectory of their lives in the long run. I applaud your caution, candor and transparency.

  81. This story brings to mind something my mom told me when I got old enough to answer the phone: “Never say who you are or any other information like how old you are or your address. They already know, if they are friends and have our number. Never say, mom isn’t here — say instead, she can’t come to the phone right now, may I take a message?” Still holds true, but for all of us, not just our children. You wouldn’t give information like this to a stranger over the phone; why would you give this and more to 100 million strangers over the ‘net??

    So, massive kudos for not sharing your children’s photos and intimate personal details! I was a software engineer for over 40 years and I have had so many people tell me I am paranoid for warning them about such things. Of course I probably come across that way, because I have seen the level of “permissible” bugs that most software companies allow. They can’t get them all out, so at some point, they release the software knowing there are vulnerabilities — just ones they believe are too obscure for the user to find, or the bug is supposedly innocuous. It’s the so-called “obscure” ones I worry about, because they may be so for the average user, but not so for the determined hacker who may or may not have malicious intent.

    I have had otherwise apparently intelligent parents say things like, “Why would anyone want a picture of my child? What harm can they possibly do with a picture?” Yes, and their birthdays and their favourite sports teams, colours, music, etc, etc. We don’t sometimes realise just how much information we are giving out.

    I recently wrote an email (quite nervously, as it could sound like *I* was some kind of lurker) to a woman blogger about this very thing. She is a mother and blogs about nutrition and urban homesteading — and she had her actual street address posted on her Contact me page! With a street address, you can Google Earth someone’s home and see what’s in their backyard on a given day, and anyone could just show up at your door. Now, think about that, and in the same moment, think about some of the trolls that send hate emails like those mentioned in this article. What a recipe for disaster!!! And her children play in that yard! She has since removed her street address from her page, but it is no doubt archived somewhere in the cloud. Once that information is out there, it can be used to hurt you and your loved ones.

    The latest thing I’ve heard about is called “swatting” where trollers who know where you live attempt to extort you. And if you don’t comply? They try everything from ordering takeaway over the phone to be delivered to your location, to telling the local SWAT team that you are a terrorist! I cannot imagine how anyone could recover psychologically from realising that the information they shared online put their family in such danger! Think I’m exaggerating? Have a look at this article on the NY Times website:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/29/magazine/the-serial-swatter.html

    Moral of the story: Be safe, keep your personal details to yourself. And never, ever, post anything specific about your children or other loved ones that might be used to harm them at some future date.

    PS: This article is the most comprehensive explanation I have seen to date. Well done, Katie!

  82. Bravo, Katie! Thank you for sharing this. It truly gives a mama something to think about. I’ve been skeptical about social media for the last few years and you raise so many good points. For what it’s worth I respect your position on this SO much and I’m sure your kids will be thankful for all the thought you’ve put into this. On so many levels you’re a trend setter and this is a monumentally amazing trend to be setting!

  83. Good for you! I first got online in the early 90’s and managed to acquire a scary stalker. Since then, almost all my online stuff is under aliases / nicknames. There are people who only know me by my aliases. I like it that way. I don’t share my aliases with co-workers either and keep a strict separation. If an employee Googles me, they only find my work into. I stream online without a cam. I’ve had co-workers ask for my stream name and I just don’t give it out.
    You’re on the right track. Don’t let anybody tell you different.

  84. Hi, Katie. I have been reading your posts for a while now and I have appreciated them. I have never commented, but felt like I had to today. My husband and I feel the same way as you do – including our strongly held belief that this decision is one that each family has to make on its own according to what is right for them. I have not been able to find much information at all online about other parents feeling similarly. In fact, I have only one other mom friend who also does not post photos of her child on social media. Reading your post, and many of the comments that followed, helped me feel like we are not such an anomaly after all! Thank you for providing me with support and showing me that there are other like-minded individuals out there. All the best to you and your family.

  85. My husband and I, very similarly, decided to not post names, birthdays, etc of our children on any social media site. We just had our second and reminded people again that we are weird and explained our preferences. We send out birth announcements and news via email…which is still not secure but hopefully better… We do occasionally post pictures online but always sweet ones, no names, locations etc. Granted, we are also fairly private ourselves even though my husband has a couple of YouTube channels. It is an interesting balence but we agree, very important, as our children’s privacy and and security are involved. Thanks for this clear explanation!

  86. I closed my fb years ago. I will have nothing to do with any online postings, I value my privacy, and I feel if I haven’t talked to someone from 20 years ago, I’m pretty sure I don’t need to talk to them now. They don’t need to see my child, nor do I want them sending the pics to another, eventually ending up in the wrong hands. And you bring up a good point, would my child appreciate my postings later in life for an employer or future mate to later find? Likely not.

    • Jen, I totally agree! If someone wants to keep in touch with me, they can pick up a phone and invest some time. Not stalk me online. I feel like since I’ve closed my FB account (years ago) I can now tell who my real friends are. People that truly want to spend time with me are the ones that actually call or make plans to get together. And those who are too busy, well that’s fine. I don’t need to keep in touch with everyone from my past, only those who are relevant today. And it’s weird for my kids when someone knows all about them but doesn’t really know them. That’s just kind of creepy.

  87. I totally agree with you. My sister is very upset that we don’t use Facebook at all and feels as if we don’t keep her informed enough since we don’t use a format that is readily convenient for her. I love that you share all kinds of things about birthing, parenting and what it takes to get through a day with kids–however we don’t need to see all the cute pictures of your kids for you to get your point across. Of course your kids exist–dude, no woman in her right mind would post five birth stories in great detail for fun, or have to think of creative ways to get rid of a toddler cough at 3 a.m., or write 100 posts about every aspect of nursing. Good grief! If you didn’t have kids, you’d surely find something else to occupy your time! 🙂 (Maybe a literature blog, or home decorating–not all things mothering!).

    On the other hand, I love that soule.mama shares about her children–but it’s her decision and she does it very respectfully–you won’t see her kids sitting on the potty the first time or belting out a tantrum. If I looked her kids up online 20 years from now for some job, I’d be impressed. At some point, it’s important to see the world as an inherently good place with good people (of course there are the statistical outliers). We’ll all do our best and hopefully end up with kids who can think creatively about these types of social media problems facing their future. Teens going through it now will be all the wiser once they’re adults, hopefully!

  88. I totally hear what you are saying. I too have chosen to not post anything about my child on the internet. Ever.

    Here’s a quick story about Facebook security. My husband is friends with a woman who works in a federal prison. She has a Facebook account, and my understanding is that she can be found only through friends lists. Well, that sounds okay, right. It did sound okay until one of the inmates in the prison just happened to send a friend request to her because he just happened to know someone who knew someone who knew her. I mean, yikes. Federal prison inmates aren’t usually the safest sort to have around.

  89. I feel you are a perfect wife and mother for your family with all that you say. No woman feels they are the perfect mother or wife they think they should be. I agree with you with saying more or less you want your children’s privacy and not posting pictures of what they look like or everything they do. If you want to show people your families pictures to family and friends you should send them by mail to them and not use any internet media. When my family got a computer one thing was said assume nothing at all is private even with emails as anything and everything can be read by someone through the computer lines all the way to the super computers and from any facebook, twitter, and all different groups like that, regardless of their privacy postings. To many people on facebook give to much information out about their families and pictures and then if they would get in the wrong hands then what? So I really believe what you are doing is the best thing for you and your family and keeping everyone safe.

  90. Dont know if you realize this but when you take a digital photo , the photo has unseen information imbeded in the codes. If you post a digital photo, those identifying codes which are attached to the photo identify the time, date AND LOCATION where that photo was taken. Most apps request or require and obtain the location where it is used. There is a way to remove that information but I dont know how. Unsavory persons have been known to see a photo of a child they find interesting, use the imbedded codes th find the location, then use that location to try to find the child (or other person they are interested in). Be very careful about posting any photos.

  91. Way to go girl!! Our house is 100% social media free. My husband is a state trooper…you are not just paranoid! The list you wrote is a reality that all families should consider.

  92. This was exactly what I needed to hear. I was teetering on some of these ideas and it just makes so much sense this way. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. 🙂

  93. I agree with 100%.

  94. I urge everyone to read “Cyberslammed” by Kay Stephens.
    Parents, teens and grandparents.
    Give it to anyone who scoffs at your request not to post pictures or info about you or your kids.
    Kay presented for staff at the middle school where I work. I am shocked that more people do not understand the long term consequences of the digital age.
    I do have a FB account and share with family and friends because they were all over the world, but I also share pictures very rarely and only with permission from my children (10 / 13). I was the horrible parent that wouldn’t let my kids touch an electronic device until they received one from the school. If and when they are allowed to get social media accounts of their own, I will be “friends” with them. I will monitor and demand they take things off the site, but they have both been educated as best I can about their digital footprint and what it may mean to them in the future.
    Thanks for sharing such important information.

  95. Excellent article Katie! Appreciate all you’ve said here and appreciate very much what you do! I admire and applaud you!

    I don’t have a facebook or any social media account…. and it works for me…. I don’t feel the need to. But reading this article makes one realize that we [don’t have the right] to put our children’s lives out there. I want to protect them and their right to privacy.. We really do not own them. Anyways thanks for posting this. God bless you!

  96. Thank you for posting this article! I have had an internal struggle with the whole kids and social media thing. You brought up several points that never crossed my mind, and I feel like I can come to a decision now. Thank you for going against the grain in a respectful, thought-provoking, and positive manner.

  97. I agree! I post about my children and how I healed their food sensitivities and the journey we went through to help other but I don’t post a bunch of pictures about them or offer much more info than what worked while doing the Gaps diet and different interventions that were successful and un successful.
    I also don’t have a Facebook or any other social media I post about them.
    I love that you took the time to write this. I think most of your commenters are the 3% that don’t do these things.
    Thanks for taking the time to do this! It makes me feel less alone in my desisions!

    Blessings
    Mary

  98. I completely respect your decision. I seldom post pictures and prefer simple headings. It’s also only done with my 3 teens’ permission.

  99. Thank you, I found this post thought provoking, I never really considered how technology may change in the future of my children!

  100. Hi Katie thank you for all your information, this is the first time I have commented on anything like this but felt the need to applaud and congratulate you on all you do, I have nothing but admiration for you how you juggle family and home, that you home school all of your children it truly is remarkable, I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts and find them extremely useful, thank you, thank you, thank you, regarding this post on Internet safety I use social media to keep in touch with friends and family overseas but feel the need to protect my kids too, it’s very easy to get caught up in the world of social media (and often waste time) but also difficult when children have pressure from peers for being different and you feel like you are the worst parent in the world sometimes for not letting them be like others but you can’t put old heads on young shoulders, and until they are old enough to be responsible I think as a parent it’s our duty to protect them from harm and the dangers out there, it’s hard as a parent keeping up with things and the constant need to be 10 steps ahead! The Internet was barely up and running when I was a child now you a hard pushed to get away from it all!

  101. Thank you for sharing
    I agree, in the world we live in today way too much is shared

    God Bless your family & you

  102. Great article. I did share a lot in the past and I’ve stopped now. I gained a lot from the article. You’re great!

  103. Katie
    Your blog was a hit from all the comments posted. Seems like alot of your readers agree with you. So do I. Stay safe!

  104. Bravo! I just feel bad you felt like you had to justify your decisions multiple times in your article. These are our children and it’s the most important job in the world to raise them well and safely! I want nothing to do with social media, which has countless times been proved to be harmful to marriage /family life/ and especially to developing pre-teens. Thanks for your article.

  105. Good job! It was your decision to have a blog, not theirs. Excellent to respect them in this manner.
    No social media in this house!
    No apologies either !

  106. Thanks for your well-thought out post. I have many of the same concerns mentioned and am very careful about what pictures and information I post about our family online. You still gave me a lot to think about though, and about other precautions that hadn’t even crossed my mind. Thanks for your courage! 🙂

  107. I cannot believe people send you that horrible hate mail/comments! I’m so sorry you have to deal with that!!!
    I totally agree with and respect your view on this subject!

  108. Haters gonna hate. I don’t agree your stance (I was very interested to read your thoughts as everyone else with the same conclusion is just triple alarmist and I could tell this wasn’t going to be). BUT I don’t care what you do with your kids lol
    I’m going to post stuff. But YOU DON’T HAVE TO. Yay!
    Vive la difference! 🙂

    –and these ppl with all this time on their hands to hate…WOW, come help a mother out 😉

  109. Thank you for this post!! I totally agree! And you brought a different viewpoint that I hadn’t considered about how we do not own our children and it should be their choice in what gets posted publicly.

  110. How refreshing to read this!! I thought I was alone but I see I’m not. I don’t even have any social media accounts myself and definitely wouldn’t feel ok sharing about my children online. The world is scary enough jsut going to the park these days, we don’t need to expose our children online. There are mothers who are finding their children’s photos on these horrible pedophile love websites and FB pages – when you share online, it just is not private. Thanks for sharing this!

  111. I wholeheartedly agree with your values of privacy, and I take the same approach too with my family and pets too (who are also family). I don’t even post pictures of friends or anyone for that matter unless I seek their permission but it would need to be in relation to a very important matter. People who don’t understand refer to me as “very particular” when I am merely protecting those close to me. It truly helps to have these values put in words in this article, and I am in total support. Thank you for sharing, and it is apparent how dearly you care about your family.

    It is also wise to remember that if ever a legal matter arises, all the past matters anyone posts online can be resurrected and used against a person…so it is good to be mindful.

  112. it took me a while and a brief moment to read this article from beginning to end…and I know exactly how you feel, my friends look at me like I’m a wierd person so my husband, for thinking exactly that way, I don’t really care what they think, and I do it to protect my kids if they disagree or not in the future that’s something I don’t really mind right now, better safe than sorry….Thnak you so much!!! I’m sharing this right now, that’s what I use social media for to raise my voice 🙂

  113. This is such an excellent blog. I am not a grandmother yet but when I become one I want to do the same as you do for your children’s safety. It will be hard not to share all those cute pictures with others but it is for the best. And I will tell my adult children about this too.
    I have to be careful not to overshare about myself on Facebook since I am not able to get out much. But I do try to be careful.
    I am SO happy I found your site and value the great information you share. I plan to get an electric pressure cooker after reading your review. I have always been scared of those things, lol. There is SO much information available on the internet that it can be overwhelming. Your site is one that I have as a favorite and one of my ‘go to sites’.
    There is a question that I hope does not offend you. I just checked your site for some information and noticed that on cover of your cookbook there is a picture of a young girl you are holding. Is that your daughter ? I am kind of surprised.
    I look forward to your emails and learning about so many new things.
    Blessings,
    Carol

  114. Apparently you had a change of heart? I could have swore that I saw a picture of your newest little girl on your Instagram a few short hours after she was born…
    I mean, you do you, but don’t be a sanctimonious hypocrite.

    • Wow… a little harsh Adam… and the picture I posted of her doesn’t violate anything I’ve written in this article… It doesn’t say her name, or show her whole face (or really much of her face at all) or give any other information that could be linked to her in any way when she is older. Another commenter asked if I was opposed to moms sharing pictures of themselves nursing their babies for the reasons in this article, and I said that I wasn’t and wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to sharing one myself to help normalize breastfeeding as it doesn’t show the baby’s full face or necessarily any other personal information. I consider the picture I shared in the same category… I didn’t share anything personal about my baby (name, weight, time of birth, or her face), but shared the picture to show that she was indeed healthy and here after being born at home, in water, and breech (all things that are not very common in today’s culture).

    • Wellness Mama says…….
      “….. while I will share my birth experience and maybe even a picture of the birth or our baby, I won’t be sharing the name, weight, or even the exact birthdate.”

      Without degenerating into name calling, it is a pity that some folk don’t bother to put as much effort into getting the facts right as they do into trying to fit their size nines into places they aren’t meant to go!

  115. Congratulation on the birth of your new baby! Oh the joys of having a newborn. I look forward to one day being a grandmother.
    Since you have been busy delivering your new one you probably did not get a chance to see a question I posted. I did not know you were in labor when I asked it, lol.
    Let me say that I do like your site very much. And this blog has some real good information that has helped me. I have your site bookmarked on my computer.
    I think you are right in what you do for privacy. I have my Facebook page pretty locked up so others cannot see it.
    I ask this question in a kind way and not in the snarky way others have. It is so not nice for people to do that. Not everyone will agree but we should be kind to each other.
    I saw the cover of your cookbook on the site. Is the picture of you and your children ? I wonder because the face of a girl can be clearly seen and that confuses me.
    Be blessed,
    CarolAnn

    • Hi Carol Ann… I was definitely conflicted about the cookbook and eventually chose to include that one picture of my children (with most of their faces hidden) because they were very instrumental in helping develop and create the recipes for the book and they actually wanted to be included. Also, the picture is on the cookbook itself and not on digital profiles tagged to them, and I also don’t use their names (or our last name) on the cookbook. I felt that this was a good balance of trying to respect their privacy but also recognize the work they did to help with the cookbook.

  116. I have an acquaintance (whom I shall call “Linda”, to protect her privacy, of course!) Linda is a relentless solicitor of FB applause and a of chronic over-sharer who had the worst-case scenario happen to her: she had her entire online catalogue of her four childrens’ pictures stolen by some unwell lady in cyberland. Said lady used these pics to construct a fantasy life on a blog and proceeded to chronicle her fictitious life for many months, changing the children’s names and dreaming up charming anecdotes to go with each picture, as she was able to steal them. By reasons unknown to me, Linda was made aware that this was happening, and when confronted, the thief was unrepentant saying that it was just a “bit of fun” and that she felt entitled to the pictures as they weren’t carefully guarded–and only after threat of legal action did she take down her blog! Linda then spent many weeks howling with indignation about the violation she felt but, alarmingly, took no further steps to safeguard her children’s pictures or the sensitive nature of her posts–to this day all updates and pics are available to all!

    Ultimately the lady was harmless–thank god she wasn’t a pervert–but this is a true story that demonstrates how we can make our children vulnerable with our indiscretion and unexamined sense of entitlement to share their life in an arena we don’t fully understand…Don’t even get me started on relatives with lax privacy settings sharing pictures and details of my own life without my consent!

  117. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this post! We don’t hear this perspective enough! I agree with you 100%. I’m going to ask my husband to read this as he does not feel as strongly as I do. I hope it will help our conversation around this topic and help us to come to some better agreement.

    Thank you Katie, for all that you do!

  118. Thank you! Great article!
    I knew and thought about some of the points, but it was good to read it all together.

  119. I blogged for ten years, about my daughter’s growing. I axed by blog recently because I realised I shouldn’t be doing it. I wish I had had your wisdom ten years ago.

    I know of the permanence of internet information but the only two things that comfort me are that I have not (hopefully) written anything damaging about my kid online (only brags, which at most, could be embarrassing) and that no one cares about what I have written to make a big deal of it. Still, I wish I had never written in the first place.

  120. It’s a great decision overall, but saying a baby’s gender and first name just to throw her readers a bone isn’t ‘over sharing’
    Doesn’t have to mention dates or last names or even put up pictures. It would be nice to be able to get to know something else about this person that we take so much advice from.
    Mentioning a first name is not really delicate information.

  121. thanks for sharing 🙂

  122. Very well explained. I had same opinions but was never able to express it like you did. Wonderful post!

  123. Thank you wellness mama for all your great information on so many topics. Keep it up! Yes I agree with you on keeping your children’s lives private. A very wise decision. God Bless You!

  124. This is a wonderful post! Thank you!

  125. Thank you so much for your kind and thought out post. I feel the same I also appreciate all u do for your children and I try to do the same.

  126. Thank you for this. I’ve scaled back tremendously on being on social media for numerous reasons. I used to share a lot about my kids but over the past few years I’ve not shared as much for many of the above reasons you mentioned. But here I am 8 years later and think “how can I undo all I’ve done?!”? Is it even possible?

  127. I was reluctant to share any pictures of my child but did so because I moved away right before giving birth and wanted to share at least some early pictures of him. I knew I would stop at some point and did so when my son was 8 months old. I try not to mention his name anymore and share little personal detail about him. Thanks for a great post. I want to remove old pictures of him now. If I have any more kids, I will post no pictures online or even their name. I also respect my child’s privacy.

  128. Firstly, I can’t believe people are saying horrible things to you in the comment box – you’re just trying to help people. Secondly, I LOVE your blog, I’ve spent 1 hour indulging in it this morning whilst eating my breakfast. Thank you and please keep sharing your natural lifestyle. Rosie xxx

  129. I am on Facebook every day. it is a place to connect with family and friends who we’ve moved away from and miss dearly. its a chance for us to swap scriptures, articles for health and to glimpse in their lives because we cant be there but twice a year. my Florida friends enjoy the change of seasons and photos of snow and i enjoy their beach photos and elderly who have recently passed. we use it to uplift, to laugh, to treasure and enjoy because life is short when you live alone far from them so we soak up every post, every photograph and every video we can. ? and if I can help one lost soul turn to christ or gain one bulletin board or printable for my bible class, then its all for the glory of God. to Him be the glory. amen

  130. I honestly feel the same. I share very little about my children online. I’m often called over protective. I’m okay with that. No one will look out for my children the way that I will, so I have to do what I am comfortable with, and what I feel is right for my family. But I had made my choice for all the reasons that you listed. Thanks for posting this.

  131. When I have kids I will not share ANY thing about them on the internet. Any pictures to close family and friends will be snail mailed. It was good enough when I was growing up, and it is good enough now. Anyone who disrespects my wishes will not be welcome around me or my child. Doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or has to say to defend the selfish and dangerous culture cropping up around oversharing. It is for me and my husband to decide, and once my child is of age, she/he can decide. And I don’t mean 13 or 14 years old. I’m talking 17 or 18. Kids spend too much time involved in social media as is, and it is doing no one any favors. Thank you for posting this article!

    • Right. To me, far too many parents trying to be “modern” end up being delinquent in their responsibilities towards their children. The internet is awash with very creepy predators. We must protect our kids until they can do for themselves. They are precious. They are our future. They are our everything. They are our immortality!

  132. I have never done this, for this exact reason. In fact I closed my myspace account in 2007 did not move over to facebook. just moved out of social media altogether.

    I had my son read this article today. He is 12, and after reading it, he said thank you to me for not putting him in the position so many other kids have been put in on social media by their parents.

    It was a nice moment. Reality is though no one thinks about the future, mostly people live by the “now”. They also mostly operate as a herd mentality, so one follows the other- right off the cliff.

    I dont know one person who has stopped and considered that maybe their children don’t want a running public record
    of their lives, that they can never take down, or remove off the internet that will still be there in 20 years time.

    Its not like as a child you even know what it is to consider what it could be in the future, to give consent to begin with.

    Few travel the road of non social media. but the ones that do, do it for very real, well thought out reasons.

    take care. great article.

  133. Good for you Katie, you make many many good points!!

  134. Sharing with only close friends and family sounds private enough until you ask who are they sharing the same information with?

  135. I’ve commented a few times before and I really do love your blog! 🙂 I’m happily childfree, unfortunately a so-called “millennial”, but your beliefs and the old ways vibe well with me. Security and privacy are my middle names. Haha not really, I wouldn’t be telling you if they were. But I get a lot of crap from people for not doing Facebook.

    And they are SO disrespectful! Instead of asking you if it’s okay to post your information online, people assume everyone is cool with it unless specified otherwise. I swear, if I go swimming at my brother’s friend’s house, they’ll be posting in a swimsuit all over the internet. And my brother is old enough to be my dad!

    He has a baby niece now too….I know how parents feel when a childfree person says this, but my brother and most other people these days are terrible parents. He in particular is a 40 year old manchild who encourages our nephew to take the brakes off his bikes and ride out in the street. Believe it or not, my brother didn’t learn his lesson from doing the same thing and getting hit by a car. And now my new baby niece is drinking Nestle formula and plastered all over Facebook.

    I don’t like kids but I respect their autonomy.

  136. @wellnessmamma I love this article. I personally do not like giving strangers or people that I am not close to a front row seat to my personal life! Social media definitely can make someone feel pressured to show more of our personal life but caution is always a good idea. Better safe than sorry. And yes I’m sure your kids will greatly appreciate no embarrassing photos of them! Lol

  137. Hi Katy, what a great post. When my kids were little I didn’t have a smart phone, facebook etc but now that they’re grown I still ask them before I post anything with them in it. For example, my middle son just got married and I cleared it with them before I posted some wedding pics. My son doesn’t use FB while my DIL does. I just think it’s common courtesy, and in the case of young ones, an absolute necessity.
    I’ve often looked at all the things people post and wonder why it’s so necessary to show the world everything! 🙂
    PS. I just made your Burt’s Bee’s knock-off lip balm for everyone and it came out great. Thanks so much! I think the comments are closed on that one.

  138. Thank you so much for such a well thought out article. I’m going to borrow some of these thoughts when I deal with the people who give me such a hard time for not posting my children’s faces all over my Instagram. It’s amazing to me how many people care about my lack of, rather than others over shares. Its great to know others share the same convictions I do.

  139. I share the same feelings. Itsun comfortable to post pictures of my child to 600 people who I have ” friended ” on Facebook, some people I’d want to see ,some I wouldnt and I don’t want to go through the process of blocking some people over others. Its a weird game. It take s a lot of energy. I want to quit Facebook all together I don’t know why Im holding back. I

  140. Sara,

    I quit Facebook several years ago and don’t miss it a bit. I stay in touch with the people I need to and the rest is such a waste of time, time that can be spent with family…in my opinion.

    Plus I don’t have my every thought all consolidated in one place on line.

  141. Thanks so much for writing this article… I found it while googling “I choose not to put photos of my children online”.
    I have a 10 week old baby and have chosen not put photos of her on social media… for a number of reasons.
    I have had a couple of friends post photos of her and had to ask them to take them down (they did not ask in the first place)… then they ask me why!
    It’s very hard to explain to some people my choices and this article really helped me become stronger to give my answer… They don’t understand, nor should I have to explain my actions!
    Thanks so much & congrats on being a mumma of 5! X

  142. I’ve recently started a blog and have been really struggling with this subject. I whole heartedly agree with your article so I’ve been trying to find creative ways to post pictures without actually having my son in them. (Ex. A picture of us reading a book together from behind so you can’t see his face or a picture of my mess of a living room with him blurred to the side). Do you ever get creative with your pictures so your kids are “in them” without actually being in them?

  143. I was very lucky to grow up in a home where, although Internet has been a very strong presence in my life, I was not allowed to have any social media accounts. I think that social media is a great way to stay connected, but I don’t use it, even now that I have the ability, since NOTHING is completely private online, and I would like to make connections in real life, not over the internet.

  144. Excellent topic and a very well done post, Katie. At 34y old and a daddy to an awesome 4y old daughter, I cannot agree more with everything you’ve noted. That’s exactly how I administer her online presence. I’ve been a visitor to your blog every now and then, but this post really hit too close to home and how I perceive Social Media and its impact on everyone’s lives (esp our kids). Hence, I find myself leaving my first comment on your awesome blog!

    I’ve been an IT Professional for over 14 years now and did my bachelors degree in Computer Science as well. I also am inherently curious about the Goods and Evils of technology .. esp Internet. Social Media has done a tremendous job in bringing people closer.. however, it has opened a new Pandora’s box at the same time.

    I see way too many people sharing way too much on FB etc and it hurts to see even more wen they go overboard with sharing all of their Kids’ lives. It just amazes me how much of the world doesn’t have a clue how they might be ruining the lives of their kids, without their permission or knowing!! I can’t even imagine the affects of the current state of sharing will have on their family’s future relationships!!

    EVERYTHING you noted in this post is the bare minimum education EVERYONE needs to get. Once they’re educated, it’s their choice how they make their choices (you can bring a horse to the pond, but not make ’em drink!)

    On a related note, when my daughter was born, I even went 1-step ahead and created an e-mail address for my daughter with her FirstLastname@.com on some popular domains. So, when she grows up, she can thank me for that ++ I keep sending her e-mails about everyday journals, words of wisdom, anything else that I wanna tell her etc I also use it as my hack for having a “grown-up” conversation with her… LoL

    I don’t share anything on FB or other social media of her, however, I have long found it challenging to share our memories with the extended families in India and other loved ones around the world – some want text, some Moments, e-mails, messengers etc etc … to a point that it became painful.

    I do use Google photos to automatically backup all my memories and auto-curate them – which is AWESOME, btw. And I recently bought Google Pixel XL – so, Google Photos gives you Unlimited Storage and in Original resolution.

    Having said that, I would be really interest to know –

    What do you do to Privately Share your family memories, Organize them, Protect from disasters, Preserve them over your lifetime and beyond?
    …any Apps you use etc ..I get that you do scrapbooks etc … and WHAT would be your Ideal solution looks like… say if you can just make it happen magically.

    I understand that you might not even see this comment or find time to respond … which is OK! I just wanted to share my thoughts with you and everyone else. I welcome other who run into my comment to share their thoughts on my question as well please.

    Keep up the great work, Katie.

    Cheers
    Gaurav

    • I typically backup pictures to both Dropbox and an external hard-drive and I create scrapbooks for the children each year using Shutterfly…

      • Hey!! Thanks for your prompt response. I actually used to backup my memories to Dropbox …. Until I exhausted the 2GB free and refused to pay $100/year rent on my memories. That’s when Picasa (now Google Photos) came to the rescue and since then, I’ve never looked back for automatic backups etc.

        + The private sharing required most everyone to have Dropbox … And temp sharing was easier via email/messenger/text

        ++ Organization is a mess in Dropbox … And I think you feel that pain. Cuz the speed with which I take pictures, videos, journals, audio etc of my daughter, she’s gonna end up with TBs of memories by the time she grows up …LoL

        +++ How do we add meaning and purpose to tons of photos etc we take … Like the way we care about those few scrapbooks of our childhood.

        ++++ How do we preserve these memoires that matter, of the people that matter .. Over our lifetime and beyond??

        What about the stories and legacies of our parents and grandparents?

        When I come to think of it all …. It’s a big mess and it seems like people have come to accept FB as a way of life … Without even realizing that everything on fb is out of their control and not to mention that it kills the original resolution.

        There are some apps that help (lifecake, efamily, 23snaps, forever, notably etc)… But nothing that I found that really solves the problem 360 and nothing that truly connects our family and loved ones.

        Thoughts?

        Btw, We also try to do yearly photo books … Shutterfly and Photobook America. It is just awesome to do that.

        • and yeah – I forgot to mention the time when my external HDD crashed for no reason when my daughter was 2.5y old. I’m glad I had made copies across 2 laptops 🙂

  145. I do disagree for myself. I believe just having Internet is putting yourself out there. Someone with enough computer skills could figure out who you are and where you live simply by looking up your Ip address. So you aren’t truly protecting your identity unless you have no Internet whatsoever. I don’t hold with worrying over anything. God helps me to discern if something I post is too private or inappropriate. But God commands all his children to have no fear and not to worry, so if I decided not to have an account or post pics solely based on fear or worry than I would be committing a sin against God. I had no fear or worry in my heart when my youngest went in for heart surgery, so I can’t allow myself to indulge in that over a few words or pictures on facebook. I have no judgements. All I can do is give advice to those who profess to be Christian; let God be your guide.

  146. Thanks for sharing this wonderful view! My husband and I are expecting our first baby and have been giving much consideration to the question of posting baby pics, etc on our facebook accounts. This is so reassuring to read and know that we’re not being unreasonable if we decide not to post family details. We’re planning to extend the “no baby pics on social media” request to our friends and family that may babysit, and being able to share your article with them with make things easier to explain.
    Thanks again!
    ~Katie P.

  147. I completely agree with you. Thank you for sharing. I’m a mom of 3 girls and want to share my love for them with the world. I had to ask myself what kind of message is that going to send (by posting them on social media) and my husband and I came to the same conclusion after discussion. It feels great to see the support from other mommas, a bit of validation is never a bad thing. 🙂