Go to your Facebook news feed. What do you see?
There’s the friend who posts all those cooking videos, the one who loves sharing Donald Trump memes, the friends with their duck-face selfies, and oh yeah – the friends who can’t seem to post enough pictures of their kids. Especially those adorable professional newborn photos. You know the ones I’m talking about. Where baby is wrapped up like a burrito in a knitted ladybug outfit. So cute, right?
Admittedly, I’ll be the first to gush a smile and an “awe!” at one of those adorable photos, cause face it, they’re friggin cute! But you’ll never catch me posting photos of Doodle. Hubby and I agreed that we would post one photo when he was born and one on his first birthday and that was it. And we have politely asked our family and friends to follow our requests.
Proud parents, but cautious parents
Many times friends and family have asked us why we don’t put pictures of our son online. This is our opportunity to share with you our reasons. Now, I’m not here putting down anyone who’s chosen to share pictures of their little bundles online. I get it, you’re proud parents. You should be excited to share your little monkey with the people in your life! But there are some specific reasons that hubby and I are choosing to refrain from a Facebook baby photo-frenzy.
- How will our child feel? Doodle might not be old enough to express himself yet, but that doesn’t mean we disregard his feelings. When he’s 13 years old will he appreciate that we posted endless amounts of photos of him online? If I found out when I was 13 that my mom put photos of me every month/week/day on Facebook (hypothetically speaking – there was no Facebook when I was 13!) I would be livid. I would feel embarrassed. I would wonder what photos they were and who saw them. I would want them removed. I would also lose some of the trust I had in my parents. I can tell you that is how I would feel. If Doodle ended up feeling like that too, even a little bit, I would be plagued with guilt and regret. I don’t want any of that.
- Facebook has the right to use your photos. Has anyone actually read Facebook‘s Terms of Service and their Data Policy? Here is an excerpt from their Terms of Service regarding photos and videos: “[Y]ou grant us a non–exclusive, transferable, sub–licensable, royalty–free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License).” So what does this mean exactly? Essentially, Facebook does not own your photos, you remain the owner. You have the copyright. However, they do possess an IP (intellectual property) licence to use your photos and videos (and statuses) as they see fit without being sued. It is royalty-free so they do not have to pay you. It is transferable and sub-licensable so they can share your images with other parties. And there is nothing you can do about it. I do not like the idea of Facebook being able to use my photos in any way they see fit. I also want to keep my Facebook account. My solution? I just don’t put pictures of him on Facebook.
- We don’t want people “creeping” our family. How many of your Facebook friends would you consider to be close friends or family? Let’s be honest now. You may have been friends with Joe Blow back in high school, but when was the last time you spoke to him? Among my Facebook entourage are close family and friends, but there are also co-workers, acquaintances, friends of friends etc. Frankly, I don’t feel comfortable giving everyone on my friends list access to photos of my child. It’s creepy! “But Sabrina” you say, “Facebook lets you to group your friends and allow different groups access to different information.” Yes, so they do. But that takes time, and I would rather do, well, anything else other than waste time on Facebook categorizing my friends. It also can’t stop your profile picture and cover photo from being seen by anyone on the internet. Anyone. These are public pictures for the whole internet to view. And Heaven help you if you if Facebook does one of its famous updates (remember when they added the Timeline feature?) and suddenly the information and photos you thought were private no longer are. I would rather not have to deal with this.
- We want to foster face-to-face relationships. Facebook is intended to connect people, but I feel that it has the potential to do more harm than good in that regard. I believe in developing and maintaining meaningful relationships. I find that difficult with Facebook because it allows you to know everything someone posts about themselves without ever speaking to that person. What’s Jenny up to today? Better check her Facebook and see! You no longer have to visit, call, email or even text someone to know what they’re doing. You don’t even have to comment on their Facebook page to communicate, you can just click “Like”! I find this can be a huge breakdown in communication and in turn, in relationships.Maura Keller has a great article on this in Social Work Today. If our friends and family care enough to want to see Doodle and wonder how he’s doing, then they can make the effort to have a real relationship with him. And for those who live too far to visit, a phone call, or even email would suffice. We would be happy to text you some family pictures. Just ask!
- We want to protect our children’s privacy. Call me skeptical, but I simply don’t trust the internet. I harbor the mentality that anything you put on the internet will be available for the world to see. No matter the amount of privacy protection you think you have. So I’m careful. Careful with my personal information, but extremely careful with my son’s information. Paul Booth, assistant professor of media and cinema studies in the College of Communication at DePaul University in Chicago, says it this way,
“We always have to keep in mind that our social networks are searchable—even when privacy settings are set extremely high, it’s always possible to find out personal information.”
I want my babies to know that I did everything I could to protect their privacy. The time will come when they are old enough to make the choice of what personal information and photos of themselves are available online. I think that is their right, and I will uphold that.
What do you think?
These reasons are enough for our family to abstain from putting Doodle on Facebook. Other families may feel differently, but this is what is working for ours.
Do you post photos of your family and children on Facebook? Why or why not? Comment below and let me know!