While my dad doesn't post about me to embarrass me, and neither do net icons like BatDad(seen on right), it is still embarrassing to see pictures of yourself when you were younger. I am the daughter of parents that won’t even let me get a Facebook account because they are worried that I will post something that I will be embarrassed or ashamed about later, yet they posted pictures of me without asking.
Most parents actually know less about online safety that their children do. There are parents all over the world that never use privacy settings and yet tell their kids to ‘always use privacy settings’ when they don’t even know how to turn theirs on.
On the other hand, in a concerned effort to preserve privacy, there are parents that post nothing about their children, though this is almost impossible in this day and age. Amy Webb, the author of the article We Post Nothing about Our Daughter Online, found that out the hard way when someone claimed that they had found a picture of her daughter online.
There are many theories about why parents feel the urge to post everything about their kids online. One theory is that parents feel insecure about their parenting, so they seek the comfort of the internet and other people saying the same thing. Another is the common ‘Parent Pride’ idea, sharing your child’s cuteness or accomplishments, such as my parents did in the surprise I found online recently. Another idea is that parents think that they have found a solution to a problem and feel the urge to post about it. This last theory is actually helpful to some parents, “ More people are reading about parenting in order to reduce their anxiety by seeking a ‘recipe’ to follow.” said Pamela Savoy. I have nothing against parents posting about their kids, as long as they don’t mention their kids names or post pictures, and while it may still be embarrassing when mom posts things like how hard it is to deal with a kid going through puberty, it is a lot better if their name is not mentioned.
While the majority of the world is in agreement with keeping a child's anonymity until they can decide for themselves, there are some people who think that it is a good thing that parents share pictures of their children online. Andrew Leonard says that “we are strengthening the ties that bind a larger community of family and friends together.” Some people think that it is a way for people to become more friendly towards each other and become a more tight knit community.
But do you really want to become a more tight knit community by sharing pictures, not of yourselves, but of your kids online with people you don’t know? Personally, I would share more about myself, which I give myself permission to do, rather than share pictures of my children without asking their permission. I am perfectly fine with people embarrassing themselves, but as soon as they bring other people into the picture, especially when the person might have no control over what they were doing(i.e. two-year-olds), it is invasion of privacy.
If you are a kid who has an embarrassing picture of yourself posted on the web and you want your parents to take it down, my advice would be to TELL THEM. Most of the time, your parents will listen. I don't mean to storm to your parents' room and start screaming at them to take the pictures down. Talk to them about it. Explain what about the picture embarrasses you and ask them to get your permission before they post any pictures of you in the future. They might say that they aren't trying to embarrass you, and they probably aren't. This isn't them being insensitive, this is them being too proud of you to see how it might be embarrassing. Stay strong! If you tell them why you want it down, they will listen. I talked to my dad about taking the photos of me down. He told me he would... except he didn't have access to that account anymore, so he couldn't. So I have pictures of me on the web forever, much to my horror. But most people won't lose access to their accounts. So ASK! You will be happy you did.
I perfectly understand the desire to post pictures of your kids, and I am sure that everyone does, but next time you are about to post a picture of your kid, think ‘When my child grows up, will they want this picture online?’. If the answer is no, which it usually will be, then don’t post it. Even net icons like BatDad admitted that if their children were embarrassed by what they posted online, they would feel very bad. So my advice to parents is think before you post. Would you want your parents to post embarrassing pictures of you on the web? Always remember the golden rule. If you don’t want someone to do it to you, don’t do it to someone else.
Conclusion, Updated March 7th
This was my first time writing a blog and I must say that it is a lot different than writing an essay for English class. For one, I can use personal pronouns like “I” without getting docked points. It was also really scary to state my opinion to the entire world and open myself up to criticism. But it wasn't just my opinion that I was offering to the world, it was also a personal story, i.e. the permanent photos, and how I felt and responded to it. After launching my blog, I went back every other day or so and would read the comments. The first day I checked I was scared that people would just criticize me, but there were mostly positive responses. It was great reading that almost everyone agreed with me and the stories that people would share about their own experiences. But I also enjoyed reading the comments that disagreed with me. Those posts challenged me to think differently and see my topic from someone else's view. It made me go out and read more about my topic, and I found a lot of arguments that say that parents shouldn't post pictures of their kids and lots of arguments saying that it was fine. However, I am still of the opinion that parents shouldn't post pictures of their kids. If you are a parent and you do post a picture, just be ready to take the pictures down when you kids want you to.