Some of you may have been wondering why, for a parenting blog, photos of my children are noticeably absent. I’ve been wanting to write for awhile now about why you won’t see my kids’ faces here, but honestly, I’ve been afraid to do so.
However, this absence has been weighing especially heavy on my heart since Easter. So here goes.
But first, a warning:
This post is NOT about you, or your family, or your choices.
It’s about me, my family, and our choices.
I don’t want anyone reading this post to take it personally. I’m not trying to criticize anyone. I’m just trying to explain why this is how my family rolls.
This post contains collaboration links. However, please know I stand behind everything written here, and only include links to products/services/resources I’m willing to recommend personally.
Growing up in the dark ages (i.e., the 20th century)
I’m guessing that most (if not all) of you reading this can remember a time, even if you have to go back to your earliest childhood, before everyone lived their lives online.
As for all our cuteness, awkwardness, and every other formative stage of our lives in the pre-Internet era, all the photographic evidence remains safely tucked away in the photo albums and wall decorations of our parents’ homes, if they’re still living. Or perhaps a corner of our basement, if they’re not.
The photos of my overweight youth come to mind.
As do all the snapshots I still have somewhere, of a childhood friend who struggled with eating disorders.
There’s still a public record of her struggle on display in the pages of our high-school yearbooks.
But having to hunt down a small-town yearbook to learn about someone’s past is a lot harder than poking around the Internet, where we can learn all sorts of stuff about whomever we want at any hour of the day, all from the privacy of our own homes.
The gift of privacy
When I told my dear husband I wanted to start a parenting blog in early 2014, the girls’ privacy was his first concern. (Closely followed by his privacy and mine.)
Basically, what he wanted for them was similar to what we all want: the ability to curate the public image of our selves (photographic and otherwise) that we present to the world.
His bottom-line argument: Until they were old enough to consent, I shouldn’t use identifiable pictures of them on my blog. Even cute photos of those adorable Halloween costumes I cobbled together for them years ago.
When I thought about it, I realized that he was totally right. I wouldn’t want my youth (including all those embarrassing or awkward moments) accessible to, say, potential employers at any moment.
Or crazy ex-boyfriends. Or, given that I was a teacher before I became a parent, former students. (I was stalked/harassed by both an ex and a student for awhile in my mid-20s. Not fun, and definitely the start of my own personal intense love of privacy.)
Life in the Internet Age
For those of you who haven’t been on the job market recently, think about it: potential employers ARE checking. Including social media. (And yes, that includes Facebook.)
And as early as 2010, one in two employers rejected potential employees after researching them on Facebook, according to one study in the UK.
No wonder advice on how to clean up your online presence when job-hunting is abundant, starting with undergraduate career centers.
I envy all of you who got your college major, choice of future mate, career choice, etc. right the first time.
But only a little; I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes and course corrections. Still, I’m glad at least some of them happened offline, in a pre-Internet-saturated world.
It’s one thing to write about my own steep learning curve as a parent. But with every post I write, I try to think long and hard about how my kids might read that post in ten years.
Not to mention how their tween and teenage frenemies might read it. Or a curious admissions officer considering their college application. Or a potential employer someday.
Growing up female
And while our decision would be the same if we had boys, I think (having been one once) that girls in particular have a hard enough time navigating self-image, without adding the extra burden of a constantly-updated online photographic record to the mix.
Don’t get me wrong. I had an idyllic childhood in many respects, with parents who loved me and took great care of me. (Thanks, Mama.)
But when I try to imagine my own awkward childhood moments all over Facebook, and still out there for the world to see, I cringe.
It’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one who worries about problems down the road from sharing their children’s every moment on the Internet.
It’s bad enough that our children learn how to pose for the camera practically from birth. Essie had that “oh, the camera’s out, let’s pose!” drill down from age two. Which is about the age when Kimmie started saying at random moments, “Mama, take a picture of me!”
Is that the only form of validation I’m giving them? That they only matter to me when I’m recording them for posterity? I hope not, but I think it would be a thousand times worse if they started to attach a sense of status and self-worth to every picture I posted of them online.
The safety argument for why you won’t see my kids’ faces
And though I try not to obsess over the dark side of modern life, there is the fact that our online privacy is a field of ever-shifting quicksand. Every time we share about our kiddos online, what we share has the potential to compromise not only their future security, but also their safety in the present.
My own privacy thing, including crazy ex-boyfriend, is why I was one of the last of my friends from high school (or college or beyond) to get a Facebook account. But ongoing privacy concerns for the girls is part of why Super Mom Hacks’s Facebook Page hasn’t been around for nearly as long as the blog has.
As I scrolled through all the gorgeous Easter photos of friends’ families online this past Sunday, a part of me really wanted to put up my own pic of the girls. But deep down, the part of me that wants to protect them by guarding their online identity quickly overruled that urge. We take our home security very seriously, so why not give the same importance to our online lives?
As I wrap this up, I want to reiterate what I said at the beginning:
This post is NOT about you, your family, or your choices.
It’s about me, my family, and our choices.
As parents, we all have to trust our gut to do what’s right for our own families. This is what our gut tells us is right for ours.
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22 thoughts on “Why You Won’t See My Kids’ Faces Here”
🙂 I also do not show my little one’s face online, and love to share hard copy photos with family! ? It’s been difficult to not have family members and friends and not become offended though, especially the first year of birth… ☹️. They are more understanding now.
Yeah, it’s really hard for some people to grasp. But especially since so many of my relatives are older, it was always more effective to send them hard-copy photos anyway lol!
Great post and very valid points. I rarely share pictures of my son online and when I do I always make sure they’re low resolution and watermarked. I’m also terrified of having his pictures stolen electronically and have talked to a few people that shared our pictures so they would take their posts down. I have friends that share way too much of their kids’ lives online and it always leaves me baffled.
Thank you for sharing your reasons to do it differently.
Thanks for sharing your own tips on kid protection in online images, Taly – excellent tips for those with the appropriate software skills! You’re right, people stealing our kids’ images is another very real concern. I am glad you “get” why I avoid putting the temptation out there in the first place! 🙂
Very understandable. But it’s always their choices – our choice. Just do share photos of me and my kids.
Exactly – each parent should get to decide for their own kids what’s right for THEIR family!
I completely agree with this decision… there was a discussion in one of the blogging groups Im in where there’s a site that claims to provide stock free images yet pulls those images from instagram and blog posts.. some of them are even personal photos of mom bloggers of their kids.. :((
Isn’t that awful? I have friends whose (non-kid) photos have been stolen by others – I can’t even imagine seeing pics of my own kids plastered all over the place!…
These are all really good points! I have a lot of friends who don’t put their children’s faces online and then others who have and had creepy/weird experiences. You just have to do what’s best!
*Exactly* April! 🙂
I have two boys and Idk the privacy thing doesn’t really get to me. My boys love making youtube videos and my 11 year old has an IG page that I have access to bc he loves youtubers and looking at their stuff. I always show pictures of my kids, but I understand others not wanting that. To each their own.
Exactly, Nikki – to each their own 🙂
I don’t have children but I actively do struggle with this when it comes to my nieces and nephews. Usually when I get to see them it’s a huge event and everyone is hounding me for pictures. I think it’s unfair to post them when the person in them can not consent. It’s a difficult conversation.
I totally agree, Angela – thanks for being a conscientious auntie on this! (since not all kids are so lucky…)
It is a personal choice every parent has to make, whether they are a blogger or just on facebook. Thanks for being transparent about yours.
You’re welcome, Holly, and thanks for the support! 🙂
I understand you side and would hope others accept your feelings and opinion on this. We lived in such a simple life pre-internet. I just told my teen that when she moves out she has no excuse to not make a new meal. The Internet gives her the option of 365 days of different meals. We all have our reasons of what we post, why and how. Do what works for you and what your comfortable with.
*Thanks* for the support on this, Rose! 🙂
I totally get it. We do live in dark times and privacy is very imprortant. It’s definitely something you have to take into consideration and do whatever it takes to protect your family!
I completely agree with everything you say here! I hesitated for a while on having photos of my boys (ages 3 and 4) on my blog, but after talking with my husband, we decided it was ok. I look at every picture before posting and think, “If this was me, would I be ok with the photo?” and if not, I don’t post it. I post photos on my personal facebook page, so I figure the photos are out there, that on the blog is ok too. I’m a little picky about what goes on my personal facebook as well, and just make sure it won’t haunt the boys as they get older. But as you said, each family has their own ideals, and I am not surprised at all when people don’t have photos of their young children.
Exactly – to each their own.