I have a friend from school who has twin boys. I hear they’re adorable. But I’ve never seen their faces.
We hung around a lot back in high school and throughout university. Then after that, we didn’t really keep in touch. She’s the ideal friend to keep up with through Facebook, now that we live in such different universes.
But I can’t. She doesn’t have a Facebook account. And she is adamant that no other family members post photos of her or her children online, either.
In an age when Facebook is the average parent’s bragbook, she has chosen to keep her kids’ identity offline and anonymous.
It must be a difficult choice. She must want to show friends her amazing, wonderful kids. (And I want to see them, too!) I’m sure she’s faced a lot of pressure, especially from people who just don’t see a problem with letting it all hang out online.
She has some valid reasons for keeping her and her kids’ identities from being posted online.
It’s chilling when you think about it:
- An imposter can use a mom’s information found online (status updates, profile info, etc.) to pretend to be a family friend and “pick up” her kids from school.
- Photos of kids can be edited and circulated in pornography.
- People with fetishes can view or download photos of your children. (What if an obsession for your kid in particular develops?)
- Geo-tags (often automatically embedded in photos taken with a smartphone) can also let people know where you are or were—making your location available to even strangers. (See some dangers of geo-tagging and what you can do here.)
As someone who makes her living online, I’ve got it all out there. I made that choice, even knowing the possible dangers. My husband, my son – they are blogged about regularly. Our photos are available to anyone who wants to see them. And of course my website is the first to show up for searches on my name.
But I admire my friend for standing by what she has decided is in the best interests of her family.
What about you? Are you taking any measures to ensure photos of your family don’t show up online? Or is that just not an option in today’s online world?