Do I Need Permission From My Kid to Post Her Photos on Facebook?
If an awesome experience happens, and there is no Facebook post to document it, does it really matter?
Obviously, the answer is yes.
But, the other day, when my almost 3-year-old told me to stop taking pictures of her, I started pondering the philosophy of social media.
As a single mom and a multi-media journalist, I am all in when it comes to social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + and LinkedIn (and let’s not forget old school email) not only serve as legitimate tools for my job, but personally speaking, also really help me stave off the “I feel so lonely as a single parent” blues. And I love being able to easily stay up-to-date on my friend’s lives.
But I do worry that the constant posting, reading posts, thinking about the framing of pictures for posts, along with the best pithy language for a post, etc., etc. are taking me out the moment more than I realize. So in an effort to prevent myself from never actually unplugging, and checking my phone when I get up to pee at 3am to either respond to a work email or like a Facebook update (yes - both equally crazy) I have started shutting off (yes, shutting off!) my iPhone most nights after 9pm.
But that is for me and is really only one side of my boundary issue when it comes to social media; and Facebook in particular. Yes, posting the random, crazy, poignant, beautiful or adorable moments that I share with my daughter makes me feel better because I generally get some pretty helpful insight from other parents – but she sort of hates me taking pictures of her lately. And when she was doing something cute the other day and I reached for my iPhone and she said to me, “No Mom, don’t take a picture,” I started to wonder if I have been sort of violating her digital identity by posting pictures of her all along.
Now I recognize the safety conversation is also a valid and important one to have, but the question on my mind is actually more tied to the ethics of posting pictures of your kids before they are able to give you permission. I mean I would go absolutely nuts if my mother followed me around all of the time, snapping pictures of everything I did that she found entertaining or moving.
Please, my Mom tries to take a dozen pictures for our family Christmas card and I throw a temper tantrum. I can’t even imagine if she took 4 or 5 photos a day of me and then shared them with her friends in the context that she felt was funniest or most poignant. I would go ba-nanas.
And although it feels like just yesterday that my daughter was actually inside of me and connected to me, she is now her own tiny person who is entitled to rights and boundaries all her own. Now, I know all of my friends that love seeing videos of her and are constantly entertained by what she is doing in the pictures I take are going to be very disappointed. And I also genuinely think my daughter is destined to be in show business or something where she is holding everyone’s attention in a very public way…but that decision is hers to make, not mine. Although I don’t plan to completely stop posting pictures of her, if she asks me not to reach for the iPhone I think that means that I’ll be leaving it alone long before 9pm. For her sake… and mine.