Social Media and Pictures of Your Kids: Who Can (or Should) Post?

Posting photos of children on social media has become commonplace. Yet who can — or, should — post these photos? And what if the kids are not yours?

Maybe the social post was put up by a good friend or a close relative. Perhaps it’s a baby photo with a grandparent. But is it ever OK to post a photo of a child who isn’t yours? Probably not.

Some parents — and some children — don’t want these images online for the world to look at. Or even if the world isn’t looking, strangers are.

At the end of the day, it’s best to remember when posting a photo of someone else: It isn’t your privacy. It’s theirs.

“If you want to post a photo of a child who isn’t yours, you should always defer to the parent,” said Patricia Student, an APRN at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, whose specialty focuses on mental health of children and teens. “Really, I don’t think anyone should post a picture of someone other than themselves, and children are not any different.”

In the years social media has existed, we’ve learned a lot about this new frontier in communication.

We’ve learned that social media platforms collect information from users and sell it. We have also learned that social media isn’t necessarily great for kids of any age for myriad reasons, including anxiety and cyber bullying.

Social media may be taking a toll on our youth’s sanity. Studies suggest anxiety among youth is on the rise.

A study published in June 2018, in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, showed a 20 percent increase in rates of anxiety in kids ages 6 to 17 between 2007 and 2012.

Social media and ubiquity of the Internet has forced us to think about personal space and privacy in new ways.

Of course, posting a photo of anyone taken in public does not violate many social media privacy rights. But would you want a photo posted without approving it? There are a growing number of parents who don’t want images of their children online. If you want advice on what to do if someone posts an unwanted photo of your child online, Common Sense media is among the groups to publish a list.

What it comes down to is respect — for kids and their parents. Often adults forego respect when it comes to little children.

“You have to think about whether a 16-year-old child would want a silly baby photo online for all their friends to see,” Student explained. “Nobody wants an embarrassing picture online so don’t post embarrassing pictures of your child or any other child. That’s the most basic rule.”

For more information on how to navigate social media with your children, speak with your Lahey Health provider.

*The content on this website is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Please consult a physician regarding your specific medical condition, diagnosis and/or treatment.

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