You may think the photo of your toddler melting down is hilarious, but will she find it funny 15 years from now? Every time you post an image, you’re contributing to her permanent online history, says James P. Steyer, author of Talking Back to Facebook: The Common Sense Guide to Raising Kids in the Digital Age.
Social networks are a natural for sharing cute pictures of your little one with friends and family. If you’ve prudently restricted your privacy settings to the people you know and trust, there’s little to be immediately concerned about when it comes to privacy.
But keep in mind that once a photo or a video is up on the Web, it stays up. Even if you delete it, someone else may have already downloaded and shared it online. It has a life of its own; it’s out of your hands and part of your child’s digital footprint—a record that’s trackable, public, and permanent that your child will live with.
Another consideration is that digital photographs contain embedded information about when and where the shot was taken, data that can be extracted with computer software. As a result, more of your child’s personal history is accessible than you might think. It’s interesting to note that a number of leading tech executives don’t post any photos of their own kids.
If you do opt to share baby pictures online, make sure that your privacy settings are carefully restricted and up-to-date. And think before you decide to post. That adorable picture might capture one embarrassing moment, but your child could be living with the uncomfortable exposure for a long time.
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