If you are on social media (and who isn’t these days!?) I am sure you have seen those you follow post pictures of their children, heck you may even do it to, I sure do!
Whenever I am creating a post, or working to a project to share a small business we love I try and let me kids be involved and have always tried to be in the habit of asking my children if they like the photo or video before posting.
This week for the first time one of my kids didn’t like something.
I had written a piece on potty training, my son had gleefully posed for pictures with his toes hanging out while we were in the bathroom. He thought it was so funny. When the post ready to go, as I usually do, I called him over expecting him to be excited – immediately he told me those were his toes. I agreed. He asked me to take the picture down and told me he didn’t want people to see it. Without question or hesitation the photo was removed, he was right, those are his toes and if he doesn’t want a photo shared it is not mine to share.
Think about that for a moment, our children get to decide.
But why is it so important? If your child is at an age where they can understand what is going on and agree to their photos being shared on social media, then it’s important to ask for their permission. If they ask you not to share a particular photo or any photos of them at all, you need to respect their decision. This is an amazing moment and teaching tool for a couple of reasons.
1) Building Trust – If your child approaches you at any time and tells you they don’t feel comfortable with a decision, or with something being put out about them, respecting those choices allows your child to know you are listening. That you care about what they say and they can continue to come to you as its a safe space to be heard. 2) Learning Consent – No means no, it doesn’t mean “I am older, I am the parent, I am your boss so what I say goes”. Allow your child to know they hold power in their words and choices. When they say “no” to a request, it matters. They should be heard, it is not okay for someone to do or take when they have said No. 3) Discuss Safety – It’s never to early to begin general safety discussions with your children. It’s fun to get your kids included in ideas for photos, selecting which picture to use or even coming up with some captions. Why not also talk about how to be safe while using these apps, that way when the time comes that your child is ready for their own social media the tool box is built. They know what is appropriate to share and you’ve taught them how to share in a respectful manner.
A quick recap: If your child doesn’t want a photo shared, respect their decision. Together, you can decide what can be shared and what should stay private and in doing so, protect their privacy. They are only going to be little for so long, so enjoy the moments while you’re in them.