Why my baby won’t be on social media

Does your baby really need to be shared on social media? Roma Kojima is completely opposed to the idea.

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Photo: iStockphoto

Photo: iStockphoto

Roma Kojima is a soon-to-be mom of a tiny, wriggly girl. Aside from growing a human, she works in business development at Rogers Media, loves to travel and cook, and obsesses about leather purses she can’t afford. Follow along as she shares her pregnancy journey.

I love social media. I freely admit it. I may not be on Vine or whatever the kids are using these days, but I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and probably still have a Myspace account. I enjoy the concept of social media. I love being able to stay in touch with people living on the other side of the planet, I like sharing pictures of my cat and I’m even one of those people who shares lots of food pictures. I enjoy seeing people “like” my posts and comments, and my Facebook app is the first thing I look at in the morning—sometimes even before my eyelids are fully open.

Read more: Kids and social media>

That being said, I haven’t posted a peep about being pregnant on Facebook or anywhere else. I actively keep an eye out for any of my friends referring to my pregnancy in posts and comments and don’t allow any of them on my timeline. My husband is also of the same mindset, so if we haven’t mentioned it to you, chances are you don’t know anything about my pregnancy.

This has been and will continue to be a very purposeful decision on both our parts. We simply don’t believe that, beyond perhaps a simple birth announcement (maybe even without a picture), our child’s life should end up on Facebook.

This generation of kids is the first one in human history to have their lives shared in a forum as public and easily accessible as the Internet without their permission. Parents all over the world put their kids’ images on Facebook-sometimes even creating accounts on behalf of their children when they’re still babies. I get the reasoning: Everyone wants to share pictures of their kids with friends and family. More often than not, such photos capture sweet moments and I’m sure grandmas and grandpas the world over are grateful to have such easy access to their precious diddums. I also get our increased propensity to capture more and more images of our kids. After all, they’re adorable, and who doesn’t have a cellphone camera handy at all times?

Read more: Is being a mom blogger too risky?>

For my part, I just don’t want my kid on social media until she’s old enough to put herself on there (and maybe not even then, given the rampant cyber-bullying and judgment kids are subjected to at the click-happy hands of their peers nowadays). Maybe it’s because I’ve watched too much Law & Order SVU, or I’m feeling comfortably critical in my pre-procreation phase, but I don’t think kids need to be exposed quite so much from such a young age.

I also understand it’s a fine line I’m attempting to walk here. Family pictures might be one thing, but posting cutesy photos of baby’s first bath are another. I don’t know where my kid’s pictures might end up some day—surely the last thing a parent could want is for a darling photo of their kid to show up somewhere totally inappropriate.

Fundamentally, I have an issue with overexposing children to the opinions of other people. Will it affect the way my child sees herself if she’s expecting likes and responses to her every action and facial expression? Maybe it’ll make her stronger, or maybe it’ll make self-awareness next to impossible. What if sharing her life with acquaintances and strangers before she even knows who she is somehow makes her unable to figure it out for herself without a constant stream of feedback? It’s hard enough being a kid. Why subject her to scrutiny-well-meaning or otherwise-right from birth?

Read more: Be kind—Raising kids in an online world>

I don’t even think I’m the only one subscribing to this approach. More and more friends are choosing to keep their babies’ lives off social media, instead finding more private ways to share their kids’ images with friends and family. Though I can’t say what effect putting a child’s images on the Internet will have in the long run, maybe there’s something to be said about not taking the risk.

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25 comments on “Why my baby won’t be on social media

  1. I absolutely agree with Roma. My Husband and I agreed before our Daughter was born to NOT share photos of her on Social Media. We have asked our friends and family to support us but are sad to say we have lost a few good friendships because they did not agree with our choice and posted pictures anyways.

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  2. That was how i felt until I had my children. I don’t post bath pics or things that will embarrass them later but I do share their photos even though before they were born I said I would not

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    • I FINALLY FOUND SOMEONE WHO GETS IT!! People see their children as possessions and they can do what they want….. Think of Anne Geddes photography and a child crying in a bucket.. People say: aww cute ?? really.. who is that child’s voice . Who is their advocate. They are a HUMAN. with rights. and they have a right to choose whether they want to be on social media or not.. If people think these photos are safe, they are naive. I believe my children have rights. The right to decide this later on in life. To be honest, whether embarrassing photos or not at all, I would be VERY upset with my parents if they shared my life on here with distant friends, relatives, their friends of friends.. this generation are not adults yet so the repercussions will soon come about.. If you are close enough to friends or family that you talk to them often, there are ways to share photos. MULTITUDE of ways . If not, then why do they need a photo if they are not in your lives..I don’t think being a parent gives you a right to publicly share someone’s life like this… these photos , once posted are forever on the internet…I also think it takes away from things being special…people have already seen it on facebook , so what will you discuss in person…. what you already saw on facebook ?? very bizarre that this is a norm…

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  3. “I haven’t posted a peep about being pregnant on Facebook or anywhere else. I actively keep an eye out for any of my friends referring to my pregnancy in posts and comments and don’t allow any of them on my timeline. My husband is also of the same mindset, so if we haven’t mentioned it to you, chances are you don’t know anything about my pregnancy.”

    …yet you write about it in a National Magazine (presumable for renumeration)? Does anyone else see the irony here?

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    • My thoughts EXACTLY!

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    • This is nasty . The writer has made a logical case for her decision. And it is HER decision. Writing an article about a topic with reference to oneself on a blog is very different from sharing personal information in personal space. The responses here sound very defensive, and even catty! I wonder why.

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  4. All really great points and worth thinking about, especially as our kids get older. Mine and their adorable comments appear on my Facebook page regularly, but is it fair to do it without their consent? Probably not and something I need to consider very carefully as they continue to grow and find their own places in life. Great post.

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  5. I disagree. I have family all over the world and social media is the easiest way to share. I don’t share on Twitter, because it’s completely open, but I do use Facebook (I have properly set privacy settings) and on Instagram (I have a private account).
    I also find the author hypocritical to say that she does not share the fact that she’s pregnant on Facebook and keeps a tab on messages from her friends that mention her pregnancy, because it’s too much of a public forum, yet she has not qualms sharing that she’s pregnant to a bunch of strangers on a parenting magazine/blog. Seems to me a much more public forum than Facebook is, especially if you use privacy settings properly.

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    • Unfortunately I just don’t trust Mark Zuckerberg et al. His privacy philosophy seems to be “if you aren’t doing anything wrong you’ve nothing to fear”. Apparently, anyone should be able to see anything you put on HIS network. And privacy settings might be fine now, but they can break, be hacked, or simply changed at the whim of the powers that be. Although I’m not paranoid, I do think there’s a lot to be said for keeping MOST of what’s posted online, offline instead.

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    • Apparently you know little about how these social media sites actually work. You can have all the privacy settings in the world set on your account, but the fact of the matter is that the second you post a picture to a social media site they own that picture and can do anything with it they please. They can sell it to a third party on a whim with absolutely no questions asked about what they’ll be using the photo for and all of a sudden your child is on a billboard in Russia promoting Vodka for toddlers or worse. Also, just because something is the easiest way doesn’t mean it’s the best way. In fact, the easy way is almost always the worst way. There are plenty of more secure less public ways to share your, and your child’s, life with your loved ones.

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      • What are the more secure and less pubic ways you recommend.

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    • You are completely deflecting from the point by picking out parts of her argument you find “hypocritical” rather than responding to the CONTENT of what she is saying. I think instead of trying to tear apart this author’s opinion and stance , you should be taking a long hard look at why you feel the need to do so. One reason her stance might be so threatening to you is perhaps because it has a lot of truth and that means that you might have to consider changing something about your behavior – which would mean a “boo boo” on your mommy ego. Perhaps denial is much more comfortable.
      If you want to share your children’s lives on Facebook without them being able to provide informed consent… then by all means do so and sit back and roll the dice on what the psychological impact may be. It is not, however, your place to condemn those who do not wish to take that chance. You can provide any reasoning you want (i.e. I have family all over the world, I have proper privacy settings, etc) but to imply that your actions contain absolutely no potential for ill-impact on your children is ignorant, uninformed, and completely motivated by denial to sustain your guilt-free sense of mommyhood.

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  6. I really see no harm in doing this but to each their own. You do have to feel comfortable with the social media pictures you are posting and your friends on social media. As far as it effecting your child, I feel it really has no impact on them at young ages. I believe the time a parent needs to be against social media is when the child is able to post pictures of themselves. That is really when the policing should start. As an infant, toddler and even slightly beyond they will have and should not have any concept of this. I also find this quote interesting considering she just told a heck of a lot of strangers she is pregnant “That being said, I haven’t posted a peep about being pregnant on Facebook or anywhere else. I actively keep an eye out for any of my friends referring to my pregnancy in posts and comments and don’t allow any of them on my timeline. My husband is also of the same mindset, so if we haven’t mentioned it to you, chances are you don’t know anything about my pregnancy.”

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  7. I have to admit that when my daughter was first born that I posted pictures of her on Facebook so that my friends and family could see her. But after putting more thought into it and hearing many stories about people stealing photos of children from Facebook I decided to delete my account and start fresh, without photos of my daughter. Unfortunately in this day and age children are taken advantage of even without a parents knowledge. I know this sounds like a very paranoid person talking but being a mother changes your perspective on a lot of things over time. For now I email pictures of my children to my relatives or share them over sites like Dropbox or Box.net but that could change in the future and there may come a time when I will start posting pictures of my daughter again on Facebook, you never know.

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  8. “I haven’t posted a peep about being pregnant on Facebook or anywhere else” – um, “anywhere else”? lol As has been mentioned, you posted on a totally public site that anyone can read. You can use privacy settings on Facebook, but you can’t on this site! That was rather contradictory,, LOL
    As for cutting off people who don’t agree with you, really? Each to their own, but I prefer to accept that not everyone agrees with me, and some of my best friends and I have some different opinion. We each accept and respect each others’ opinions.

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  9. I agree 100%. My daughter is 2 now and I have never posted a picture of her on social media. I cringe when I see pictures on my feed of naked toddlers and babies running around or bathing. All my friends do it and that’s ok because it is not my child so it is not my business. I am happy with my decision.

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  10. The only picture I shared of my son was before he was born (ultrasound) pic. I totally agree here.

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  11. I just read a comment that made me want to comment again to say that the “friends” that were cut off for not agreeing and posting pics anyway. The so called friends who didn’t agree are fine if they just don’t agree and express it verbally, but when they deliberately post pics of a friend’s child or baby after specifically being asked not to??? Those people posting are the ones who are lacking respect! What kind of a friend deliberately disregards your personal decisions just because they don’t agree with them? I would disown them, too. I don’t like it when people post pics of ME without my permission, let alone my child, and I am always willing to obtain permission before I post pics of others. That seems pretty simple and shows respect (that people deserve) for themselves, their images and the images of their offspring!

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  12. I have seen some parents feel this way and I don’t get it. You could have a point that you don’t share your child without thier permission, what about the opposite and more likely, the child grows up wondering why there was no pictures online of them when all thier friends parents proudly posted theirs. My mom posts embarrassing pictures of me sometimes (nothing huge, just me looking gross) and I would rather that, than nothing at all.

    On another note; I know there is a tiny, minute change that some perv could be looking at my kids pics. I don’t live my life in fear of pervs. I’m not giving those pieces of garbage a chance to physically get near my kid, but I am not letting the “maybe” control my life in what is a beautiful thing – sharing the most important thing in your life with your friends.

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  13. Your thoughts and feelings mirror mine exactly! i believe it is so inappropriate to invite strangers in to the life of children…. much more posting photos that should be private and cherished. Kudos to you for keeping your childrens privacy, and for publishing this article. The parental “brag post” society that is happening nowadays truly sickens me.

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  14. I thought i am the only one in this internet age who doesn’t want to post my children’s photos on social media.and now my pregnancy and soon the baby, is also off limits to social media! i am so determined about not posting anything about my current pregnancy and my soon-to-be baby that some people are questioning my decision accusing me that I’m not proud of my children and that I’m hiding my pregnancy!? i don’t care what people think of me. just don’t put the pictures of my children in your Facebook page! i said. but they still did. now i don’t know how to stop people from posting the picture of my baby on social media once she’s born months from now…there will be some social events that we will attend to. I’m so far successful that my pregnant looking self not yet on somebody else’s Facebook page!

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  15. I so agree with you. I recently had a baby, not one picture on social networking sites. sorry if they are on its through private messages only. his now 14 months old and his moments are shared with his mum and dad. not with the whole world.

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  16. I think it’s sad that people think privacy settings protect their pictures lol and how about that friend of a friend who can copy and paste it anywhere, put it in a file, shared somewhere.. you would be surprised… I have many horror stories I can share but I will let others figure it out on their own. Privacy does not exist anywhere online or even on your own phone, device. period.

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  17. You put into words everything I feel! Every word. I Love this article.

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  18. This article is ridiculous, there is nothing wrong with sharing photos of your children on social media especially when you have family around the world who’ enjoy seeing photos of their loved ones. As long as you have proper privacy setting I see nothing wrong with sharing beautiful moments with your family. If you don’t want to share pictures that’s fine too its your life and your child but to put others down for sharing photos is just wrong. Also saying that it will effect the child in the long run is absurd. Your so against social media but here you are writti no about your life on social media where everyone in the world can read.

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