As far as social media goes, there's nothing more surprising (and at times alarming) than seeing your photo — or worse — your kid's photo pop up unannounced in your Facebook stream. Surprise! You've been tagged. And, hmmm, even though it's a gorgeous photo, you weren't warned ahead of time.
The thing is, I know it's 2013, but many parents still do not post photos of their kids on the Internet, and there are many who do post photos but want to be in control of those photos, or at least see them before 100 other people do.
And hey, don't feel bad if you've practised poor photo-sharing etiquette in the past. We're all still learning in this fast-evolving world of social media. Click on for our Facebook photo-sharing etiquette guide!
If you plan on sharing kids' photos on your Facebook page, let their parents know before you whip out the camera.
For example, at your child's birthday party, tell parents you'll be sharing the photos on Facebook, and ask them if it's OK if their child is included.
"Hey, I got this great photo of our kids baking cookies. Is it OK if I share it on Facebook?"
Always ask parents if it's OK to share your photos of their kids. Some parents simply don't want their kids on the Internet. They'll appreciate that you asked.
Be prepared for them to say no, so you're not disappointed.
Once you have permission to share a photo, ask the parents if they want it "tagged" — i.e., clicking on the child's face in the photo and inserting the parent's name. There are pros and cons to tagging kids' photos:
Pros: Parents are alerted immediately to the posting; they can participate in (or monitor) the comments; the photo shows up on their own Facebook page, as well.
Cons: Parents might not want the identity of their child revealed on someone else's Facebook page. In photos featuring many kids, for example, it may not be necessary or appropriate to point out who each child's parents are. It's always best to ask.
Even if you've gotten permission to share and tag a child's photo on Facebook, it may not be OK to share the child's name. Many parents are uneasy about putting their child's name on the Internet — especially if it's searchable on Google (and that depends on Facebook privacy settings). So, it's best to avoid including children's names in photo descriptions or comments.Photo: Suprijono Suharjoto/iStockphoto
"Hey, Kim, do you mind if I share an adorable photo of our kids on the beach? I know you're uncomfortable posting photos, but you can't see their faces, and I won't tag it. That OK?"
I do this all the time with my own kids— I've become quite a skilled back-of-the-head online photographer! And yes, even though someone's child is unidentifiable in your photo, it's still best to ask them if it's OK for you to share it on Facebook.
When you use good photo-sharing etiquette among your peers, your children will follow suit. When they see you pausing before you post a photo, perhaps they'll model that behaviour as they get older and begin exploring social media themselves. Sharing photos online is serious business, and it's important for our children to see us share with the utmost care, courtesy and respect (for ourselves and others).
When my sister-in-law asked me if she could share photos of my kids on Facebook, and I politely declined, I made sure my kids took note. "Sorry guys, you know we don't share photos of your faces online, and wasn't it nice of Auntie Jill to ask?"
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