Kids & Privacy in the Age of Social Media


When it comes to kids online, social media can still feel like uncharted territory. We don’t know what long-term effects tech will have on the lives of our children and we also don’t know what kind of impact documenting our children’s lives will have on them in adulthood. In fact it seems like everyone has a different opinion about what is ok and how much is too much exposure for their kids. So how to we breech this subject and what do we do if family or friends don’t exactly take our concerns seriously?

One thing we can all do it make having a conversation about social media exposure the norm. If you’re dropping the kids off for a birthday party make sure the parent organizers know you do not wish your child’s picture to be shared. And depending on the age of your child make sure they also know what your policy is and why. Better yet, if you’re the one throwing the party let parents know what you intend to do with the photos and if you really want to be serious about it have waiver they can sign the same way they do in school.

Even better still would be every parent taking it upon themselves to just ask and to be respectful of each other since our laws still have not caught up to the speed of technology. Did you know in France authorities fine up to 38,000 Euros to anyone who posts a photo of someone without their consent? There has even been a case of a teen suing parents for refusing to take down photos they feel violate their privacy. That may seem a bit extreme, but is it? There are plenty of experts that suggest too much social media exposure can cause psychological harm.

But what can we do if our families don’t respect our wishes? Masada Siegel wrote a great article about her experience dealing with “sharenting” in Real Simple. Her overall message being use your best judgment when confronting people who continue to post photos of your kids, untag them, and since social media isn’t going anywhere it’s probably a good idea to teach your kids about what is and isn’t ok to share.

This is however, is a question for the ages. We’ll probably be learning how to mitigate the ever changing online world forever. What are some things you do to keep your kids safe and healthy online?