Posting photos of your children is a personal decision, but to make an informed choice, here is some information about what can happen to the photos you post on social media.
I will now be blunt:
Online child sexual abusers download, trade, Photoshop, and sell images of children. People who engage in child pornography have different kinds of “fantasies;” for instance, some may trade in fully-clothed images of innocent-looking children while others trade in naked photos of toddlers. I am being blunt because Parenting Safe Children is committed to telling the truth and then empowering adults to pro-actively keep children safe.
Contrary to popular belief, social media privacy settings have little bearing on how far and wide an image actually travels. Moreover, according to Pew Research, one-third of parents’ Facebook friends are “actual” friends.
If one of your family members or friends has a sexual behavior problem with children (remember: most child sexual abuse is committed by someone the child knows and trusts), the cute photo of your child in the tub, playing in the sprinkler, or at home in their scout uniform is simply downloaded – and stored or shared.
I know, you may be thinking, “none of my friends or family members have a sexual behavior problem with children.” Well, statistics just don’t bear this out. Most of us have someone in our social media network who, unbeknownst to us, has already or will sexually abuse a child.
Essentially, once a photo is posted on Facebook, Instagram or anywhere online, it lives on the Internet permanently, even if you later delete it.
You have a range of options:
- Don’t post photos of your children on social media.
- Only post photos of your children as long as they are fully clothed.
- Post an occasional photo.
- Post every photo you want whether your child is in a snow suit or their birthday suit.
Some parents have shared with me that they choose not to post any photos of their children on social media because their children have not given consent to do so, and actually can’t give consent because they do not understand the possible consequences.
Based on what I’ve shared, what’s best for your child? (Not for you.)
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Please share this post.