Let's get the wording right. When you upload a photo of a child to Facebook, Instagram or whatever social network you choose you are not just sharing a photo. You're not casually uploading a pic. We've got to admit to the honest definition: You're uploading a child's image into the public domain.
No-one reads the small print but deep down we all know what it says. The second you upload you lose all rights to that image. The child loses all rights to that image.
In schools today they play a game. Students are asked to peel a banana in order to get the banana out of the skin and to squeeze toothpaste out of the tube as fast as they can. They love it and they're pretty quick. Then they are challenged to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Put the banana back in the skin.
This impossible exercise serves as an example of what happens when you upload a photo to the web. There's no going back.
Even if you delete the photo, It's too late. The paste ain't gong back in the tube.
It's a perfect description and one we should all take a little more seriously, because one day our children will grow up. My son is part of the first generation to be born completely online. Mothers are posting birth stories. They are live streaming actual births. Then the public are gifted with photographic updates on how the baby is doing.
"The amount of sh*t that comes out of my newborn is unbelievable" - A genuine post
It's so cringeworthy when someone googles you and finds old photos. I still get nervous about my opinionated tweets potentially ruining job opportunities. I'm lucky though, my whole entire existence isn't online. Our children however will have their employers, their future girlfriends and their friends able to read what Mum said about them in 2016. They'll be able to see the baby photos, read about their 'Sh*t' and be part of the precious moment of their birth. WTF!
People build a perception of you from your online profiles. We tailor that image each and every day by our choices. But our children will have a pre-built perception they can do nothing about. Nothing.
A friend of mine found photos of his children on a random twitter account. It's not the first I've heard of this. A lady reposted their images pretending they were her children and created an entirely false identity for them. He complained via all available options. He even wrote to her direct. She replied with one sharp swipe...
"You uploaded your child's image into the public domain."
Stings right? What stings further is that his photos were originally posted into a private account. But then again you knew nothing's private online, right?
As it stands we don't know the future of the web, we have no idea. It grows and evolves so quickly and so powerfully. The information you upload about your child is already selectively added to an algorithm which creates specifically targeted marketing towards him. When he is old enough and uses the computer alone it will know exactly who he is, what he likes, and more importantly how to sell to him.
I believe we need to be more private.
I understand why people do it. I love looking at their images. I'm insanely proud of my son and often have to hold back the desire to post adorably gorgeous photos of him. Of course I want to share my joy. I naturally want to hold him up to the world and scream "Look at what we made he's awesome!" but I have to hold back because that is his image.