|I’m expecting my baby soon, and am obviously very excited to share the news of her arrival and progress with friends and family. But I worry about safety and potentially “oversharing”.
Is it ok to post pictures of my baby on Facebook?
“There are two things to be careful about,” says Victoria Nash, acting director of the Oxford Internet Institute. “One is the amount of information that you give away, which might include things like date of birth, place of birth, the child’s full name, or tagging of any photographs with a geographical location – anything that could be used by somebody who wanted to steal your child’s identity.
“The second issue is more around consent. What type of information would children want to see about themselves online at a later date?” Not only would naked pictures be a potential safety risk for your child should they fall into the wrong hands, but when the child is older, they would likely not want such pictures online. Consider this carefully before clicking “share.”
1. Check your privacy settings: Make sure the info you’re sharing can only be viewed by you and your friends list. Go to the padlock icon at the top right hand corner, then select “who can see my stuff?” You can also view your timeline as “public – i.e. someone who is not your friend, so you can see what is shown to the public. Facebook automatically shows the geotag location when you share a picture from your smartphone, so be sure to turn off your location services as an extra precaution.
2. Keep personal details to a minimum: It’s ok to list your city, but don’t share your home address or where your child goes to day care – this could be a stalking risk. People who need to know will call you. Even innocent photos can be potentially dangerous; such as a photo of your child’s first day of preschool posing in front of the school sign. Anyone who sees that photo knows what your child looks like and where they go to school, and most likely their name.
3. Check and edit your friends list: Posting updates, pics and milestones is definitely a good way for far away friends and relatives to keep up with your little one’s rapid progress. But if you’ve ever friended someone you once met at a work drinks that you hoped to network with later, or you still have your cousin’s ex-girlfriend lurking on your friends list, perhaps it’s time to do a discreet prune of the Facebook friendship tree before you start to share baby photos online. You can also make a new sub-list and share certain updates with only those friends.
4. Be more discerning in photo selection: While photos of your baby’s first bath or nappy change might be precious, they are perhaps best left offline. It is always important to consider what could happen if such photos fell into the wrong hands.