Parents’ dilemma: To share or not to share kids’ photos on social media

By By Katie Humphrey

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, June 10 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

Jen Jamar of Minneapolis, who notes on her blog that “oversharing my life online is kind of my thing,” enjoys that connection with other parents. When her son, Levi, was born, she even tweeted as her labor progressed.

“Those two to three minutes between contractions, what else are you going to do?” said Jamar, who has since chronicled their family adventures on her blog Life With Levi.

There are pictures of Levi, stories about their adventures, even diaper reviews.

“I don’t have a baby book for him. I couldn’t tell you when he took his first step. Wherever I wrote it down, I’ve misplaced it,” she said. “Online, we have this nice chronology of all these milestones. I can look back and see all these photos and share those moments.”

Jamar said she is careful to keep pictures tasteful and information that could jeopardize safety stays private. For instance, there are no addresses or street signs in her photos.

“I hope that by raising my son to be digitally savvy and Internet-conscious, he’ll understand what I was doing and why I shared content about him,” she said.

For most parents, social media sharing habits fall somewhere in the middle.

Christopher and Mary Lower, both avid social media users working in public relations, knew they would be sharing about their kids online. So they gave them nicknames: Supergirl for their 11-year-old daughter and the Wonder Twins for their 5-year-old twins.

“A lot of this information can get tracked easily. There’s a chance of risk to your child,” said Christopher Lower, of Maple Grove, Minn. “We decided we would keep this one line of defense.”

Orley Anderson of Burnsville asks her son Jack, 9, before posting any pictures of him on Facebook. Sometimes she might think a picture’s cute, but he says no. That’s just fine.

“It’s his image,” she said. “They’re growing up in a world of social media. He needs to learn boundaries.”

Remembering the Internet’s permanence and considering kids’ future feelings about online posts is key, said Janell Burley Hofmann, a parent coach and author of the book “iRules” about parenting and technology.

“Most of it is innocent and loving and we’re excited in the moment,” Hofmann said. “If we take our time and be mindful, we’ll do right by our children.”

Sometimes that means resisting the urge to share, even if you’re a proud new grandma like Kirsten Kaufmann of St. Paul.

Her son and daughter-in-law are trying to post their son’s baby pictures online in moderation. So Kaufmann asks before posting the occasional picture of her grandson to Facebook for friends and relatives to see.

“He’s adorable,” she said. “Why wouldn’t you want to brag?”

©2014 Star Tribune (Minneapolis). Visit the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) at www.startribune.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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