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What Should I Do When Other People Post Pictures of My Child Online?

How to protect your child's privacy when people post photos without asking

Published on: November 20, 2019

concerned mom looking at phone

Sharing photos online has become such common practice that most people don't think twice before posting pictures of their kids — and yours — on social media sites. Unless the photo violates the social media site's terms of service, though, there's not a lot you can do to get the photo taken down. You can't, for example, call or email Facebook and request that the photo be deleted. Every family has different rules about posting kids' photos. Unfortunately, when people who see no issue with posting kids' photos post your kid's picture, it amounts to them making a decision to make your kid's image public, which can be frustrating. Don't assume everyone feels the same way about social media — and don't approach this situation as if your rules are better than theirs. Just be honest that it makes you uncomfortable. The bottom line is: If you don't want pictures of your kids shared, it's up to you to let people know.

It can be tough to manage this situation without alienating friends, relatives, and even teachers who see nothing wrong with the practice. Here are some ways to approach others who post pictures of your kids against your wishes:

  • Simply, without judgment, ask the person who posted it to delete it, or crop it so your kid isn't in the picture (easy to do with today's image-editing tools). Say, "I'm not ready for this yet."
  • Ask the poster not to tag the photo with names — and definitely not location. That will limit exposure.
  • Ask the poster what his or her privacy settings are. If their profile is private and not public, only their friends can view their images; this also limits the audience for your child's photo.
  • If you're okay with a photo but only want certain people to see it, ask the poster to enable settings that limit who can see the photo to a small circle.
  • Ask the poster to instead use a private photo-sharing site such as Picasa or Flickr that requires a log-in.
  • If you meet with resistance, explain that you're worried about your kid's privacy. Once a photo is online, anyone can share it. 

Originally published by Common Sense Media and republished with permission. 

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