All children are beautiful.
When we, our au pairs, our families, and our friends see our beautiful child, it’s oh-so-tempting to try to hold that image of beauty still, to want to preserve it as a memory forever. When we adore these children, when we are proud of them, when we love them, we want to share these images with others as a way to say-– Look at this beautiful child!
Now, with smart phones, Facebook, Instagram and more, we can easily take photos of these moments of beautiful children and share them with each other.
We need guidelines about what photos are okay to share publicly, with ‘friends’, or just privately with a family.
- We need guidelines about what subjects are okay as photographs — especially how this changes with the age and sex of a child.
- We need guidelines about whether or not a child’s face can be identified, or tagged, in a photo.
- And, we need guidelines about when we should ask a child’s permission to take his or her picture.
An au pair living in Australia but originally from England emailed this question:
I’d love some advice from au pair moms about sharing photos on social media.
I care for two girls, ages 6 and 2. Last night when I finished braiding the 6 year old’s hair, I took a picture of her — she looked so pretty with her braids and her smile.
I immediately posted the picture on Facebook to share with her family — her mom and dad were away overnight. I also shared the photo with my friends.
While I didn’t think anything of it when taking the picture or posting it, she was dressed in her underwear (undies and an undershirt). The picture only shows her top half with part of her leg.
One person commented saying that as a Dad he wasn’t comfortable and that all kinds of creepy people could get ahold of the image. He assumed it would be flagged for inappropriate content. A second person agreed with him and asked please could I remove the photo. A third person said that while she recognized the innocence in posting the picture of the girl with her hair done that she did feel the same as the others. All of these people who commented were friends of mine from home.
I immediately removed the photo and messaged it privately to the girl’s parents.
But, I’m left wondering why pictures of people’s children in the bath fully nude do not get the same reaction. I have previously posted pictures of her toddler sister in underwear at the watermark with no remarks. There are pictures of the same children taken by family in the bath with similar ‘nudity’ being shown on Facebook. There were no remarks made on those images.
Obviously without seeing the picture you don’t have a full sense but — what are the important differences?
- How nude is appropriate to post?
- Is there an age association that it suddenly becomes sexualized?
- What’s the difference between what photos are okay for a caregiver to take and share, versus the parents?
Thanks for the advice and opinions.