Many parents choose to share photos of their children on social media. This has been especially true among content creators or “influencers.” Before I had kids, I didn’t think I’d want to share them. I hate to admit this, but by the time I became a parent, it had been normalized to the point that sharing my kids seemed ok. As parents, we’re proud of our children. Sharing photos and videos is a way to share those everyday moments. It helps us stay connected to others and also validates our experience. But when is it too much? A young child can’t consent, and even if they could, they wouldn’t understand what they’re consenting to. Almost 3 months ago, I stopped sharing my children’s faces on social media, and it is undoubtedly the best decision I could have made for our family.

This isn’t an easy post to write or share. But I think – or I know – that it’s important. 


Why I Stopped Sharing My Kids’ Faces on Social Media


Sharing my kids on social media was something that, once I started doing it, felt pretty natural. It’s such a personal choice and there’s so much judgment towards parents and specifically, mothers. I’ve shared my life online for the majority of my adult life, and becoming a mother was part of my life. It was one of the hardest, most significant, and beautiful things I’ve ever done. How could I not share that? I was never 100% for or against it, but would have moments of uncertainty.  But the good always seemed to outweigh the bad – or so I thought. I would see people with much larger followings sharing their kids. Celebrities share their kids so surely, it wasn’t a big deal if I did it. This is, of course, absolute worst reason to do anything.


I would come up with respectful ways to share my kids, so that would make it ok.


Pregnancy, childbirth, and those first few years of parenthood can be so difficult and lonely. I had this new little life that I was so in love with, so I shared her. I would do this over the next 5 years and with all 3 of my children. Sharing my experience felt rewarding in many ways. It was a natural extension of what I had been doing for years. And I adore my kids – I’m proud of them and loved it when people loved my kids. What parent wouldn’t love that?

I would come up with respectful ways to share my kids, so that would make it “ok”. My children were always fully clothed. I didn’t share what I thought was anything too personal or embarrassing. No discussing behavior issues or when and how they go to the bathroom. I’ve never posted them whining or crying. These “ground rules” always made me feel better. They somehow justified it. I always knew there would be a shift as my kids got older. But I didn’t know when or how. 


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I used so many different people and scenarios to justify sharing my kids.
That alone is probably reason not to do it. 


I met other parents with children my kids’ ages. Other moms going through pregnancy at the same time. I’ve even become good friends with some. Some I even text from time-to-time. It gave me something to do during the pandemic – a distraction from everything we were going through with my daughter being sick. I was able to raise awareness for childhood cancer. To raise almost $400,000 for cancer research. I started a support group for moms going through what I was. And no one ever saw us out and about because we spent most of our time at home. We were safe in our little bubble.


The not-so-positive

Most people are kind, but there have been the few negative people I’ve had to ignore. A few times a year, a rare, nasty message would slip through the cracks. But those messages are usually directed at me and not my children. Block, delete, and move on. I gave those people access to my kids, and that feels awful. There’s this hate forum that I used to read all the time before becoming a mom. It was such an unhealthy way to spend my time and it wasn’t productive. So I quit. People I know well read the forum and said they were surprised by how “off” these people were about me. I guess that helped in a way. They were sad, angry people who spent time saying bad things about people they don’t even know on the internet.


The recent shift

Someone came up to me while I was out with my oldest daughter a few months ago. She told me how glad she was that we had gotten through treatment which is lovely, but then told us that she lost someone she loved to cancer. Of course I felt awful for her, but my immediate need was to make sure that comment did not impact my child. It could have been terrible. but she used the word “lost” and not “died” so I was able to avoid a very difficult conversation. I spent the next few days so angry that someone would say that in front of a 4 year old. My 4 year old. And it felt like it was my fault. It was because of my actions and what I shared that it happened in the first place. 

Right around that time, a few women happened to message me to say they saw me with one or both of the girls. They were able to call out which child I was with. I should note that these messages were all very kind – one wanted to tell me I was doing a great job. It was so sweet and uplifting. It didn’t feel “bad” but it also didn’t feel “right”. 


What I’m doing with old content

At first, I paused on sharing photos. I didn’t say anything for a while because I wanted to see how it felt – and it felt good. Then I archived most of the last year of photos on instagram. That felt good, too. I told my husband I didn’t want to share their photos anymore, but that it meant no one could share them. He cares about social media less than anyone I know, so he was all for it. Soon came instagram highlights. I deleted every single one of those, too. And the last step – going through the last year or so of blog posts and deleting photos. I am not naive enough to think that these photos are magically gone, because I put them out there. But this feels like a good start. 


I hate that I didn’t think about it earlier on, but I can’t change the past.
I can only change what I do moving forward. 


It’s been almost 3 months, and the farther away I get from sharing my kids, the less I want to share them. It really does feel like the right decision for our family. It feels respectful. Like I said, my kids cannot consent – they are too young to understand. I thought I might be ok sharing occasional photos of Jack, but that’s feeling less-and-less right, too.

As my children get older, and as we venture out more, nothing is more important than their safety or happiness.


After years of things feeling anything but normal, I just want normalcy for my family.


I am glad I shared our experience with treatment, because pediatric cancer research is so underfunded. And I shared her story and journey as respectfully as I could. We made a difference without sharing anything too sad or traumatic. I held back – a lot. And that part feels good. We met lifelong friends and made a difference in the pediatric cancer community. Margot has an inbox full of notes and stories. Do I wish I had shared my children the way I’m sharing them now? That I protected their anonymity more than I had the last few years? That I never shared their names? I do. I can’t change the past, but I can change what I do moving forward. And maybe – just maybe – someone will read this and choose to share their children a little differently. 


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And now, to answer some of your questions

How are you handling family and friends posting your children?

I let everyone know we would no longer be posting photos of the kids on social media. If they were to go private and only have followers they knew I might be ok with it? They were all very supportive and respectful. I cannot imagine someone posting a photo of my kids after I asked them not to. Grandparents are welcome to text photos to their friends if they want to share the kids but I don’t want anything on social media. 

If someone went against my wishes when it came to the safety of my children, I would respectfully lose my shit. 


How do you share photos and updates with friends and family? 

I really don’t care about anyone I am not in regular communication with seeing my kids. My husband and I text his sister and mom almost daily – we send photos of the grandkids back and forth. I send photos to my sisters almost daily, and I see my friends. We do sometimes send photos, too. I’ve also shared photos in stories with close friends, but have found myself generally posting less and taking fewer photos which has felt really good. 


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