11 Jan
No Photos of the Baby, Please

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I am pregnant with our first child. Since we are going to be new parents, I know and accept we are going to be uptight, hanging on every word of parenting advice ever, fine-tooth combing “What to Expect”, etc., until we get the swing of things and find our own parenting style. However, we are worried about how social networks may come into play.

I know it may seem silly, but we do not want anyone posting photos of our little one on their Facebook/Twitter/whatever. A new child can be an exciting and happy moment, so I am happy and flattered that people would want to share in this, but we feel sometimes the internet can allow one to share too much. Sharing photos with family and friends is wonderful, but we don’t want them posting these online and sharing with a bunch of strangers we don’t even know.

So three parter question: 1) How do we explain this in a nice way to help ensure our wishes are followed? 2) How do we handle things if our wishes are not accepted/ listened to/ followed? 3) Are we being over-protective/ downright bat-shit crazy?

Much love,

Nervous Newbie

______________

Dear N.N.,

Boy, are you going to have a laugh over this question some day. Probably when your child has screamed for 5 hours straight, you can’t remember the last time you took a shower and you just tried to bush your teeth with sunscreen. And then you’re going to think back to your concern about photos on the internet, let out a hearty laugh and then scream to your spouse, “FIND THE PACIFIER. FIND IT RIGHT NOW. WE BOUGHT 20 OF THEM. WHERE ARE THEY?!!! I DON’T GIVE A CRAP ABOUT NIPPLE CONFUSION. I CAN’T TAKE THE CRYING!!! FIND THAT GOD DAMN PACIFIER!!!”

But since that day has yet to come, let’s address your questions. If you want to prevent people from posting your child’s photo, I would try to have a really ugly child. Now I have no idea what you look like. But let’s just say if very big heads run in your family (like they do in mine), you are in the clear.  Also, make sure you’re not a celebrity. If you just named your kid Blue Ivy, you’re going to have a problem.

But I really would not worry too much about friends/family putting your child’s photo on the internet. Mostly because no one is going to care remotely as much about your child as you will.

In fact, you’ll probably have to prevent yourself from posting a daily photo of your little babe to all your Facebook friends which of course includes that weird girl in your high school geometry class. Although I’m sure she’ll think little Johnny is oh so handsome!

To everyone else, kids sort of all blend together. Don’t believe me? Go look at all those Christmas cards. See what I mean?!   Now if you do have one or two relatives who are prone to snapping copious amount of photos and instantly uploading them, just take them aside and ask them to respect your privacy. And if pictures do end up on Facebook or other sites, just request that the offending family member take them down.

Finally, are you bat shit crazy? No. Well, maybe a teeny tiny bit. But no more so than any other expecting parent. So don’t sweat it.   Hope the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly.

By the way, I found those baby expert books make excellent paper weights. Or if you get enough of them, a footstool! But I wouldn’t really bother reading them.

Good luck to you.

Kelcey, TMH

45 Responses to “No Photos of the Baby, Please”

01.11.12#1

Comment by Emily.

I think you’re out of luck and should probably take a breather on this one now. I think you’re probably going to want to post 1000 photos yourself. But, if people tag you or your spouse in a photo of your baby, you can untag yourself. But trust me, you won’t have time to check everyone’s pages.

Also, as someone who has lots of friends with babies, I um… I don’t even click half the thumbnails. I click ‘like’ and move on. If it looks semi interesting, I might look closer.. but….. yeah…..

your mom? your inlaws? etc? they’re going to want to show off their grandchild. And in this day and age, that doesn’t mean polaroids. Save the battle for something that really matters – like why you don’t want grandma to feed the baby rice cereal at 2 months old.

Nicolini Reply:

Amen!

Marie Reply:

Emily, you hit the nail on the head with your reply. Well said! Wow.

-MM

01.11.12#2

Comment by Nicolini.

I’m sorry but I totally don’t get this. At all. A have a friend who had a baby in December and the decided they wouldn’t be posting any pics of little baby “Shmeria.” I have been wanting to ask what their reasoning behind this is, but it’s not really any of my business so I haven’t. I have a little boy and while I don’t post a pic (or 20) a day like some folks, I do post pics. What do these people think? Some crazy-ass baby snatching psycho is going to study little Johnny’s
picture and go rip him off your breast as you nurse, or jack him from day care? I doubt it… but this is a crazy-ass world we live in. So, N.N., care to shed a little light on your reasons why? Cause right now I’m thinking you are in fact a little batshit crazy.

Nicolini Reply:

Oh, and for the record, people who don’t know you won’t care enough to look at the pictures of the baby, and if they do they might think, “oh, a baby,” and keep right on clicking.

01.11.12#3

Comment by Desperate Dietwives.

I can fully understand them, with all those kid-pornography weirdos out there. I would never dream of posting my kids’ pictures on the internet and would not like anybody else to do so.

01.11.12#4

Comment by Avprobeauty.

Nobody should be posting pics of your kid except you and your immediate fam, if you don’t like someone posting pics of your kid you can just untag them or something.

01.11.12#5

Comment by Laura.

I agree with desperate dietwives. I don’t think it’s that unreasonable. My husband and I had to have the uncomfortable conversation with the offending family member who posted unauthorized photos of our firstborn on her myspace account (yes, it was a few years-and a few kids-ago). I also agree with Kelsey about the baby books; but i really would recommend Vicki Iovine’s book, “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy”. It’s a fun read anytime! And completely unlike all those uptight “What to Expect” books.

Kelcey Reply:

Oh you’re right! That is a good one!!

Laura Reply:

Oh, Kelcey, so sorry I misspelled your name! If it helps, I had it right the first time and then changed it–oops!

01.11.12#6

Comment by Bean.

Really, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks: Your kid, your rules. I don’t post pics of my kids anywhere – and after two decaades of working with victims of sexual abuse, there are good reasons why. Kids get stalked, kids get abused (mostly by people they know), kids get filmed being abused.

The only person out there who protects your (and their) privacy is YOU. Limiting the information about you on the internet is just plain smart – and your kid will learn best how to protect themselves by watching how you protect them.

Most bloggers have adopted ethical rules about posting pictures of OPK (other people’s kids)- they don’t do it without permission. An email to the service hosting where the photo is posted usually gets it removed.

end of rant.

sisterfunkhaus Reply:

I do agree that people shouldn’t be posting pics of other’s children without asking. That is plain rude.

But, you also see the worst of the worst all of the time. As a result, you may forget that is not the norm. Most kids aren’t abused, molested, kidnapped, etc…

I’ve got tons of FB friends and family who post pics of their kids and nothing has happened to any of them as a result. That is the norm. Abuse and molestation is not (I am about to graduate with my master’s in mental health counseling. So, I’m not totally ignorant on the subject.)

Ace Reply:

While I don’t like the scary nature of the beginning of this response, I do understand what you say is the truth and it’s a major fear for most conscious parents. The rest of the response is great. “The only person who protects your privacy is YOU.” AMEN! I am also expecting our first baby and about lost my mind this week when an aunt posted on her FB page (where she has NO privacy settings at all) 1. my name, my husband’s name, 2. where we just moved from, 3. where we just moved to, 4. that we are expecting our first baby, 5. when we are expecting our baby. I HAVE been sexually abused by someone in my past and I don’t want him to know where I live or what is going on with my uterus. I have another woman who has stalked me and threatened me and I don’t want HER knowing any of that stuff either. Unfortunately, Facebook is a whole new realm of crazy. I use my own privacy settings and only the people I choose know where I am. It made me temporarily insane to see her put our information out there with NO thought whatsoever about how easily it can be found by people who have wanted to harm me in the past.

Bean Reply:

Yeah, I probably over-reacted a bit – seeing multiple comments from people who essentially told the OP to “get over it” made me mad (especially before coffe. I’m not good before coffee). If parents dont protect their children, including their children’s privacy, who will? The amount of personal information people put out there is just nuts. And regardless of how many bad things happen because people post personal info on FB, people just keep doing it.

01.11.12#7

Comment by sisterfunkhaus.

I think you should lighten up a bit on the photo posting. I can assure you that everyone in town isn’t going to be posting pics of your child. Generally, grandparents and maybe a proud aunt or uncle will post, but overall, no one cares about other people’s babies enough to post pictures of them for the most part. And, people will be really tired of the photos after a few days anyway and will stop posting.

The reason I say you should lighten up, so to speak is because there really isn’t anything anyone can do with those pictures that is harmful. It’s a random baby. Millions of people per day post baby pics and nothing happens to their child as a result. Plus, everyone in your family is going to roll their eyes and think you are a controlling nut who doesn’t have a clue. People will be laughing and talking behind your back.

Jen Reply:

First off, there *is* something harmful that can be done with those photos. The second you upload them, they cease to be your property, don’t believe me? Read the terms and conditions.

Second, it’s the parents choice if photos are uploaded to these sites, end of. You don’t know the reasons behind their decision, for example my husband and I don’t upload photos of our kids because he has his halfsister and halfbrother on fb, his dad abandoned him when he was 1 and while he doesn’t mind his halfsiblings seeing photos of our kids, he knows that his father will most likely see them too, and after what he did to my husband and his family, that man has no right to see our children.

Marie Reply:

Do you feel better after unloading, Jen?

Ace Reply:

(I did the same thing in my comment on this post 🙁 …oops)

sisterfunkhaus Reply:

By the way, I don’t think that you are a controlling nut. I think that you are a concerned new mother who is being a bit overprotective. But, not everyone will see it that way. Most people won’t think about that when you make your demands. I’ve seen things like this (but with different demands) with friends and family, and yes, people may do what you ask, but they will think less of you and not understand since there isn’t much that can be done with a baby picture, and stranger kidnappings are very rare in the U.S. They will see you as irrational, even though you are just being a typical new mom.

You might benefit from reading a blog called Free Range Kids. It’s by a writer named Lenore Skenazy. She writes about how statistically, the world isn’t as dangerous and scary as parents think it is. It has helped me become a very relaxed parent who has an independent child who loves new challenges, etc… I highly recommend it.

01.11.12#8

Comment by Wendi.

So funny, Kelcey.

01.11.12#9

Comment by StephanieG.

I think a nice deep breath and a step back might be in order. If there’s some perv out there trolling for his next victim, it’s not going to be a tiny new bundle of joy, so I think your kid is safe for a couple of years.

Please understand that I am not discounting the possibility of a stalker or some creep who might want to hurt your kid. They are going to be out there. But I agree with other posters – we all see hundreds of photos of new babies, toddlers, teenagers, every day. We’re inunudated with them, and no harm ever comes to most of them.

I don’t use my child’s name when I write my blog (I use the term loosely), and her photos online don’t have her name attached. But the fact is, everyone everywhere has a camera now, and there’s really no way to prevent her photo from ending up online, whether it’s a trip to 6-Flags with her friends, in her class photo from school, or in the background at a soccer tourney. She’s going to end up online, and there’s nothing I can do to police it.

The only thing I can do is talk to her about stranger danger, never ever talking to someone she doesn’t know, and never falling for the lost puppy routine.

As a parent, you will face a hundred challenges, and photos will ultimately be the least of them.

I would try to channel the energy you are spending worrying about this into something positive.

In the meantime, your friends and family will fall in love with your new baby, and it’s totally understandable that they would want to show him or her to the world. I say no harm, no foul on this one.

sisterfunkhaus Reply:

Stranger abductions are extremely rare. And, in most cases, the child is returned alive. According to FBI stats, there are only 50 stranger abductions with killings per year, and it generally happens to kids who are a little older and can be lured by a stranger.

And, like you said, a good talk about stranger danger and the lost puppy routine will lessen the chances of it happening to your child.

I understand that some of you have had experience with abuse, worked with the abused, etc.. But, again, that is not the norm. It’s also not the norm for baby pictures to be put on child porn sites, especially if the child is fully clothed in all pics. The worst case scenario is so rare and unlikely to happen. Yet, we live in a culture where people act as though it is the most likely thing to happen. We need to use logic and common sense about these things.

mtwildflower Reply:

Wow.

That is strangely discouraging.

Can’t imagine why.

Sheesh.

01.11.12#10

Comment by Plano Mom.

This one is really a toughie. What if you gave one “press release” with pics, sent via email to everyone, and then promising more to come, with the request that they not share on the internet, except via email?

Just trying to find a way where folks can feel like bragging without too much compromising of privacy.

sisterfunkhaus Reply:

That is a really good idea/compromise. It might allow mom to feel more comfortable while giving people access to pictures. Smart thinking!

01.11.12#11

Comment by Margo.

My husband and I just told everyone not to post pics of our kid online. Anyone can right click on a picture and it’s theirs. Scary. We are private people and if people don’t care anyway then what’s the big deal? What ever happened to privacy? We are also those parents who signed releases that she can’t have her picture taken at school, etc… Your kid, your rules. So far all our friends and relatives have respected our rule.

01.11.12#12

Comment by mtwildflower.

Other posters are right. The only people who will likely post photos are grandparents, aunties and uncles and maybe some excited cousins, at best.

So with that small pool of people, you will have a leg up….unless you have something like a Big Fat Greek Family, then you’re probably screwed.

I recently went through this issue with someone who remains friends with my family, but who has blocked me from her FB account. We are no longer friends and I don’t really want her having access to any FB photos on my kids’ FB or mutual friends.

So, I went through and tagged every single photo pertaining to me or my kids on on other people’s FB. Because I’m blocked from her FB (and I’d block her if she ever unblocked me) she can’t see them.

I’m not sure if that keeps others who are not blocked, but who are not friends, from seeing them on other people’s pages.

01.11.12#13

Comment by Yuliya.

This is going to be particularly hilarious later because as a mom you are required to start blogging…a lovely hobby/Ponzi scheme in which you voluntarily exploit your child!

01.11.12#14

Comment by Allison.

I feel like this is a matter that the parents should be able to decide, and be respected over. They didn’t tell us every detail why they don’t want their child’s pictures posted online; maybe they have legitimately good reasons. They sound like private people so maybe they didn’t want to tell the world about the situation. I have a toddler and I don’t post pics of her online. I’m a single mom and there are complications with my child’s father and relatives that make me feel it’s the wisest decision, at least for the time being. No one gives me a hard time about it. In fact, if “no one cares about the baby as much as the parents will” then no one should mind respecting their wishes. It takes less energy to NOT post a pic than to post one. Just my two cents.

01.11.12#15

Comment by MeganEliza.

I just said the same thing to my husband the other day, and we’re not expecting any babies for awhile! I’ll tell you why…First of all, when we got engaged, we announced it at a family BBQ and my BIL’s gf took pictures. She posted these “engagement” pictures on FB that night. We had family that weren’t at the BBQ and we hadn’t even told them yet before she posted these pictures online and announced it to everyone for us. Then there was the wedding photos! We paid a lot of $$ for our wonderful photographer. I didn’t want the professional photos on FB, so people could copy them and make their own prints. Our photographer supports his family through his art, so it’s not fair. Once again, my BIL’s gf was involved and posted the link on her FB status! Why? No reason…I asked her to take it down. My FIL was copying the photos off FB and refused to buy any! I’m not having the drama when our baby arrives, so I agree! Tell friends and family you’d rather not have the baby’s pic on FB!

01.11.12#16

Comment by Elle @ Elle The Heiress.

We have a three year old boy, an 11 month old girl, and another due in late May. We have never allowed anyone to post photos of our children on their social websites without our permission first. We just gently explain to them that we don’t feel comfortable with it, and everyone has generally been pretty ok with it. The only person who had a problem was my mom, who is overall pretty difficult to deal with. I finally had to get rude about it to her and tell her that it is our child, our rules, and if she wants to take photos, she has to follow them. After that, she respected our wishes and followed the rules. The fact of the matter is that you need to protect you child, as you are their only advocate. You never know who might be friends (unknowingly) with a pedophile.

01.11.12#17

Comment by VG.

If N.N. has a FB account or her hubby does, peruse the security settings in your account. There’s ways of make sure you can untag, or if someone tags your photo, a request will send through. Also, your “albums” on FB have setting in how you post. You can post to friends only, friends of friends, public, and so on. Same rules apply to status updates.
Just take the time to educate yourself on how FB works and you’ll be alot calmer.

01.11.12#18

Comment by I'm a big ol' b with a captial B!.

I absolutely agree with this. I am all about FB privacy settings. In fact, I have use a lot of lists and put my parents and my inlaws in their own list. Now I post videos and pics of the kids JUST to them and no one else can see them. Once you understand the FB privacy settings it is truly a very safe place to post pictures of the kids to JUST the people you want to see them and no one else.

Of course, you can’t control your friends’ privacy settings so I get where mom is coming from. And if there’s a good reason for restricting pictures (as I’ve heard above) then by all means, go ahead and ask them not to post them. But pick your battles wisely. There will be MANY things that you’re going to need people to go along with once you have your baby.

01.11.12#19

Comment by Cate8.

Baby photos are important to relatives and close friends. Cuz really newborns are kind of funky looking. I know I have 8 kids.
So you are about to have a baby.
a few tips from an experienced mom

1. If people offer to help– you DO NOT need help with the baby just with all the other stuff.
2. BREASTFEED
3. If the baby is crying and you can’t take one more second. He/she is safe in his/ her crib …. place precious bundle in crib and walk outside or other room take deep breaths, have a snack, go on Facebook, sit in a corner and cry. Take a shower.(yaya@!!!)
4. Breastfeeding is rough the 1st 2 weeks. I recommend hot warm cloths on breasts before nursing. Nurse on demand. NO BOTTLES—
5. Good luck .

Nicolini Reply:

N.N.,
As a woman who reaaaally wanted to breastfeed her child and had enormous difficulty doing so for 6 weeks because I produced very little milk, don’t beat yourself up if you struggle/can’t/don’t want to breastfeed. I tried really hard, did everything I was supposed to (when there wasn’t a baby on my tit there was a breast pump) and it just didn’t work out for me. My son was losing weight and my pediatrician told me I had to supplement. It was the best thing I ever did. I agonized over the fact that I couldn’t do the most natural, basic thing for my baby but in the end it was the right thing. My point is, breastfeeding is great, perfect actually, but I really take exception to a woman telling another woman she has to breastfeed and no bottles!

Laura Reply:

Cate8,
Thank you for your honesty about nursing. I just finished breastfeeding my 3rd and I never cease to be amazed how hard it is every time to get back into the routine and adjust to the pain. My nurses checked and checked in the hospital every time and we always had a good latch, etc. Still it just plain HURT for the first few weeks (especially the first 2). It bothers me how many sources out there say over and over if you’re doing it right it wont hurt. That’s just plain NOT TRUE and I think discouraging for many first time moms who give up because the only conclusion they can come to is if it hurts this bad they must not be doing it right.

01.12.12#20

Comment by kokopuff.

If you’re using Facebook as a punitive device to keep people out of your life, get off of Facebook. If you think pedophiles find their victims on Facebook, get off of Facebook. If you seriously think as a new mom you’re going to have time to untag photos of your kids on Facebook, get off of Facebook.

01.12.12#21

Comment by Nervous Newbie.

Wow, this has really struck a nerve with the community. We do have good (and very personal) reasons for wanting things this way. The “untagging” is a great suggestion–if either of us had FB. (The internet is incredible, but if we have something we want to tell people, why not in person? Everyone lives close or we have phone numbers. The internet is almost impersonal for…well PERSONAL happenings.) And as kokpuff said, there’s no way I’m going to have time for FB, even if I wanted to be on it.

There’s a lot of great points in here and the parenting advice is most welcome. I’ll admit I actually was not thinking of the sexual predators/kidnapping/etc, as the main issue of them being posted, but this can now be added to the list of concerns (whether or not people think it legit. It’s my kid, not theirs). Thanks everyone for chiming in. I’ll try to keep these things in mind.

Nervous Newbie Reply:

I should also mention–the people that are okay with it, that’s totally fine and I respect that. I think everyone’s circumstances are different. And to me, if a friend or relative had a child, I knew it would not be my place to share photos, information, etc., no matter how excited I was. That’s their business and theirs alone. Everyone’s different though.

ummmm, ok? Reply:

Sounds like you already made up your mind.

01.13.12#22

Comment by Hockey Wife (@HockeyWife_22).

So funny!

I have friends that have worried about this same thing. I get it. But I am the mom that posts so many pictures to Facebook that my friends have probably chosen to “hide” most of my updates. We live in Germany so I feel pressure to keep everyone (grandparents, aunts, etc.) up to speed. Plus, he’s the cutest kid ever! 😉

Best of luck to you!

01.14.12#23

Comment by vodka tonic.

What was it that Michael Jackson did? Put a veil over his baby and named him “Blanket?” Try that.

VG Reply:

Now THAT is the best comment I’ve read all day!

05.20.13#24

Comment by Hey, Mom of Daughter's Best Friend: What's With the Bikini? | The Mouthy Housewives.

[…] 10 year daughter is best friends with a girl whose mother’s parenting style is very different from mine.  She allows her daughter to watch PG-13 movies and to wear clothing […]

07.09.13#25

Comment by NewMom.

It shouldn’t matter a parents reasoning for their request for their own child. All you people who are bashing her for her concerns or saying she is too uptight needs to realize you aren’t her. She has every right to be protective over her child and her “friends and family” should respect that. To say her “friends and family” are going to judge her and talk behind her back is a reason to not speak her opinion is ridiculous.

She should only have to make her request and then it should be respected. It isn’t up to you on how she raises her child and what she chooses to do.

Consider Checking Out...