Just over 2 and a half years ago I became a mother, a mummy blogger, and I have never posted my daughter’s face (or her name) online. Here is why.
Before I get into my reasons, actually our reasons, I just want to clarify that our daughter is (thankfully) happy, healthy, and doesn’t have any facial abnormalities – yes, that has been suggested on numerous occasions when I continually refuse to publish her face.
The fundamental reason you will never see our daughter’s face or name online is because we feel that SHE has the right to choose her online identity when the time is right.
Our stance may seem extreme but as cute as she looks with food all over her face she is quite likely to be embarrassed by some of her photos later in life – why would I compound that by publishing them for the world to see, and refer to forever?
I am know I am not alone in this stance to keep BiP out of the public eye; Carla Bruni, when her daughter was born stated “No Photos“.
BiP (Baby in Provence) obviously has a name. A proper name but I don’t know if she’ll like it when she grows up. Again, this is our choice.
Some have said I can’t be a real “mummy blogger” without publishing my child’s picture. After all, this blog is all about our journey through breastfeeding, EC and BLW. It does include hilarious stories of BiP pooping in a car park and times she’s dined out in Provence.
But mostly the stories are shared from MY point of view and all you get are pictures of me, the back of BiP’s head or an arm.
We live abroad with family and friends flung at all corners of the world – sometimes the easiest way would be to post her latest picture to Facebook but then how many others, who don’t know us, will see it?
Do you know everyone personally on Facebook? I know I don’t.
I have a hard enough time managing my own social media presence and have no desire to get on top of BiPs.
In addition, I do have a pretty strong stance when it comes to the use of children in advertising but I’ve written enough about that.
Obviously there are concerns with safety but they are minor at this stage as she’s too young to read but I would hate for someone else to use BiP’s face without me knowing (and yes, I have friends who have had their baby’s images in Picassa used for company newsletter).
Yes, it is challenging to keep BiP’s face offline.
BiP is adorable, an extension of us, our love, and wow, it is tempting to post those pictures online to get all the compliments that you get everyday which just make you want to burst with pride but NO.
It’s our duty to protect our daughter and the digital world we live in we feel that it’s our right to keep some aspects of our life private.
What are you thoughts on this subject?
Stay brave! You are doing a great job! 🙂
Thank you Nicole! 🙂
That’s a damn good call if you ask me. It seems like people have “unlearned” privacy. It is well within your rights (and in my opinion the right decision) not to post those pictures. And anyone that makes any accusations, or complains about, your decision is overstepping their bounds.
It is a funny world we live in Eugene that is for sure! Thanks for your encouragement and support!
It is absolutely your prerogative to show and divulge as much or as little about your home life — including your daughter’s name and face — as you’re comfortable with.
Anyone who needs to see facial proof of your daughter’s existence to fully appreciate your writing probably ought to re-examine their reasons for reading your blog.
Thanks Paige – I did have someone, once, suggest I didn’t have a child because of the lack of her picture on my blog which seemed totally ludicrous!!!
Thank you for your support – YES it’s up to the individual how much they wish to publish!
I totally agree, Ameena! I am tempted at times to post my daughter’s latest pics but I feel that its just not the best thing. I have no problem being somewhat of a “public figure” due to my business and online presence but I don’t want that for my daughter. There are aspects to life that I feel should remain private for my family. Not to mention, as you pointed out, once you post those pictures you have no control over how they will be used online. I can’t have that!
I maintain a private, password protected blog that my friends and family have been invited to view to see pictures and updates of our daughter because we, too, live far away from most of our family and friends.
I’m glad you posted about this topic and I hope to hear the different perspectives of parents in the comments.
I might also add, I can attest to BiP’s utter cuteness having had the pleasure to meet her in person! 🙂
I know we discussed this, very briefly, and I am pretty militant about BiPs pictures and when I get a good one I go NUTS on email – it is HARD not to post it online. But like you, it’s hard to balance things. I know that when I relaunched my marketing site that I had a bunch of people email me and say “You are Mom???” It was funny, I’d kept BiP so private, but I like that – I guess in some worlds I am a “mompreneur” but I hate that term as I feel I am an entrepreneur who had a baby – dunno if there is a distinction but my baby doesn’t define my business so I guess it’s cool to refuse the label!
Also, what do you do when someone you know (like a family member or friend) posts a pic of your kid online? I have had that happen a few times and had to ask the person to take down the picture.
They learned pretty quick it was a NO. Pretty much anyone around me now knows that BiPs pic is a no go for social media … if it’s a group pic that I can’t control I do whatever I can to make her look at me so she’s out of the shot. It’s a practise. I had a reporter last weekend ask to take pics of her for the local paper and I said no, he was shocked, but it’s important for us to keep her for us and those who get to see her!
I can attest also, that you have the most gorgeous tiny dancer ever … she is delicious!
Great post Ameena and I love the decision you and John have made regarding your daughter. Stick to your guns and do what’s best for you and your family. Cheers, Shelia
Thank you for your support Sheila, it really is a double edge-sword as I can attest that I LOVED seeing your boys pics as they are so gorgeous.
You know you put well. To be honest, I never thought of it that way. I also agree with Paige and Holly. Facebook is rapidly taking place of a baby book, it seems sometimes. Photo-sharing and these social networking sites with images of children. Yet sometimes we just don’t think about these things. We forget once we post, we are posting to the world. We all know the world is full of all kinds of people. I think some things should remain private and we should definitely protect our children. Ameena, thanks again for bringing this topic up.
Thanks Maria! Glad it helped you look at things differently – I realise that John and I might be taking an extreme stance on this. But, it’s all down to choices.
You said it best girl. I always admired you both for NOT showing her face and enjoyed the pictures of her adventures out in the world. People are going to do what they want to do, but I think for safety reasons, that it might not always be the right thing.
Thanks Sonia!!! your support on this has always meant so much 🙂
I recently posted about how I un-friended many people online – one reason was because I saw partially nude (and one or two was almost nude) photos of someone’s babies. Now I really don’t understand why people would want to do that to their babies. One really doesn’t know what people could do with those photos. And why give the weirdos of the online world an open invitation?
That is another thing altogether Hajra – the mind boggles – yes, they are super cute pics but who else is seeing them? That scares me, a lot.
I am very aware that probably no harm will ever come to those children as a result but some things need to be kept private and sacred.
I don’t judge people for their choices as simply i have no right too.
I am all for each individual persons choices & i respect that.
I do post pics on my fb but i am also very choosy who is on my profile & I also am extremely security savvy too.
I totally disagree with nude or half dressed pics.
My younger brother has the same ideas as you Amy, & I don’t disrespect that. As much as i’d love to show off my neice or an odd photo or her with her cousins (my children) i do not as i hve no right.
You stick to your guns & those who question or moan or disrespect you simply shouldn’t be in yours, John’s or BiP’s life because they will easily disrespect other aspects too.
Your strong & you were always strong in school too (many moons ago lol) so don’t let the b*gg*rs get you down xxx
You rock Sophie, and thanks for the reminder that I’ve not changed in 21 years!
It is hard to know where to draw the line – I know that if I’d not been running an online business for a year + I’d probably have looked at things a bit differently – but since I already put a LOT online it’s important I keep something for myself 🙂
Ah thanks chick 🙂
If it helps others i had 1 solution.
I have 2 FB accounts.
Amy your on my friends & aquaintence (daily account).
I have a Family only account too. And that family in UK, America, Canada, Croatia, Poland …….are the only ones who have access to more specific family pics such as special occasions, get togethers etc, as some of those members as adults don’t want “the world & their wife” knowing everything.
(Also keeps the older generation happy who hate game posts, share posts, oh an my on occasion ‘potty mouth’ lol)
Again – chin up. You keep being you & let no one other than yourself change you xxx
I think its great that you’re able to keep her face and name off the internet. I attempted and failed at doing so and now just use their names and pictures and my own. Anonymity is long gone, though sometimes I really wish I had it.
Thanks Marta – I do feel in a digital age that we need to try that bit harder to retain some privacy but it’s not impossible! 🙂
I always see your posts in the comments of Marie Forleo’s website and you always have something brilliant or wise to say!
Anyway, I love this post and I never thought about that… I’m actually thankful that social media wasn’t around when I was born/growing up because WHO KNOWS what my Mom may have posted. LOL – my Mom’s actually kinda private so maybe not much. All that to say – great perspective! I think I’ll adopt for when I have kids. 🙂
Thank you Melodee! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂 And thanks for coming over to my “other” site!
Your kid, your choice. 🙂
I cringe big time when people post really personal stuff about their kids. A popular mom blogger recently posted about coaching her toddler son through poops – It had his name and tons of details. I don’t think that most kids would be embarrassed by photos of them at 2 with food on their face, but shit stories are another thing altogether.
I have to admit that the EC videos on YouTube were super useful even if a bit gross but there are ways of doing stuff without using names, personal details etc … I would be mortified if a fraction of my baby/toddler/kid pics could be seen by the world even now I find them embarrassing!
That’s where we differ — I don’t find any of my pre-puberty photos to be embarrassing at all. But I am glad that there aren’t photos or stories out there about my bowel movements even as an infant. I’m at least sure to give my kid only good PR!
Although I must admit, it is always nice to see photos of the people we get to know on Twitter, Facebook, etc. I agree, and don’t post any photos of my children either… for many of the reasons you have already stated. I do, however, have a private account on a different website for family. Living so far away, makes it difficult to share with our loved ones how much our little ones are changing… and I want them to be able to see them grow up.
Keep doing what you believe… I don’t think it is extreme… you love her and want to protect her. You shouldn’t have to explain yourself for that. 😉
Thanks Bellanda, yeah it’s a tough call especially when you are away – we share pictures via email mostly and dropbox.
Appreciate your support!
The naivety of some is surprising. My family works in law enforcement and has seen too much. I pointed out to an aquaintance that posting pics of her 1 year old daughter (full frontal) nude was not a good idea because there are those out there who will trade such photos. She had never thought about it. Good choice to keep it private.
Wow, thanks for sharing Hannah. Yes, I see some pics online of kids naked and I wonder if people really know that anyone can see them? Often they are friends of friends who commented and it popped up in my feed. I can’t think that they deliberately intended for the world to see those pics but it’s the reality of the online world we live in.
I AGREE WITH YOOOU!!!
I think this is how i will approach things with my child when i get married and have kids. Because you know what – it’s only fair to the child to have a choice in that. Especially the more I expand my own network publicly, the more I realize how valuable my private life is. I wouldn’t want my child to be born in “public” I would want our moments to be intimate and close. I think that I will follow your example <3
Thanks Rochelle! So amazing to see you here and have your support!
Great post! Thanks for the encouragement in this. Our daughter is 7 months and we made this decision before she was born. I only posted one picture of me pregnant even! I’m just not an oversharer. My husband and I are both designers/advertisers and we know how important online identity is. We want her to have a clean slate when she decides to be viral. We’ve gotten flack, and even a grandparent posted her picture when she was born that we had to ask to take it down. But we are sticking with it. At least people are looking forward to our Christmas card!
🙂 Your reply made me smile – yes, it does make it that more special when I receive pictures of friend’s kids who don’t have them posted online, and I know the same is felt when I do the same. I think I only posted one pic of myself pregnant and it was a silhouette! Glad to have helped encourage you!
I completely understand and respect that.
I also wondered whether I wanted to share pictures of Mark for similar reasons. Despite the fact I do post pictures of my partner (rarely but occasionally) and I online, I’m careful with the info I share. I’m not even on Facebook! The only place where I share bits of our lives is my blog, and I like it because I can control what I share and what I don’t want to share.
I eventually decided to post pictures of Mark on the blog and Flickr but I do select them. For instance, I wouldn’t share a picture that may be embarrassing for him (or anyone). The house is off-limit.
In the end, it’s important to go with what you think his best for your child and family. There is no right or wrong way, just considering the impact of our Internet lives on our daily lives is important and wise.
That’s it exactly Zhu – I don’t think that anyone should really have to justify their reasons to share or not – and at the end of the day we have a right to decide how private we keep our private lives!
Hi I just happened upon your blog and some other new ones today while I was searching and I like this whole concept of valuing your child’s future identity. It’s probably much more important for people like you who have more than a few followers to make careful decisions with the future in mind. Your child is more “public” online than some children.
After reading the minimalist mom, I am seriously considering prohibiting my kids from having certain technology growing up. I gave up facebook earlier this year, and feel so liberated from other people. I hadn’t thought of the implications for my children beyond the distraction and shallow communication with friends.
I just really hadn’t considered the influence technology has on children’s including adolescent’s identity and development especially in connection with their peers. A lot of the kids in my family were really awkward in some ways growing up and I’m glad that’s all in the past.
I have thought that if I wasn’t so active online that I probably wouldn’t have given much thought to posting BiP’s picture online.
I do think that children will need to have a serious eduction regarding online activities – we can’t blame technology and it’s pretty much a given that it will be a huge part of their lives. But educating them on the dangers and letting them decide what they share is going to be increasingly more important.
Hi Meena, I’m not sure if I completely agree that everything posted online should be considered public—but I do know that in some cases, it might as well be. Go you for sticking to your ideals on this and allowing your daughter to make her own decisions on how she presents herself online (and protecting her until she can make those decisions).
It’s going to be interesting to see what happens when the current babies of the world (having their pictures shown on Facebook and their names shared within this not-so-little microcosm of the internet) grow up and create their own identities online. I don’t think there are any right or (many) wrong ways for parents to handle the problem since it’s such a new problem, but I suspect we’ll see a lot of analysis on it ten or fifteen years from now.
Thanks Jack – I agree that what happens in a decade or so will be interesting – especially those kids who’ve had facebook profiles from when they were conceived.
Good for you. I’m just starting a blog, it isn’t a ‘mummy blog’ as such but is about travelling with a young family so the focus is very much on my child and our experiences.
I’ve been struggling with whether to include pics of him or not and I’m deciding not to. I’m also going to delete all the pics of him I have on FB. I know that some will still exist. And, you’re right, it’s nice for people to see his pics who we’re friends with but don’t see us often but how many people see him who don’t even know us. It feels a bit odd when you think of it like that.
I agree with one of your previous posters that we have ‘unlearnt’ privacy.
I think that is a great stance, perfect decision and I totally agree with you 🙂
I totally agree with this post.
I don’t post photos of my husband (mrK) as he hates the internet. I also don’t post information about my son (boy10) and any photos are from behind. I may talk about them, not often but its usually funny things they’ve done or said.
Boy10 knows when i take his photo and will say ‘is it for the internet,’ and will turn round or put his head down.
I’ve been known to be out with MrK and actually said ‘wheres boy10 gone?’ as i’m so used to doing it. Even on fb where its mostly family i still do it.
Mines mostly for security, i don’t want to be out and a stranger knows his name and what he looks like, i’m abit paranoid like that.
My husbands is through respect of his internet hatred.
I admire your conviction. I have this internal struggle often. I have posted my children’s faces and names, but I am beginning to pull back, especially as they get older. I’m not as concerned about using baby pictures on my website Unexpectant, especially when the pics are a few years old, but now that my oldest is getting, well, older, I don’t want his name and face out there as much. I’ve tried to get more creative with my photos, but I am an Instagram addict. But, your post has given me more to think about when it comes to this whole issue. This isn’t something we had to deal with as kids and I don’t want my kids to look back as adults at what I posted online about them and be embarrassed. After all, their stories aren’t mine. They belong to them and I need to respect that.
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