Jessica Smith is one of Baby Luno's dearest ambassadors. She gives us her opinion on "sharenting" and her experience of why she doesn't like showing her daughter's face in social media.
Love it or hate it, social media is part of modern life, and since the introduction of smartphones we seem to be updating our status before we even have a chance to think about the implications.
Everything is immediate.
Sometimes we make mistakes, we post something embarrassing or we make an angry comment that we regret, but, we are consenting adults and these are our mistakes to make.
We consciously agree to terms and conditions that allow social media sites to use our personal data once we sign up to them – but what about our children?
Prior to having my first child, I swore that I would never be a mother that spammed social media with photos of my baby! … Ha!
A few weeks after my daughter was born I had to upgrade my phone because I had run out of storage due to the influx of images of my precious princess, and I had turned into one of ‘those mums’ proudly sharing every moment!
However when my daughter was 6 months old I discovered that people had been stealing my images and sharing them on blogs, and other social media sites without my knowledge or permission.
In was a huge wake up call for me.
I know exactly how social media operates … once you upload an image it is out there FOREVER - anyone can download, copy, save and share!
Imagine in fifteen years time when our babies are applying for their first job, and with a quick Google search their employer can see every image that was uploaded from nappy days to tantrums and heaven forbid nude bottoms at the beach. The other, and much darker side to all of this is how quickly these innocent images can get into the hands of predators.
It’s actually terrifying when you think about it.
Sharing my motherhood journey is important to me, and as a first time mum, being able to connect and engage with other mothers on social media was and is a way for me to retain my sanity!
It is a place to connect and support one another.
However I realised that I could still do this without showing my daughters face.
I love my baby girl, I think she is the cutest thing in the world – but I have to respect her privacy. She doesn’t have a verbal voice yet, so it’s selfish of me to assume that she would be happy that I publicly share photos of her.
As parents we have an enormous responsibility to protect our children.
When we upload an image to social media we are creating a digital footprint, one that can never ever be erased.
It is this electronic trail that will form their identity in a world they haven’t yet chosen to enter.
Children have no way of giving their consent, so is it ethical that we publish images of them?
For most of us we share images because it is a beautiful way to document our child’s growth and development, and a way for us to share precious moments and memories with family and friends who aren’t close by.
For that reason, all of my personal accounts are private with high security settings.
My professional accounts remain open for anyone to view, and for that reason, my daughter’s face will no longer be seen.
Jessica is a mother, motivational speaker, a paralympian, a children's book author, an advocate for positive body image and much more. Follow her motherhood journey on Facebook or Instagram @jessicasmith27