Are we making kids self-conscious by posting their pictures online?
Are we inducing self-awareness in kids to a degree that it becomes self-criticism by putting their photographs on social media?
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There is some truth to your question - the idea of inducing a feeling of self-consciousness by creating a public image of our kids. Developmentally, I think there are many things that need to be in place before a young person can adequately handle the consequences of a public image or social life. When a child has a safe and solid sense of self, then a public image, and public commentary and opinion, can be put into a healthy perspective. Without this sense of safety and identity, a child can feel unsure and unprotected from any negativity and judgement that might come from a public audience.
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There are so many stories about kids photos being downloaded and used for purposes that are not intended by the poster, that's at least one reason to be very cautious about posting our kids pics online. Most parents who post their kids pictures on Facebook and Instagram have very little awareness of the privacy issues on both platforms, and they don't have privacy set up, meaning that any stranger has access to their child's photos. They expect that their photos of their children will be respected and protected and can't imagine how their children's pictures might be misused or might embarrass their children in the future. There have been Facebook groups set up by really mean people that upload pictures of babies to ridicule them, and kids can easily find pictures of other kids they want to tease from parent accounts connected to their intended victim. We need to treasure and protect our kids identities now and in the future. Imagine one day if your 14year old child asks you to take down all the photos you have been uploading of them for the last 10 years, can you easily do that? Do you respect their right to protect their image? I won't upload photos of my children online, I don't see any need to do so, If I have any special pictures of my children I print them out and give them to only their grandparents. Our children do have rights about their image, we have a responsibility as their parents to take their rights seriously. Stop showing off your kids pictures online parents, seriously no one else really cares about seeing your kids! When better facial recognition comes in, names will be matched to faces. You have no idea what is coming in the future. Be careful.
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In our 5th grade classroom, we post dozens of photos online each day of our various activities: It's called Our Daily Photo Journal: http://psolarz.weebly.com/2013-2014-daily-photo-journal.htmlhttp://psolarz.weebly.com/2013-2014-daily-photo-journal.html. Most of these pictures are working pictures and provide little opportunity for students to worry about what they look like or how it came out. But occasionally, we get some potentially embarrassing shots that are often pointed out by others as "funny" rather than "embarrassing." These students have looked at the picture and have always laughed rather than become embarrassed. Our class focuses on risk-taking, failing often, and laughing at ourselves. We have a classroom community that doesn't tolerate unkind behavior and we have learned to embrace our differences, especially our quirks. In this type of environment, students don't develop self-consciousness, at least not at 10 and 11. I'm sure things change a bit in the coming years, but for 5th grade, my students are care-free and I love it!