In a recent Reddit post, she wrote, “I am a teenager and my mom is kinda famous on Instagram and blogging. She had a mommy blog all when I was growing up and of course, I and my sister were always involved.”
“It sucks because there’s so much out there about us and it’s what’s gonna come up when I’m looking for a job, when I’m dating, when anyone looks up my name,” she said.
She explained how she has prohibited her mom from sharing any more pictures of her on social media, but since her mother hasn’t respected her wishes, she made a smart plan.
The teen ordered a custom jacket from a website that prints phrases such as, “no photos”, “no videos”, “I do not consent to be photographed”, “no means no” and “respect my privacy” onto them.
She had also had jackets made for her younger sister, aged 9, who also doesn’t want her mom to share pictures of her so often.
“And I guess the idea is that my mom can’t take good looking pictures, even candid ones, with us in the hoodies without them having a pretty strong message that we don’t want to be in pictures,” she explained.
“My mom was mad when they showed up, and really mad when I’m wearing mine,” the poster shared. “Like she says she just wants pictures to remember my young years by, she won’t post ones without asking.”
“…she always says that and then negotiates me into letting her post, like either by saying that’s how she makes income so if I want money for something, then I’d stop arguing about pictures. Or posting without asking and then saying I thought it would be ok because your face wasn’t visible / you’re just in the background, etc,” she added.
Endangering children’s safety
There are many risks that come with sharing any details about your child on social media. By sharing pictures and information that reveal their identity, school or home address you are endangering their safety.
Pictures and information of your child that is shared online may travel more widely than intended or they could be collected from social media or other websites and used for unintended purposes.
Privacy is enshrined in the South African Constitution
Candice le Sueur Fisher, a local Business and Information Ethics professional, shared with us that the right to privacy is enshrined in the South African Constitution.
“Just as we as parents want our children to enjoy their other rights, such as the right to life, or the right to freedom and security, we should want them to also enjoy the right to privacy,” she told Parent24.
She says that parents are the most likely culprits to infringe on the right to privacy by sharing their children’s lives online.
“Children, just like any adult, should have a say about how much of their lives are shared online, and as parents, we need to realize that our children need to be old enough to make an informed decision about this,” le Sueur Fisher explained.
“You can’t even see your face!”
Just last year Gwyneth Paltrow’s teenage daughter Apple made headlines when she publicly criticized her famous mother for posting a picture of her on Instagram.
Apple commented on the post “Mom we have discussed this. You may not post anything without my consent.” Paltrow’s response revealed how mother’s, sometimes feel about their kid’s autonomy: “You can’t even see your face!”
The comment sparked debate but was later deleted.
Too young to stand up for themselves
Some parents say mommy bloggers or Youtubers don’t consider the impact of sharing the kid’s info on social media may have on them. They also believe children should have the final say in whether their pictures should be shown on social media or not.
Many shared on the Reddit post that they find it disheartening and sad that children are often too young to stand up for themselves, and that until children are old enough to decide for themselves, parents should not be sharing them on social media.
“It’s not like being an influencer is the only job on earth”
The teenager has also shared that their mom would ‘guilt-trip/manipulate’ her into continuing to participate in the content production for her social media and blog, even though the teen explicitly told her she does not want to be a part of it anymore.
“It’s not like being an influencer is the only job on earth,” commenter VolupVeVa summed up.
“Go work in a travel agency or something! It’s also not like she couldn’t continue to be a blogger – she’d just have to rebrand to one that doesn’t focus on being a ‘mommy’ (yuck). Surely being a Mom isn’t the only interesting thing about her?”
It is necessary that your child knows where and how information that identifies them is available online. Talk to them about who has access to the content, what others can do with the information and the impression they’ll be making on others.