Five years ago at my son’s pre-school concert he and his fellow three-years-olds put on a performance. There were maracas shaken and tiny little drums beaten. There were triangles dingled and cowbells, well, jingled.
It was jolly little performance, some of the kids actually sang and a crowd of 40 plus parents stood beaming, watching our talented off-spring, each of us holding a device filming the moment to later upload on Facebook.
And upload we did.
Tagging our friends and neighbours, commenting on the sweet little girl on the front row crying, sharing the pics with grandmas and great aunts, with cousins in far away counties.
40 parents uploading numerous photos shared and tagged numerous times.
In his own little way my son went viral.
Five years ago at my son’s pre-school concert he and his fellow three-years-olds put on a performance. Via IStock.
Back then no one thought twice about whether other parents cared that their child was in the photo of your son.
Back then no one thought about privacy or safety we just uploaded masses and masses of photos expecting our friends to be thrilled to be presented with such a wonderful display.
Gee he's grown up. How time flies. He looks so much like you.
Since then, and especially in the last year I have noticed a shift in the way we use social media.
We have become more circumspect, more cautious, more aware. At the very same pre-school where my daughter now goes the very same concert takes place yearly, but the parents are more hesitant to upload on Facebook, and the pre-school itself now has a social media policy forbidding the uploading of images of its charges.
Among parents though what I’ve noticed happening is an emerging unspoken social media rule.
Don’t post pictures of other people’s kids on social media.
I have noticed a shift in the way we use social media. Via IStock.
A US study last year found that 63% of mums use Facebook, and of these, 97% said they post pictures of their child and 46% post videos.
However a recent survey last year by the Pew Research Center found that 57 percent of Facebook users with children under 18 said that people posting pictures of their children without asking permission first was something they strongly disliked.
In my circle of friends more parents have unwritten family social media policies than don’t.
“I’d be horrified if a school parent posted pictures of my child on Facebook without asking me first,” a mother-of-three tells me.
“No one has the right to invade your privacy like that.”
She tells me that at a recent birthday party her six-year-old attended the party parents included a “permission to publish images” consent form in the RSVP.
Yes, Johnny would love to come to Clown World for rainbow cake and party pies and yes by completing this form I give consent to the use of any digital photos of Johnny sliding down the big dipper or jumping in the ball pit on whatever forms of social media you deem appropriate.