Expert Warns Posting Pics Of Your Kids On Facebook Could Ruin Their Future Lives

184894339I think parents are aware of the dangers of social media. Most parents think twice about posting a snap of their kid taking a bath, or wearing just a diaper, or of their toddler doing something totally humiliating to their Facebook accounts. I think the majority of parents are sort of wary of posting identifying information, or tagging pics of their kids with their full names. I could be wrong about this, and I may have to check in with my screenwriting partner, but I think most parents are pretty smart when it comes to what they post about their children on Facebook. Which is good because now social media experts are warning that what you post about your kids online may affect their chances of getting certain jobs or into colleges.

From The Daily Mail:

Richard Follett, an ambassador for the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, said the social networking site had replaced physical albums for many families. ‘Whereas when we were children, probably our parents would have lots of nice family albums… nowadays they just put everything on Facebook and leave it open access to everyone,’ he said.He added: ‘Not only might these images be used to embarrass them in their delicate teenage years, they could also be accessed by potential employers or university admissions departments.

“Delicate teenage years” my ass. I have a teen and the only thing delicate about him is when he complains that his hands are feeling dry due to helping with the dishes. I would guess the majority of parents don’t post things that may damage their kid’s futures online, and I would also guess the admissions department at Yale isn’t exactly turning some honor scholar away because their mom posted a diaper snap on the internet.

Teens are a different story. You don’t want to post a pic of your kid puking up at age 17 after their got into your vodka on your Facebook account with their full name.  But do any parents actually do this? I think this is more for the parents who pull those “My kid was twerking at a dance now I’m posting their pic online to humiliate them” parents. That I can see giving a college or a future employee some pause. But for the rest of you posting pics of your kids eating their first solids on Facebook? I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

(Image: getty images)

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  • Natasha B

    I don’t have Facebook any more, only Instagram, and when I post pics of the kids I never use their names-only nicknames. But come on…is some Yale admission official going to scroll back 18 years through my feed?! They have too much time on their hands.
    I honestly dislike how some employers want to be alllll up in your FB anyways, that’s a total violation of privacy. The lines between private life/work life are getting more and more blurred.

    • pixie

      As much as I agree that work and private life are separate and should be separate, and employers should perhaps back down a bit, there are reasons why companies check employees’ social media accounts (and I think it would probably be more of searching for their names, rather than actually scrolling back). A lot of it has to do with corporate image, they don’t want people posting things on the internet that could make the company look bad (because really, once something’s on the internet, whether it be social media or not, it’s not really private anymore). There was a teacher a couple years ago who was fired for posting about smoking pot on her Facebook and had a bunch of pictures of her smoking up in her car; a school/school board doesn’t really want that attached to them, regardless of how good a teacher she is, especially when a lot of parents will complain. Companies also want to avoid employees being dumbasses like an architect who posted a picture of himself with some drawings/blueprints on his Facebook, a rival company saw it, and stole the design. Companies aren’t going to care about baby pictures, though.

      (sorry for the long reply, basically, I agree with you, but there are reasons I can understand for companies going through employees’/potential employees’ social media)

    • momjones

      I agree – because of the ticker on the side, and because of the new format where you can see what people like or post on other people’s (who are not your friends) wall, I can see what some of my friends believe, and believe me, some of it isn’t pretty. For example, I am friends on Facebook with the Alum person of the school where I used to work. She is connected to all the alums, and I have seen her like certain political (and at times very racist posts). I tactfully told someone in administration that if I could see this, so could former students. And if those people vehemently disagree with her “likes”, and she is representing the school as the Alum Coordinator, then it could in fact, affect alum donations.

    • rrlo

      I have seen people post racist/sexist comments on LinkedIn – which I find mind boggling. What a great way to obliterate your career forever!

    • Eve Vawter

      Right I agree with that – but I am not sure an employer will have an issue hiring a qualified candidate because their mom posted a pic of them covered in spaghettios 30 years prior

    • pixie

      Oh yeah, I’m not arguing that. That would be a little (very) ridiculous.

    • rrlo

      Sometimes I think a lot of these experts do not fully understand the technologies they are attributing all this doom and gloom too. They just like to throw around words like “Social Media” and “Trending” without grasping much of the fundamentals.

    • Natasha B

      Oh no, I completely understand that-which is one of the reasons I am soooo glad FB, though it was around, was not huge when I was in college, because that would have been bad. I think you have to be smart about anything you post on social media. What I don’t like is when employers require/mandate you to be their FB friend. That makes me uncomfortable. And pretty sure it violates some big HR policies. When I was working (SAHM now, hollaa) in accounting/product mgmt, we hired a new HR asst who wanted to be bffs with everyone. She insisted everyone add her on FB, we go out on the town together (I was single mom-ing it at the time, so got some snide remarks when I refused to go party it up) and just basically tried to combine everyone’s social lives with work. I know, in some businesses, this could be beneficial-but not a pretty professional world. I actually got into trouble for not being bffs and refusing to add her to FB, called out for being ‘condescending and contributing to a hostile work environment’. You better believe I pulled out my HR manual and asserted my rights!
      This was a lengthy reply, sorry. I just feel like boundaries are being crossed in so many areas.

    • pixie

      Yeah, that’s really overboard and I would not be ok with that, either!

  • RayneofCastamere

    All those poor kids of the people who show up on STFU Parents are doomed.

    I’m also reminded of a joke from WTFIWWY where Nash says that in twenty or so years, presidential ads will be nothing but the opposing candidates’ embarrassing Facebook adventures.

    • tiomela

      You watch WTFIWWY, too?! YAY

    • RayneofCastamere

      Yup. It’s sad that the show has running themes. And that the main recurring theme is naked crazy.

  • personal

    I have a marvelous picture of my 4-year-old sitting on the toilet wearing enormous swim goggles that cover her nose and eyes. Her 1-year-old brother is hanging on her knees laughing. It is hilarious. I didn’t put it on FB. I think my friends would like it, but it’s not something she might like online someday.
    I do think some parents put things on that will embarrass their kids someday. I don’t know if it’ll keep them from gainful employment, though.

  • jendra_berri

    I can’t imagine an employer in the world who would scour the internet looking for early photos of a candidate as a baby, and then disqualifying that person based on those shots.
    “Hmm, when she was a baby, she used her fingers and dribbled food on her chin. That’s just not how we do things here. Can’t risk her eating like that in front of clients at meetings. Employment denied!”
    “I am concerned at the wardrobe choices this young man made as a toddler. Maybe some companies don’t care if you make-believe you’re Spider-man, but we don’t go for those kinds of shenanigans.”

  • rrlo

    Facebook went from practically not existing to being everywhere in a very short time. I have a feelings these expert predictions will come to nothing – as many more platforms will replace Facebook before the kids of todays joins the workforce. Plus if the security settings are set properly, you would have to go pretty deep into Google to find anything. Although I suppose Google may be replaced by a better search engine in the next 10/15 years as well.

  • Angela

    I think it’s pretty unlikely that future employers are really going to be looking back at my kid’s baby photos. I do make sure not to post anything that they would one day find embarrassing but I’m a lot more worried about other kids searching out the information to use it against them than employers or universities.

  • tk88

    I really don’t think most parents are good about not posting things about their kids online. I think there are many, many people who post anything and everything about their children on facebook, including photos, information and anecdotes that should be kept private. No one knows what the world and internet will be like in 5, 10, or 15 years. That fact (and even the current state of things) should make people much more leery. After all, just look at the STFU section on this site…you’ll find dozens of parents posting things no one should ever see or hear about.

    • OhHeyDelilah

      Seriously, this. Whether or not it’s going to affect her chances of getting a job in the future, I’m pretty sure my cousin’s kid isn’t going to appreciate the picture her mum posted of her bending over, stark naked, with her ass and lady bits in the air. While I have no objection to kids getting around with nothing on (I’m firmly in the ‘If you think there’s something sexual about it, YOU’RE the one with the problem’ camp), I do think it’s a bit unfair that this kid has no say over how her mum is posting images of her in the public domain. When she’s older, she might not appreciate having that, or similar pictures that show her having a tantrum, or whatever embarrassing thing is happening at the time, stored on the internet for all eternity. Having said that, her mum is one of those oversharing nightmares who posts countless pictures of pointless things like her sink full of dirty dishes with captions like ‘Oh no, so much washing up to do LOL’ – so she is clearly not someone with much capacity to think about how her kids/audience might feel. *rant over*

    • Oz

      Hell yes. So many of the pics on Facebook are completely inappropriate. They’re more than just ‘kids’, they’re also human beings with the basic right to privacy. And so many parents violate that right by posting pics that really should stay just in the family. I’d pitch a fit if Facebook was around 30 years ago and my mother had posted some of the shit I see on STFU parents. The internet is impossible to police and it is forever. It’s not so much about prospective employers as it’s about your whole life… everyone, be it prospective employers and work colleagues, your first crush, your school bully, the client you’re trying to impress or that sneering bitch in your office can find the naked pictures of you, proudly pointing at your first shit in the potty when you were 2 years old, because your mum thought it was funny and cute to share it with the entire world. Yewnike name spelling makes it even easier. Not cool.

  • Kheldarson

    I think parents need a FB crash course. Older parents aren’t as familiar with its features, and even younger parents (those of us who were in college when FB first came out) don’t always catch the changes. We need to teach folks about the lists. Nothing I post is public. Only my friends can see what I post. And pics of my son are mostly limited to an even more select list (I’ll admit to sharing cute non-embarassing photos like his monthly birthday pic with all my friends). Every parent should be familiar with the features of FB.

  • Robotic Arms Dealer

    Remember this guy?

    While most don’t post embarrassing kids pic, a few do… I’m guessing that’s what the article is trying to point out.

    I mean, if I’m interviewing you and I find you on this website…


  • SA

    1) Privacy controls. No admissions office or future employer will ever be able to see my Facebook feed

    2) I highly doubt it. I don’t see too many companies HR departments going to a Facebook page and judging a potential job candidate on some picture their mommy posted when they were young. (Now looking at a potential candidates current postings, I could see)

    3) Go easy on your kids.

  • MaebykittyRN

    I don’t think their future employment/college admission is at stake, but WAY too many people on my fb feed post pics worthy of I think it’s cute to see a picture of a baby with their face covered with spaghetti sauce. It is not cute, however, to see a picture of their diaper blowout.

  • Rachel Sea

    I have a friend with a teenage daughter who constantly posts STFU-worthy crap about her, that could absolutely jeopardize future employment prospects. Some people are incredibly naive about what they post, and that privacy settings are not necessarily forever.

    There was a glitch at one point that put all my private messages (and the private messages of thousands of others) on our walls at various security levels. You never know if or when something similar will happen.