How Much Do You Share Online?

The other day I wrote about the good that can come from the Internet; today I want to talk about some of the darker side. There is this line that we all have to walk when we post things online. Some people don’t even get near the line and some don’t realize the line even exists and willingly cross over it. That line is the point where we are sharing to a point of potentially compromising ourselves or maybe others.

The place that we have really started thinking about this is with a child on the way. How much do you really share about and of your kids? I try and be careful of what I post online and tend to share with friends only to be careful; there is still that extra consideration when thinking about sharing stuff about my child. With the rate and pace at which things can be shared online and the fact that once they are there it does not just go away, there is some consideration to be made to how much we might share online and how we choose to share it.

Sharing Nothing

One option is to just share nothing. This alleviates any concerns about sharing too much because nothing ends up shared. No embarrassment for the child later in life of things shared before they had any control. No worry about photos of your child being shared or used against your permission because someone just happened to stumble across them. No thought of people being able to stalk and find your child for nefarious purposes. At the same time by sharing nothing you are also cutting yourself off from friends and family as well.

This is one of the most viewed videos on YouTube. Those kids are going to have to live with that for the rest of their lives. Is that fair to them?

Sharing Constantly

The other extreme of course is sharing everything. I know some people for whom not a day goes by without them sharing some photo or video of their kid. Now, I also don’t know what security settings they have, but at the same time I just question sharing that much and that often. I mean I don’t even share that often about myself and yet am I going to do that with my child? Yes, I am sharing the information out, but some people might not want to see that all the time. Also, there are other ways that I might consider sharing the information to only those that matter. As opposed to putting it out for who knows who to find and what they might do with it.

Balanced Share

Then there is the line that we all try to walk and that is the balanced sharing. Where we share some information, especially with people we know, but keep it at a level where we don’t mind if it gets beyond us. There can be concerns with sharing any information that might show a child’s school or give someone the ability to track your child’s current location. Then there is also the consideration of should you post anything about another person’s kid because you do not necessarily know their policy about those types of situations.

I actually really like friends of mine who have done the growth photos. They will actually put the initial one month to a one year and then I could see after that doing every year. They are very posed images that really do not reveal any particular information. This shares information with those who care, but allows for some restriction and control on what really is getting passed around.



So I don’t really have a great answer we will have to be figure it out as we go along. One of the web comics that David and I read, PVP Online, addressed this issue to a certain extent recently. One of the couples has a child and they posted a photo of their child that went viral. Then instead of removing it they boosted the post. Finally they just decide to run with it and merchandise the image to help pay for the child’s tuition. It’s another way to go at it I guess, but it does seem a bit exploitative. That, plus a variety of articles that I have read, have definitely make me think about this issue and what it means.

15 responses to “How Much Do You Share Online?

  1. I share a lot with family on Facebook…until someone else started sharing my kid photos on their wall to their 1000+ friends. That made me pull back a little.


    • Yikes. That sounds horrifying. I am a teacher, and posting photos of kids in Japan is illegal if they’re not yours, but wow.


    • That is part of what is scary, once you start sharing it is out of your hands what other people do with it. I know someone whose baby was wearing some cute onesie with a RuPaul saying and it got retweeted by either RuPaul or a RuPaul page. Since it was a baby it was not as identifying and there was no name, but it is something to think about how it can get out of hand.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I share almost nothing online about my family. But then again, I don’t share a lot of personal things about myself, either. I only talk about things that I am okay for everyone to see, and the rest I keep offline. You have to assume that everything might be shared. And personally I don’t feel the need to share my life details with anyone except those closest to me. 🙂

    I read PvP too, and saw that comic as well. I just laughed at the absurdity of it, but sadly it’s not far from the truth these days.


    • I agree I try and not share too much online at least not the every day sort of things. I am also leery of posting stuff when I am on vacation because the thought that someone I don’t know could find out I am out of town. I know that is probably an unlikely scenario, but it is something I think about.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think balance is important in all things. Online friends and bloggers are curious about us, they want to know we’re human and are genuinely interested in our children and families. I don’t share my daughters’ names with those I don’t know, or I try not to. I post pictures, occasionally, but they are discreet and I’m always cautious about it. It’s a mine field, it really is. A Deaf friend recently told me about a person who approached him (the Deaf Community is very small), and this individual knew personal information, though he was a complete stranger. It demonstrated how easy it was (at lease to my friend) for people to research his family; his preferences; his employment; his location – it scared him to death! I have to be extremely careful what I share, in terms of my job (the same can be said for many professions). I’m not allowed to divulge information, so although I love to talk about interpreting, it all comes across as very vague! Similarly, as a writer, I have to be careful about what goes out there, or it could come back to bite me on the ass! 🙂 Interesting post. I enjoy learning from others about their own online boundaries, because it’s a really tough call and we all make mistakes.


    • I can completely understand that and it is hard to figure out what to share because something innocuous could seemingly be that key to figuring out something that I don’t want to figure out. In college there was a kid who was about to be a freshmen who friended a bunch of us who were already in college. It was a little creepy that he was able to find us and friend us. They also turned out to be a little bit crazy, which did not help the situation. Every once in a while I will double check the settings on my personal accounts just to confirm that they are as tight as I want them to be. I especially do it when I hear about a privacy policy update because that is when they might add something new that I have to take control of.

      At the same time I am not so scared of sharing things that I do not post things out there and I know that if someone really tried they could probably find us, but at the same time we would not have met some of the really awesome people we have met if we did not put ourselves out there. It is just understanding that I can share about me, but need to have some more insulation for what I share about my child.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s really important – insulation for your child. It’s okay when we choose how much we share about ourselves, but our children are different and it’s our job to protect them. Yes there are really positive things about the internet and it’s great to meet new and interesting people, to share and access information. But my children gave me a few nightmares when they hit their teens – thank god for parental controls!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Balance, definitely. And you also have to consider what else you are doing online. Case in point: me.

    I interact almost exclusively with bloggers and readers of my blogs online. It’s all I talk about, even on Facebook. Not many offline friends, family, or colleagues are keeping up with me.

    So . . . I COULD share more about my grandson, but most of the people who might be interested aren’t going to see that, and potentially all the bloggers I’m friends with might. So I have rules:

    1. I rarely share information about him.
    2. No photos that show a clear close-up of his face and I never use his name. I have a ton of baseball photos from last spring that people would love for some Wordless Wednesdays. I shared exactly one and made sure the name on his jersey was obscured.
    3. When I talk about him, I’m personal but vague. So I talk about our X-Box exploits or what we’re reading sometimes, and that’s about all the Internet is getting out of me.

    Hope this helps. It’s not perfect, and as an individual I am just out there for the whole world to find. But the thought of a video of him going viral before he is old enough to make his own informed decisions about his privacy makes my skin crawl.

    He begs to be featured on the blog and posted on Facebook, btw. He’s worse than me when it comes to always looking for new friends. He understands what I am doing as well as a six-year-old can, and he is quite taken with the notion that I could make him Internet-famous.


    • Thanks for the pointers on how you deal with it. It is definitely something that I want to consider with avoiding the name online. I actually do have a lot of friends and family online so that is where some of it is a little tricky. My grandmother is even on Facebook and will comment on posts, especially when they have pictures. She does have email so I can send pictures that way, but I do know that Facebook is a great way to share with a lot of people at once and I do try and keep my privacy settings to Friends Only, but still who knows what they will do once you put it out there.

      Digital literacy and online literacy has to be discussed at an earlier age. A lot of people have moved into the digital world having no idea of the possible consequences of those actions. Then we have kids growing up seeing these people and wanting to be just like that, but at the same time do they understand that once it is out there it does not go away. It is an interesting challenge.


      • On the family thing: I don’t interact with mine online, except Diana. But groups are a good way to deal with that on Facebook. My family has a couple of groups for photosharing and such. Good way to limit the audience and control what is seen. But I agree it is tricky. I pulled my hair out with it for most of last year.

        Righty-o on the digital literacy. The Little Jedi (Diana’s son) wants to be a YouTuber and do toy reviews and game walkthroughs. He’s not even six but already developing the narrator’s voice for it. He demonstrated a Hot Wheels thing for me today and it was obvious that’s what he was doing.

        Bit of a brave new world we’re living in here.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s hard to keep a child off the Internet. Unbelievably so these days.

    Little Jedi will be 6 in about 2 weeks. Know what one of his life goals is? Become a Youtuber. I’ve toyed with the idea of allowing him to put up a few videos, but I don’t know that I’d want his face in them. Or his name.

    It’s difficult not to post about him, because he’s such a big part of my life. Pregnancy and birth were life-changing enough: and that was just getting him here—we’ve had almost 6 years since for him to change my life.

    It took me a while to get the extended family on board with my plan. They didn’t quite understand privacy settings or why they were there—they just wanted to be able to share a photo of their nephew/grandson/little cousin to the people they were friends with. But because they didn’t quite understand privacy settings, their information wasn’t private at all, and…Well. It turned into me changing a lot of my settings and talking to folks and having a bit of a kerfuffle, but it was worth it in the end to have more control over who saw what.


    • The YouTube thing at such a young age would scare me. Thinking of some of the kids who have gotten like over a million views on YouTube and this could be the thing that follows them for the rest of their lives. At the same time there are a lot of YouTubers who do a lot of stuff and you never see their faces, it just depends on what they want to do. I have to say I might be willing to explore some sort of commentary sort of blog on something that does not have to deal with anything personal. At the same time I totally appreciate not wanting to open that door.

      I love seeing pictures of my nieces and nephews on Facebook, but they do make me wonder if there is not a better way to share some of those images or information that is more controlled. I probably have so much family online and that are not even in my location it would be hard to have that conversation. David came across something the other day where someone actually wrote DO NOT SHARE THIS with a picture, as a way to request people not to pass the image on. At the same time if people can see your comments and likes then they will see the picture kind of gets shared anyway.

      It is definitely something that has to be a conscious effort versus just assuming that everything and anything is safe.


  6. Sorry for the delayed responses between being sick and other to dos I have just gotten behind.


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