Controlling Our Children’s Online Identities

I have decided to stop posting photos of my son online. It’s a combination of concern over Facebook’s new facial recognition tagging – the knowledge that by the time he is able to manage his own profiles his online identity will already exist – and a good dose of parental concern and security paranoia. Or maybe all that science fiction I consume is finally getting to me.

In the beginning I was hesitant to upload his photos because I knew with a burgeoning writing career I didn’t want to make information available to the public that could make life difficult for our family. But of course long-distance family and friends wanted updates and the cross-tagging began from well-meaning friends. It seemed inescapable. I figured if I was in control of it, it wouldn’t be such an issue.

I realised a few months ago that it really took effort to find something to post on Instagram that wasn’t related to my son.

And a few weeks later the unease set in again. How much is this going to impact on his life in the future? I don’t know – and I’m not okay with that.

Amy Webb wrote on Slate about this. She is taking secured measures to ensure her child is in control of her online identity. I admire that, but I won’t be going that far, because I don’t know what will be essentials in terms of an online identity when my son is ready. [by the way, I liked this response to Webb’s article]

I’m not going to be removing or untagging his photos. Nor posting photos that don’t show his face (like some people I know do). I’m not going to preach the evils of posting images of your kids online. I’m simply saying from here: enough.

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