Thursday, December 5, 2013

Whose Footprint is it Anyway?


Has someone every posted something about you that you'd rather they didn't? Has anyone everyone posted a picture of you without your permission?  How'd you feel?  There have been times that I've been out with friends, family, or colleagues.  Someone snaps a pic, and I have asked that they not post it online.  It has nothing to do with vanity, and everything to do with taking control of my digital footprint.  I get upset when people post pictures and/or comments about me online. This has made me give a lot of thought to what I want my own child's digital footprint to look like. 

As a classroom teacher I eagerly shared my students' work and pictures of them on my website.  I did this only with the permission of their parents.  Any child whose parent did not provide permission, their picture was never posted.  I now wonder if posting pictures of them was ethical.  Did I truly have the right to decide which photographs were okay to post online?  Without the child's input?  Was I violating their digital rights; terminating their ability to make those decisions for themselves?  Do I have the right to make those decisions for my own child?

I have friends and family that post pictures of their children on Facebook.  I greatly appreciate seeing those images of those little ones.  Quite honestly, its often the only way I get to see those little people.  Of course the pictures are always of happy children.  Some of them even posing for the camera.  Kiddos picking pumpkins, at parades, hanging with family.  Kiddos just being kiddos.

I can easily see myself doing the same with my own child.  To be honest, it's been difficult to not post pictures on Facebook of my quickly expanding belly.  To not share news of each ultrasound, each doctor appointment, or visit to a baby store.  It has been hard.  This is an incredibly exciting time, why wouldn't I want to share it with others?  Especially because the people I'm friends with on Facebook are my nearest and dearest.

I just can't do it.  I can't bring myself to sharing such personal information online.  I can't bring myself to posting about my unborn child.  I can't see myself posting pictures of my child once he is born.  As he ages, would be comfortable with pictures and posts that I decided were harmless at the time?  Should I wait to post things about him?  Should I wait until he is ready to make those decisions for himself?  Should I wait until I have the opportunity to teach him how to create his own digital footprint?

For now, as difficult as it is for me to refrain, I will wait.