Post or not to Post, that is the question!

As a new parent and a teacher this debate really resonated with me. I was able to see both sides and was unable to decide whether I would fully agree with one versus the other.  As a parent I think I have the right to decide what is right for MY child, however, in regards to sharing photos and/or videos of students, I do agree that parent consent is a MUST.  Throughout the last year I have been sharing pictures, milestones, videos etc. of my son. Honestly, I never thought once about how this would impact him in the future.  I can say that I have been selfish in the sense of wanting to share my pride and joy with others and have neglected to think about whether this will have an effect on him in the future.  The article “Does sharing photos of your children on Facebook put them at risk?” was the first time I thought about my son and what I have shared about him so far.  I admit I am guilty of sharing photos of a friends children as well, then again, they have shared photos and videos before too so I thought what could be the harm.  As a parent I think I will make decisions based on what is in the best interest of my child. If I felt that sharing a photo would be detrimental to future opportunities for him, I would stop sharing.  I believe in our world social media is becoming more and more common amongst communities and I may as well become a part of it and use if safely and to my advantage.  I have a family that are unable to see my family on a daily basis and Facebook is definitely a way to stay in contact with us and are they are able to see the growth and development of my son.  As I mentioned before, I do believe it is the parent’s choice to decide what is shared.  Once the child is old enough to make these decisions on their own, and make decisions safely and appropriately then I think as parents we can pass on the reins to our children.  Also from a parent perspective I can say that if my son’s picture was to be shared on a social media site (ex. Classroom webpage) without my permission, I would not be happy.  There are many families that are going through issues of custody, fleeing cities/countries trying to find safe places and sharing pictures of these children without the knowledge of the parents can be very detrimental to the child and to the families.

The agree side of the debate made several comments worth thinking about. Some comments worth sharing that got me thinking were:

-Safety should be overriding in regards to posting things online

-It is hard to keep up with all the changes in privacy settings on social media sites

-Today’s technology makes it hard to follow guidelines and etiquette (ever changing).

-Educators and parents are not able to follow a rule book; without guidelines we might be putting -students in a bad position (we are supposed to be protecting them not exposing them)

-“What you post online may change the future tomorrow”

-Digital footprints are a way of tracking history, whatever we put on the internet stays on the internet, it leaves some kind of trace (we need proper management of digital footprints)

-Children need to know that digital footprints can be tracked by others such as employers etc.

-Like a permanent tattoo (you are unable to remove it or can be painful to remove it)

All of these points are valid and really need to be taken into consideration. However, even though these points are food for thought, I don’t think it will deter people from posting and sharing on social media. I do think however it needs to be done properly and in a safe manner for all parties involved.

The disagree side also brought up some valid points that are worth noting:

-Parents can be showing/sharing positive things online (model thinking process, talk about what’s appropriate, engage them in conversation)

-Model, discuss, apply, share (set up for success now and in the future)

-We are ethically inclined to model good citizenship

-We are doing a disservice to our students if we don’t model online sharing

-We need to prepare our students for the world we live in; it’s not going way

I definitely agree social media and the use of it is not going away and we need to take advantage of it instead of always creating a battle between us and our children/students. Being able to model, share and teach our children and students how to navigate online in a safe manner will be pertinent to their online/offline social identity in the future.

One topic that was particularly interesting was the discussion about Snapchat. Is there a way of protecting our students and our teachers in our classrooms/schools with the use of such applications as Snapchat.  I know in our school we have completely banned the use of cell phones within our school unless the student’s teacher has given them permission to use it.  I know as a teacher I would be very upset if students were taking videos and/or photos of me without my knowledge.  I am still undecided as to whether there is a way to use the technology in our classroom and prevent these types of outcomes. There may not be a clear cut answer, but we can teach our children how to use technology appropriately, respectfully and safely.

Overall it comes down to being good digital citizens. This can be taught to our children by how we as parents and teachers model, share, involve and teach our children to use technology. We need to work together and move towards a future that involves the use of technology because that is our reality!


One thought on “Post or not to Post, that is the question!”

  1. I agree that it should be up to the parent to decide what is shared until their kid is old enough to decide for themselves, but we do need to think about what we are posting. If it’s simply cute pictures or sharing milestones through a status I think that’s perfectly fine. When I post something I always ask myself if my kid read this when they were older would they be embarrassed by it? If so then I will refrain from posting it. When it comes to other people’s children I do think we need to use some discretion. Just like you I have posted pictures of friends kids, but they post pictures of their kids as well so I have never thought it was an issue. But maybe they aren’t happy with me when I do it? So far I haven’t run into any problems and hope it stays that way. I do try to be careful with all things that I am posting though. Great share!


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